You are an amazing bank. You have great products and ultimate customer service. You are sure to be chosen amongst equals. You are sure to win….but it’s getting in the race that’s the issue.

In the modern banking marketplace, consumers face an overwhelmingly large variety of products. In order to reduce the number of relevant alternatives to choose from, customers often use screening criteria (deliberate as well as unconscious). And, consumers apply their preferences to the potentially smaller set of alternatives that they have constructed in the initial stages of the buying cycle. This smaller set is often referred to as ‘consideration set’.  To increase the odds of winning, it is important to increase your odds of being considered by engaging the consumers as early as possible in the buying cycle.

In many instances a consumer doesn’t even realize that they have an unmet need until it’s brought to her attention. In other cases she may know that she has a problem but doesn’t know a solution exists that could solve it. Herein lies a great opportunity for banks to start a consumer down the buying cycle and to be included in the consideration set.

If you are the first bank to be in the consideration set, you gain a competitive advantage over any other bank that might be considered. In the 2011 Asia PFS Survey conducted jointly by McKinsey’s Asia Financial Services practice and the Consumer & Shopper Insights (CSI) practice McKinsey it was observed that consumers typically do business with the banks they have in mind at the beginning of the decision-making process. By being the first bank that enters their consideration set you get to set the bar for which all other banks will need to beat. You get to establish the cost, service, delivery and serve as the basis for shortlisting the consideration set.

“Customers evaluate each interaction in the context of the ones that came before and compare it with their expectations and alternatives. A series of positive interactions builds towards higher willingness to recommend, creating a brand advocate or promoter” says Tom Springer, Domenico Azzarello and Jeff Melton, senior members of Bain’s Global Customer Strategy & Marketing practice. (see the figure below stating an example of how positive interactions over time earns customer advocacy in the context of Retail banking from their article ‘What it takes to win with customer experience’ ).

People are often more inclined to pay serious attention to things that are similar to what they are already familiar with. When we draw a parallel to the banks, it is important to constantly engage a customer and reinforce his decision of choosing your bank by enhanced customer experience. When a customer is interacting with your bank it shows that she has some basic trust in your bank. Banks have to bank on these interactions and make it an enriching experience the first time and every time. Every product suggestion made must be relevant to the context and address the need of the customer. Sometimes, the product/service information provided may be so relevant that a customer might by pass the whole exercise of evaluating other alternatives. Even if she does, you can be sure that you have already got a decent share of her attention before she evaluates others. It is just not enough to have the right set of products on the plate, it is also important to serve them to the “right” consumers at the “right” time. The timing is crucial! By reviewing individual customer journeys, banks can increasingly look to display and advertise products/brand to guide consumers toward searching for their products.

Be the first one to make an impression and never lose any opportunity to make it a positive one because you never exactly know what a satisfied and loyal customer is really worth of. Perceiving the need of the customer before the customer could even articulate it and acting upon it is the mantra. Banks that miss this opportunity to provide product/service information useful in the customer research phase of the buying process or well before that are taking themselves out of the sales picture later on.


– By Madhavi Natukula

CustomerXPs offers real-time, intelligent products that empower banks with instant insights enabling influenced outcomes of deeper customer engagement and fraud-free transactions. 

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