Brett King

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

The official Bank 2.0 US launch – you’re invited

In Book News on July 27, 2010 at 15:18

This is the banking literary event of the year! Sponsored by Sapient, Geezeo, Marshall Cavendish and organized by Success Inc make sure you are in New York at the Roosevelt hotel this Thursday the 29th of July.

Bank 2.0 is the bestselling book on the future of banking which examines changing consumer behavior, the impact of technology and emerging business models in the financial services space. The who’s who of banking, media and technology will all be there, so do yourself a favor and join us.

Where’s it at?

New York’s Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th Street
New York‎ NY
Google Maps Location


6:30-8:00pm ET


Confirm your attendance with Kirstin Elaine Myers

Would love to see you there!

Brett King


The 5 Stages of Social Media Grief

In Blogs, Customer Experience, Groundswell, Internet Banking, Retail Banking, Social Networking, Technology Innovation, Twitter on July 22, 2010 at 08:44

This week I’ve met with some very interesting people and the subject of social media has been high on the agenda. Yesterday, I met with Tom Cannon, who is leading the charge on the Internet Banking initiative that is part of HSBC’s “OneH” project – essentially their customer dashboard, single-view of the customer baseline technology. Earlier in the week with Sam Oakley from WolfStar, John Beck the Technology Editor for the Financial Times/The Banker magazine in London, and my good pal Christophe Langlois from Visible Banking, amongst others.  At these sessions we invariably repeated a discussion I’ve had 30 times in the last few months with innovators in the banking space the world over. The question simply being “when will the banking senior executives get social media?”

Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare – when will it end?

Facebook this week announced their 500 millionth active user. That number is pretty significant. Firstly, any corporation that can claim it’s customer base would make it the third largest country in the world (behind only China and India) has a case for celebration. Secondly, it doesn’t look as if its growth will slow any time soon. Lastly, their growth is not restricted by physical distribution or inventory constraints, their marketplace is anywhere you are.

Twitter is not far behind, with 190 million users as of June 2010, and 65 million tweets a day. Foursquare, the Geolocation Social Networking service is up there too – adding 100,000 new users every week at the moment.

When will it end? It’s won’t – that’s like asking when the internet and mobile phones will end. Which brings me to the realization that dealing with innovation in banking is a lot like dealing with grief.

So here are the 5 stages of Innovation Grief for Banks and Bankers (It probably works for most companies actually)

Stage 1 – Total ignorance

When a new innovation comes out banker’s simply ignore it because ‘banking has been around for centuries and it fundamentally doesn’t change…”

Stage 2 – It’s just a fad

“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms … Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems … Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works … Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.” – Clifford Stohl, Newsweek, 27 February, 1995

Ok so now it’s on our radar, but it’s just a fad – all the fuss will blow over soon.

Stage 3 – I still don’t get it, where’s the money?

Because of Stage 1 and Stage 2 banker’s are looking at social media’s incredible rise to fame and then looking at their competitors (who are mostly doing nothing) and saying, “well as an industry no one is making any money out of this, so let’s not bother just yet…”

How can you tell you are this stage? You have a Facebook page for the bank, but no one actively managing your social media listening post

Stage 4 – The Sonic Boom

Internet banking, mobile banking, social media is all the same for bankers. It’s like them sitting there watching the Concorde or an F15 doing a low-pass, fly-by and not yet registering what they are seeing as significant, until the Sonic Boom hits them and blows them off their feet. By then it is already too late because at Mach 1 or Mach 2 your competitors are already way, way in front of you. This is where the message finally breaks through the ignorance! BOOM!

This is the stage we are hitting for most banks today…

If you work in a bank how can you tell if you are at this stage – your bank has just hired a Head of Social Media.

