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2014: The year of the customer?

As we start the new year, we can expect many predictions to be put forth.  Regulation and the continued break neck pace of technological advancement are sure to top the lists.  Here’s my top prediction or projection as the case may be.

As we start the new year, we can expect many predictions to be put forth.  Regulation and the continued break neck pace of technological advancement are sure to top the lists.  Here’s my top prediction or projection as the case may be.

2014 should be the year of the customer.  Financial institutions, more than ever before, must listen to their customers and focus on their needs.  Many regulatory directives have been forcing the focus to the customers – SEPA, PSD, UK Faster Payments, Dodd-Frank.  Ultimately, it has all been about better serving the customer.  The Federal Reserve in the US has requested public comment on the state of the US payments system recognizing the need for upgrades with the goal of better servicing the customer.  This is a step in the right direction, but one that will take time.  Financial institutions need to act now to win customers.

Between the millennials and the continued under-served small business segment, there is a continued risk that these segments will turn to less traditional providers for the services traditionally serviced by banks.  

Customer focus

This is not news.  But what are we doing about it?  Financial institutions have a prime opportunity NOW to listen to what customers want and deliver it.  Digital banking access, flexible solutions that are packaged according to a customer’s needs – these products exist.  Let’s make this a year of listening to customers  and being responsive.  Perhaps even proactive.  There is an opportunity to exceed expectations and delight customers or there is the option to just pass them to the non-bank competitors.  Let’s choose to delight and win.