Admit it … you’ve been sucked in by reality show mania. Last night you probably struggled with what to watch – Survivor, The Apprentice, or maybe My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé. Well, today you’re in store for The Extreme Makeover – Gonzo style!
It all sounds so perfect on television’s version of Extreme Makeover. Enter one pathetic, overweight, dog-ugly individual and 12 weeks later you’ve got a stunning, svelte, metamorphosis of a human being – all courtesy of a plastic surgeon, fitness trainer, dietician, aesthetician, oral surgeon, fashion consultant, makeup artist, and a tab picked up by ABC.
I’ll wager you’d ante up if you were promised complete channel integration with “consistent customer experience,” “a 360-degree-view of the customer,” “end-to-end process integration” – and all in 90 days!
I am here to tell you the “reality,” folks. You might find a quick fix to your sagging jaw line or your luscious love handles on TV, but there’s not a network on Earth that will take on a bank’s channel integration issues in 90 days. And if someone is telling you he can, beware of the messenger peddling this quick BOTOX fix to your integration wrinkles. He’s been hanging out with Tatoo and Mr. Rourke too long. De plane, de plaaaane!!!
Not to be outdone, however, by ABC and the other networks, the Gonzo Broadcasting Network is offering up a few nip-and-tuck recommendations.
Every Extreme Makeover begins with a “before” picture. The picture reveals all the flaws – today’s reality – and exposes what can be improved upon. Has your bank taken a snapshot – a “before” picture? Are you even aware of what you look like to your customers?
Consider this all-too-familiar scenario. A customer needs to write a check for $542. Before going to pay the bill, he checks his balance on the Internet just to make sure wifey hasn’t drained the account at Nordstrom’s. The balance is $599. Just to double-check, he telephones the IVR and is given a balance of $588. Hmmm … Now he’s curious and goes to the decider – the ATM – which gives him a balance of $585. This customer, cross-eyed with conflicting balances and a pounding headache, is ready to go back to keeping his money under the mattress.
If this describes your customer’s experience, you have identified the starting point – your “before” picture – for your channel integration makeover.
So, what steps can be taken to give your customers the best possible experience?
Let’s start with an easy one: whitening. These days you don’t even need to go to the dentist to have white teeth. Fourteen days of Crest Whitening Strips and the impact of 20 years of smoking and all-day coffee guzzling are erased – at least on the surface. My point is this: first impressions are important, and with people, smiles can go a long way in making positive first impressions. Likewise, for you banks out there, your “smile” is important, too. A simple solution is consistent signage and branding. You want your customers to recognize you, don’t you?
You might be wondering, “So what does this have to do with channel integration?” It’s all part of the “customer experience,” right? And doesn’t the experience start before the customer walks in the door?
The next step isn’t really a procedure, it’s a discipline. I liken it to the makeover candidate’s trip to the dietician, where he is taught a new approach to healthy eating and living. The dietician helps him devise a menu and if he sticks to the menu, he’s headed in the right direction. Banks need to devise one menu – a guideline of technology standards – critical to fuel the long-term health of their organizations.
Ordering outside the menu (like that Snickers bar in your moment of weakness) may taste good going down but is likely to come back to bite you. If you have ordered outside the menu too many times, it is probably time for a gut check – a look inside. You are what you eat, they say. How many database software packages are you currently running? If it’s more than two, that may explain the gastrointestinal grumblings.
Most health gurus are going to tell you the same thing – that healthy eating should go hand-in-hand with a fitness regimen. Those Extreme Makeover candidates consult with fitness trainers to develop focus and help them to stay on course and motivated on their path to self-improvement. At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil, all banks could benefit from this type of motivation – and this is where project managers come into play. They are the fitness trainers – the ones who keep us on track .
In summary, there are no quick fixes – no 90-day plans. Your Integration Extreme Makeover begins with you, not with vendors, not with software, with you . Look at your branding. What do you look like to your customers? What are their experiences like at your bank? What does your “before” picture look like? Do you have technology standards in place, and do you have project managers who can ensure that these standards are followed and implemented properly? Do you have a roadmap?
Unlike those TV makeovers, the goal of this makeover is not to get to the “after” picture but to determine the “where are we going” picture. Have a plan, develop your roadmap, do your best. Remember, you don’t have to go to extreme measures to achieve extreme results. Damn – I’m sounding more and more like Tony Robbins all the time. Help me, Dr. Phil!