Revenue-earning-units or customers!

The wizards of finance and a Meeting of Minds - well maybe. But the financial world is at last realizing it must treat its customers as human beings and not 'revenue earning units'. I had a wonderful session recently addressing 120 or so senior financial wizards at: A Meeting of Minds conference in London. As joint founder of Owenjames, the conference organisers, James Goad had briefed me to open the day with some hard-hitting truths about the state of retail banking/financial services and what might be learned from some of the world's top retail brands. At these types of conferences, I'm always impressed by the customer ambition of these financial wizards and what they have to say... but in truth, as a customer, I haven't noticed a great deal of change over the recent past in terms of how I'm served. I'm minded of a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche the C19 German philosopher who observed: Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups! - perhaps when these wizards get together they fall under the spell of a higher force who decidedly doesn't 'get it!'

Sure, on-line systems and banking is getting very slick but there's not much of a future (or margin) in this - it's the emotional connection with customers leading to a trusted relationship and add-on services that the financial industry need to come to terms with - just like the world's great retailers relentlessly strive for.

But nudging Nietzche's forensic observation to one side, it was a good session, lots of positive feedback and I thank James Goad for his kind words:

“Martin Butler’s charismatic delivery on the art of being chosen really struck a cord with our audience.  Too often speakers reel off the same presentation again and again, but Martin tailored his presentation for the audience to ensure it was relevant and bang on the money.  Well worth every penny!”

Thanks James and let's hope the wizards of finance will edge ever slowly towards true customer centricity - after all, the more enlightened leaders in customer service view shareholder value as an outcome, not a strategy!