Social Media is starting to hit banks like a Sonic Boom

Stage 5 – The Mad Scramble

Excuse the vernacular, but this is the “oh, crap” moment where bankers suddenly realize that they should have been heavily invested in this 3-4 years ago, and their lack of preparedness is highlighting to their customer base, employees and the world just how out of touch bankers are. The mad scramble may have occurred because of a PR disaster like those that BP has experienced with the Gulf Oil Spill, that Bank of America experience with Ann Minch’s Debtor revolt, or that Citibank experienced with the Fabulis debacle.

This is when the knee-jerk hiring spree starts with hit and miss initiatives occurring throughout the bank.

How do you know when you are at this stage? The CEO of the bank is talking about Social Media in press conferences and how the bank is committed to better reaching customers through this medium.

Getting out in front

So how do you stop the grief cycle within your organization? The first thing bankers need to do is rethink their organizational structure around customer. Social Media is a tool for reaching customers, for engaging customers. It is as important as investing in branches, it is just as critical as having a telephone number for customers to call, but more than that, it can help you transform your business internally too. To fix your organization to serve customers in the digital and social media age – you need to think independently of channels.

We talk about multi-channel alot these days, but clearly social media is showing us that new channels and ways of interacting can grow very fast. Who’s to say what will come after social media? Something will. The key is that channel complexity continues to grow, and no single channel should be singled out as more important. For customers branch is no more important than Internet, mobile than social media, call centre than ATM. These are tools to engage, and increasingly banks need to be more pervasive – everywhere the customer is.

So break the back of organization structure silos around channels. Think customer – think total channel engagement, and get moving on Social Media fast: BOOM!

UK Book Signing and Free Drinks! – LONDON 22nd July, 6:30pm

In Book News on July 21, 2010 at 18:00

If you are in the UK on the 22nd of July come along to the official launch of BANK 2.0 in London.

The event will be held at the Blackwell Business and Law Bookshop at the following address:
243-244 High Holborn

The signing event starts at 6:30pm and includes wine, drinks and great company! A number of the elite set of the UK banking and press scene will be there.

Join me if you can! You can reach me at to RSVP.

Is Customer Experience innovation too hard for UK banks?

In Customer Experience, Retail Banking, Strategy on July 19, 2010 at 10:59

When you read a definition of Customer Experience you invariably will see two elements – the lifetime experience of the customer, and the total experience of the customer day to day as he engages in transactions with the provider of the goods or services he is utilizing. In meeting continuously with UK banks over the last two weeks I find an almost unhealthy obsession with branch experience as the be all and end all of the customer experience challenge. It is as if a poor customer experience across any other channel can be solved simply by a customer walking into a branch having a great service experience. I just don’t buy that.

Last week when I was interviewed on CNBC the issue of Lord Levene’s “Project NewBank” arose, where his stated goal is to primarily recreate the branch philosophy of the 1960s and 70s where a customer walking into a branch is recognized by the local manager, and given personalize ‘back-to-basics’ service.

“Hopefully we can give them all a proposition this time that is fairly straightforward, where when they go into their local branch they know who they are; if they don’t want to go into their local branch they can go on the internet; if they want to phone up they can speak to someone they know – hopefully not a different person every time they call…” – Lord Levene, Chairman Lloyds of London

Hang on…what is different about this to my bank today? Someone knows me in the branch, or I can get to the same person every time I call?

There seems to be a perception today in the UK that all that is needed to fix the poor perception of banks today, is to offer better service through the branch and telephone. But there are a bunch of other issues.

Convenience and expedience are core drivers

When a distribution team in a commercial bank look at the possible locations of a branch for a bank – what are the parameters? Primarily the key concern is being able to maximize traffic through the branch – so the real estate must be in the most convenient location for customers to get to, to park (if they have to drive to get there) and to visit the branch. The other concern is obviously the key segments the bank wants to attract to that branch – i.e. High-Net Worth customers, Mass Affluent, SMEs, etc. The problems associated with decision on branch location today, however, are complicated by the fact that individuals are increasingly less likely to want to take their lunch hour to visit the branch, and that on the weekend or evenings when they have time the branches are closed. Thus, we see banks like Metro Bank seeing their differentiation in opening hours (7 days a week, open late) and the fact that they know your dog’s name.

