bankingacrossdevicesThe insightful Bank 2.0 guru Brett King, along with Alex Sion and Michael Degnan of Sapient, posted an intriguing article recently in The European Financial Review. “If you were building a bank from scratch today to optimize customer experience and engagement, what would it look like?,” they posit.

Well, according to King and the gang, one would need to come up with the best customer experience in three areas: branch banking, online banking and mobile ‘engagement’ banking. From a branch perspective that means focusing less on the superficial, like how the branch looks, and more on the actual net improvements in customer engagement, which would mean measurable improvements in acquisitions of customers and cross or up-sell opportunities.

When it comes to creating the best online banking experience, something we at Backbase are keenly focused on, King and the others suggest that the banking website should encompass both public and personal banking. In other words, it shouldn’t be approached the way that most banks do it, which is to keep the two worlds separate.

“Banks have to start thinking about the online channel as a dialogue, as an engagement platform – not a transactional or functional platform.” They go on, “If you want best practice in online banking, there is not one bank that has this sorted out.”

Addressing the mobile channel – they are equally unimpressed suggesting that [banks] are, “making the same mistakes that were made when the Internet came out in terms of limiting development to what the bank wants from the channel (cost migration and competitive competency) rather than real engagement of customers.

So how then do they propose this new, non-legacy hindered bank can ‘engage’ its customers? Above all, it would need to use its channels to focus more on reducing the friction between the customer and the institution and to create actual engagements with customers – on a level that wasn’t even imaginable prior to social networks.

Fundamentally, the Best Practice Engagement Bank of King’s and the others’ imagination requires a change in thinking. At Backbase we refer to this more customer-focused approach as, ‘thinking outside in – as opposed to inside out.’ In fact, it’s a key part of our vision. Why? If you think like a customer it’s much easier to go to them first, where and when they need you, instead of waiting around for them to come to you — and then it could be too late.