We are constantly telling the banks that banking products design should be clear, simple and helpful in solving user issues. All of them agree, but they wonder why we have to constantly repeat what appears to be so obvious. Actually, this reaction puzzles me, because, in reality, I rarely see a user-centered design in modern banking services.
Digital banking design is not about visual revamp
It's time to stop self-deception in the banking industry
Sure, we can justify this by bank management’s conscious reluctance to take risks and invest in a radical architecture update. And there is also a fear that their customers will not accept the significant banking interface changes.
Another explanation is that the internal bank team can’t think outside of the box to provide customer-centered digitization in banking. They are not ready to take responsibility for required innovative banking solutions. Or even worse, they underestimate the importance of online channels in the digital age. Indeed, I don’t believe that bank management is not able to adequately assess how such a formal approach to banking product design will affect the performance of the bank, particularly considering the number of tech-savvy customers and their growing demand for online and mobile banking.
I am sure they are well aware of the possible dire consequences: market share loss in the near future; reduction in the bank’s long-term benefits to competitors and neobanks; customers’ dissatisfaction with the digital banking user experience and decrease in loyalty; and, finally, resulting loss of profits. However, we see a formal approach that doesn’t improve the service usability for millions of users. And it seems there is no rational explanation for this. Apparently the bank’s management is sure that everything is done 100% correctly and according to customer centered approach in banking.
This means that the worst happens — a business engaged in self-deception. They have lost connection with their customers, and do not hear them. Roughly speaking, bankers don rose-colored glasses and convince themselves that everything is fine.
The problem is that this case is not the only one. We see numerous banks trying to maintain their standing in the banking sector and complete digitization in banking using formal declarations and minor redesigns, ones that don’t change the fundamentals of the service and don’t improve the banking user experience. It is important to understand how to help those financial institutions remove the rose-colored glasses and stop ignoring the need for a customer-centered approach.
Perhaps the reason for self-deception is a strong market position and inert in-house bureaucracy. Such conditions do not allow them to see the difference between the traditional banking approach and user-centered design that drastically improves the user experience. For example, neo banking companies not burdened with such “comfort” and deliver fantastic services providing an example to follow for the entire banking industry.
This story raises two very difficult issues: Do traditional financial institutions fully realize the gap between their usual banking product design and user-centered FinTech services? And, most importantly, will banks be able to overcome it? I really hope that we will not witness this self-deception turning into a catastrophic fall — a fall similar to that of Nokia, whose CEO said, with tears in his eyes, “we didn’t do anything wrong, but, somehow, we lost.”
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