Metro Bank says opening hours will be a key differentiator

The problem is people aren’t visiting branches as much as they used to because when you look at their core drivers in getting stuff done, namely expedience and convenience, the branch simply is no longer the best choice. In fact, if we offered decent customer experience through web, mobile and call centre, I believe it’s likely that branches would be under even more pressure today. That’s because as a customer when I think about banking I am task oriented – I’m thinking of the quickest, most expedient way I can get something done. I’m not thinking I’ll go down to a ‘branch’ because someone will know my name, my dog’s name or that they are open at 9pm in the evening. The question always is – how do I get this done the fastest most efficient way.

But isn’t it about a rich face-to-face interaction?

There are times when you need to see a human being. I’m told by bankers repeatedly that this is the epitome of the bank-customer relationship, where you meet your banker and have the opportunity to have all your problems solved. This is the core value of the branch customer experience. Where you get that level of service that you can’t get through an ‘electronic’ or ‘alternative’ channel. This is where bankers want you, I’m told, because when you meet with a relationship manager or a teller, there is a cross-sell and up-sell opportunity, which are critical metrics for banks today.

That’s all well and good but let’s look at the reality.

I’m a “Preferred” customer of three different banks, in three different geographies. I have a relationship manager with each of these banks, either as an SME customer, or as a High-Net Worth individual with a core AuM that makes me theoretically of value to the bank as an ongoing relationship. So do I get a better experience face-to-face? Does my preferred status make my banking experience better?

With at least two of the three major banking relationships I have, my relationship manager has changed at least twice in the last 12 months. For one of these banks I’ve had only two contacts from them in the four years that I’ve had a relationship as a ‘preferred’ customer – the first when I joined and the second when my balance slipped below the minimum level and they sent me a warning letter to ask me to top-up my account!

See the reality is this – as a relationship manager for HNWIs in the Mass Affluent or SME space, I probably have somewhere between 200-400 clients assigned to me on average. That means I don’t have time to give my customers advice, let alone invest time in a relationship where I give them good advice. Clients are simply a possible source of monthly sales revenue – which keeps me employed. Keep in mind this is a dedicated ‘relationship manager’ which is what the banks tell me is a source of differentiation in the customer experience.

Then if we talk about face-to-face interactions for the average customer with a teller at a branch – is this really a positive and pleasant experience? The reality is that today most customers are probably just as informed as tellers about the sort of product they are interested in because they already researched it quite heavily before they’ve walked into a branch. It would be hit and miss as to whether a teller or RM would actually be able to give you ‘advice’ or support that would differentiate the experience at the frontline in my humble opinion.

It’s the total customer

The sooner UK banks get over their fascination with branches as the centre of the customer relationship and start to see all channels as equals when it comes to solving the needs of customers today, the better off they and their customers will be.

To that end, I see banks working to put in place direct channel teams, and I see more of a focus on ‘customer experience’. But what I don’t see, is a way for banks to innovate the customer experience across the bank. P&L support for mobile, social media, internet and other such elements of the customer experience is still woefully inadequate because their real-estate based big brother still takes the absolute lions share of $$$. So what’s wrong is that the P&L has not yet caught up with the customer. That’s not a measure of willingness to support innovation, that’s a reality of entrenched structures within the bank that don’t want to lose the piece of the pie that they already have.

Ask a head of branches how he feels about losing 20% of his annual budget to support ‘direct’ channels and you’ll find out very quickly what I mean…

CNBC – Strictly Money Segment

In Book News, Customer Experience, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy on July 19, 2010 at 06:04

Watch my BANK 2.0 interview on CNBC Europe’s Strictly Money segment,Monday July 12th at 11:45am.

CNBC Coverage

Let me know your thoughts about the UK Banking sector and whether you agree/disagree with my views…