Last week I blogged about new ways to gain insight on millennials’ relationship to financial services – sharing our rationale for using an observational methodology to conduct research into millennials’ attitudes to personal finance.
At Tahzoo, we don’t just conduct research for research’s sake. We engage in the generation of insights that can inform innovation in customer experience and digital transformation initiatives.
In this case, the purpose of the research is to discover what millennials will recognize as a customer centric experience when engaging with the financial services industry.
To answer that question we need to have a sense of what would make any customer, millennial or not, feel that they are experiencing a customer centric engagement with a brand.
What does customer centricity mean to customers in general?
At Tahzoo, we approach customer centricity as the balance of 3 key elements from the customer’s perspective: Reward, Recognition, and Respect.
It is the balance of these 3 elements that is key – most customers expect that these elements will be in proportion to each other – hence the overlapping Venn diagram. If you have too little of one element, you lack a cornerstone of customer expectation; but too much of an element also makes the customer feel out of place.
What does customer centricity mean to a Financial Services customer?
Although there are cross-vertical synergies, the specific expectations of Reward, Recognition, and Respect differ per industry. This is because customers’ expectations of contextual relevance are derived from a combination of their life situation, vertical and category needs, and brand and product perceptions.
At Tahzoo, we think of these different elements as a funnel of experience expectation – with life situation at the top of the funnel, vertical and category experiences in the middle, and brand and product perceptions at the bottom.
This is where our research comes in. As you’ll remember, we are developing insights on customers’ expectations for contextually relevant experiences in their individual journeys with personal finance, and uncovering the signals that identify which type of journey individual customers are on.
For us, that means starting at the top of funnel with life situation, and for financial services customers life situation equates to Money Mindstates.
I mentioned Money Mindstates at the end of my last blog, in connection to solving the problem of millennials not having engaged with certain activities related to financial services products. The reason Money Mindstates help solve that problem is because they emerge from top of funnel research; even if millennials have not engaged with the vertical and category, they have still engaged with higher level needs related to money.
Based on the millions of social media, forum, and blog posts we have collected and analyzed, whether they need a car, an education, a house, or a nest egg, customers express feelings about their situations. So, to answer the question posed by the title, financial services customers are most likely to feel that they have experienced customer centricity when a brand meets them with an experience that recognizes their Money Mindstate.
For example, Is planning for college terrifying or invigorating for a customer? Does thinking about retirement make the customer elated or demotivated? Is divorce a financial nightmare or financial windfall?
This presents a challenge for financial services brands. If they avoid suggesting a customer has any feelings about the needs served by their products then they could fail with the “too little recognition” side of the customer centricity equation, and lose customers to more sophisticated competitors who can identify the signals the customer is sharing. However, if they misread those signals and provide a ‘personalized’ experience that is off-base the result would be even worse.
To find out what the Money Mindstates are, and what the signals are that identify them, stay tuned for the results of our research report next month!