I honestly don’t know an industry more obsessed with fads than banking. Maybe it’s because this is such a follow-the-leader industry. Perhaps it’s because banking is a very me-too business with few (if any) real brand distinctions. Or is it simply that senior management is so obsessed with the needs of one stakeholder group – shareholders – that they are blind to the needs of what should be their first priority: customers?
Whatever the reason, fads are not the way forward. And here’s the evidence…
Recruit customers to the sales force.
Quite seriously, customers want to be involved. They want to share their thoughts. They want to shape their bank. They are also very willing guinea pigs providing – and this is the critical proviso – banks listen and act upon their feedback.
If banks get this right they can turn customers into an (unpaid) extension of their sales force. And that’s a proven fact. This approach has been tested in other industries and, right now, it looks as though Barclays is taking the first tentative steps towards adopting this strategy.
So stop fadding about. If you really want to know what your customers want, don’t guess – ask them! Because without customers you won’t have shareholders.