How One CIO Learned That Efficiency Isn't Enough

A banking CIO works with the CMO and discovers that complex financial transactions can be quite emotional for the customer. Good technology can help build trust and improve the customer experience.

Banking is typically regarded as a boring service, maybe even a necessary evil. So you might be surprised to find out that customers have strong feelings when they perform banking transactions.

In a joint project between its IT department and chief marketing officer's team, ING Bank performed extensive research to analyze 16 emotions--such as surprise, joy, pride, anger, boredom and contempt--that customers might feel when interacting with the bank.

The results were pretty clear: There's a big difference between the emotions triggered by routine banking activities versus complex ones.

Routine tasks such as a cash withdrawal are perceived as indispensable and easily accomplished. Customers feel bored and safe and have minimal emotional reaction.

Complex banking products, such as a big loan or a mortgage, are generally perceived as high-risk, so customers exhibit more extreme emotions such as fear, hope and nervousness. This makes sense. For instance, if you're an entrepreneur, getting a loan may mean the difference between opening another store to stay in business or going bust without it. Getting a mortgage may boost your adrenaline more than watching a good thriller.

From a banker's perspective, it was an important insight. ING has always put a lot of emphasis on delivering on promises and providing consistent quality. While that's still essential, the research shows that the company also needs to pay more attention to the customer experience and the emotional part of banking.

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