In a world of constant technology upgrades and changes, many financial institutions feel pressure to keep up with the times to draw in new business as well as to keep the old. However, spending the time and money to implement new programs is not always in the best interest of an institution or brand — or even the interests of its customers or members.
Here are four things to consider before deciding to add more products or services to a financial institution’s programs and services line-up. Addressing these will help an FI make sure that its brand remains customer/member focused:
1) Make sure it will add value for the customer/member
The first and foremost consideration for a financial institution is generally the customer/member. To ensure that a new program or service meets a genuine customer need, an FI needs to answer these questions:
Can the customer/member use it?
Will they use it?
How will it increase their access to the institution?
For instance, before developing a new mobile app, a financial institution would need to think about where their customers/members reside. A relatively rural area may offer more limited ability to access the web via mobile devices, which would severely limit the usability of the application.
Using the same example, an FI would need to consider the likelihood that its customer/member base would own and use smart phones or tablets. While a large portion of the U.S. seems to be addicted to social networks and mobile devices, there are still areas and demographic groups that haven’t joined the trend.
Assuming that the area and ownership makeup were conducive to application development, the institution would then need to decide what features its app should offer. Not only should the application make banking more accessible, but it should also offer an easier way to get in touch with the institution directly.
2) When in doubt, poll the public
When a financial institution is unsure if customers/members would be interested in a new product or service, it is sometimes best just to ask them. Simple, short surveys can be easy to implement. Offering a prize or drawing can assure a wider response rate. Customers/members will see it as a customer service outreach and the financial institution will gain better knowledge about what consumers expect from the institution.
3) Promote it and support it
Is this product or service worth promoting? If an FI is spending the time and effort to create it, then it should be. A well-developed marketing plan will let customers know about new product or service — and create excitement and anticipation for it. With the introduction of new technology, a financial institutions might even want to offer a how-to guide, class or event.
4) Test it and track it
The financial institution has introduced a new product or service, complete with a marketing campaign to get customers/members involved and using it. Now what?
Test and track it. It's practically guaranteed that there will be ways to make the product or service better.
It is important to remember that most new products and services see an initial spike in use, eventually leveling out to a stable number of users. But, if the numbers drop off significantly over time, the institution may want to consider bringing the program to an end — and repeating the cycle to introduce the next new and exciting product or service.