Back in the days of dial up modems and Packard Bell PCs the size of luxury barbecues, connecting to the internet was not only generally an unpleasant experience, it was very much not guaranteed. The whirrs and clicks whirred and clicked. Sometimes you were able to read that piece of chain email from your aunt. Other times you were not. It’s scary to think we’re only twenty years or so removed from that level of internet tyranny.
Nowadays of course we all walk around with miniature supercomputers in our pockets, featuring the ability to not only connect to the internet without clicking and whirring, but also the ability to film the latest Hollywood blockbuster, if you feel so inclined. Not only do you have the option of doing that, you also have the option of using internet connectivity through a variety of devices other than your phone. Dubbed the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), everything from the tablet on your kitchen worktop to the watch on your wrist now has the ability to connect to the internet.
The concept of the IoT has produced a plethora of devices with a wide range of uses and some unforeseen consequences. Those of us who are parents, for example, now face an uphill battle when it comes to limiting internet activity. It’s very difficult to bar social media usage when the same result can be achieved by both typing into your phone and talking to your fridge.
Of perhaps more concern to those of us in financial services should be the change in expectations the IoT is engendering. We used to accept occasional internet connectivity. Now we do not. We used to accept that we could only connect to the internet on our computer. Now we do not. The next sea change is the ability to communicate through whatever device we want, where we want to, to whomever we choose.
Consumer current account banking, for example, is starting to approach this shift. We used to accept we could only bank in branch. Then we wanted to bank from home and we accepted we could only do this by talking to someone over the phone. Now of course internet banking is accepted as everyday and consumers are moving on to the next thing. Banking through your watch is here.
All of that means that the time is coming when your own area of the financial services spectrum will be expected to keep up with the moving times. That may not mean an Apple Watch app, but it is a certainty that expectations will change and that changes in consumer behaviour will drive consumer expectations.
When that moment arrives, it is worth structuring your approach around three considerations.
Reliability - whatever your approach to keep up with customer expectations, it must be reliable. Nothing damages a brand experience for customers more than experiencing downtime or unexpected errors.
Scalability - customer expectations will change again. The experience now will not be the experience in twenty years time, as with dial up modems. Can your solution scale over time?
Security - the one point of no compromise. Changing behaviours do not alter expectations around security of vital data. If anything, they only raise them still further.
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