5 min read
Easter eggs and delivering delight
Opening an easter egg always has that moment of delight. As a child, you’re giddy with excitement as cardboard gives way to plastic which gives way to foil-wrapped chocolate. But as you get older and wiser that delight starts to fade.
Easter’s always been about disruption in one way or another, something that fintechs have excelled at.
We often talk about finding the element of the experience that delights the customer across the fintech industry. I don’t know about you but I’ve always found chocolate quite delightful, but as an adult, it’s not going to change my life.
The same is true in financial services. Delight is all well and good but the term is over-used. Now delight is short-hand for features rather than a step-change that delivers what customers need. Delight is not enough on its own to move customers the way it’s used today.
Unboxing a sleek looking product can be part of a great user experience. That’s delight in the chocolate-sense for an adult. Something tasty that gives you a flash of excitement. But there’s no substance to it, customers can’t experience a real change in how they’re interacting with their daily money or savings.
Fintechs start with a natural advantage in delivering a real change. All they have to do is offer an alternative to what already exists. However, what’s commonly seen is the industry, is taking a bad experience and making it less bad - rather than delivering a good experience.
Disruption to the industry is comparatively simple when all you have to do is attack the issues that incumbents are too slow to move on. Whether that’s due to legacy issues, bureaucracy or lack of care from executives.
I’m not saying that fintechs have it easy, but they can move fast, turn quickly and strike as needed. In comparison, incumbents are diametrically opposed to fintechs. As every good fintech has shown, they can build a strong proposition at record speed by focusing on the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) that customers need. Fintechs have gone out and done the research to build a specific product that customers have told them they want.
But what about incumbents?
Incumbents haven’t done the research. How could they? As #LedaWrites every Thursday there are myriad issues preventing effective development. The milieu alone has enough to work on for several lifetimes.
At the same time, incumbents know that they need to improve, fintechs can no longer be swept under the rug as just a prepaid card. The market isn’t growing, fintechs are devouring service lines, piece by piece - from FX and P2P, through to international money transfers, savings and investments - and they’re delivering more innovative products that inspire customers to leave incumbents. In some cases this innovation is in the form of not charging the end customer for internal system inefficiencies and costs.
Sure, account-switching numbers are low and incumbents cling on to the fantasy that fintech is for fun money. But the truth is that most of the market doesn’t have fun money, especially among younger customers. Youth employment is down and there is a swathe of unpaid internships, so all of their money might look like fun money. But they’re still using fintechs. And while for now the active users base of challengers may not be using it as their only account, statistics show that is changing.
A few money diary articles with absurd life expenditures aren’t reality. Incumbents need to go and do the research to find out what customers are spending their money on and what they’re saving it for.
That’s where the real delight exists, in the space where you can deliver a service for customers where they can join their life goals with spending habits. Monzo’s recent partnership with Oaknorth is a great example of how fintechs are working together to achieve this themselves. Joining products together to create a greater customer-focused proposition. That’s real delight. That’s the moment you felt as a child when you ripped into your easter egg.
So what can incumbents do?
Incumbents need to accept that if they want to get ahead of the game and deliver customer experiences that really delight then they need to change. Not on a day to day basis, but they need to change their entire approach - who and how they hire, the culture of innovation and risk taking (by which being okay with things failing, not fixing Libor) and how services are delivered.
For many reasons this is tricky. Incumbents have too many commitments, too many service lines, often across multiple geographies, too many stakeholders. There’s no point in giving those things up for something as ethereal as a digital proposition. Why would you build a bank when your shareholders will ask ‘but we already have one of those’?
Great news, you don’t have to. Building your own proposition is hard, especially in-house and with all the politicking that comes with a large organisation. It makes far more sense to outsource the work.
11:FS helped two organisations secure one of the four HKMA banking licenses that were granted this year. 11:FS delivered Mettle, a market-defining sole trader and SME banking proposition. And to top it off we’re building the future of banking with 11:FS Foundry. Not to mention having the world’s greatest database of user-journeys for research and analysis.
Delivering a product that builds on the brand permission you already have is key. That’s where we excel and it’s what we’re doing for our clients right now. Bring back that child-like delight of opening an Easter egg for your customers.
Get in touch with us today.