Being a reader and listener of Payment and Banking, one can´t probably hear it anymore, when we keep coming up with the phrase “thinking from the customer’s point of view”. But why this is important and what makes the difference, I will show here with examples from the last few weeks.

In any product development, whether producing physical products, Software products or even entertainment products, one is continuously striving for the WOW moment. This happens with products when the attention to detail and the obsession with customer focus reach the end customer and he gets the feeling “Hey, someone actually thought about me”. This is expressed in an extreme, for example with Sir Jony Ive, when he raves in his unique way about the details of the production of Apple products.

The first iPhone was a revelation in terms of design and as an end customer you wondered why you were insulted before with these other forms of telephone. Or let’s take the unknown hero who implemented the “Skip intro” button on Netflix, every time I watch a TV show on Netflix, I see the button and think to myself, “Whoever you are, thank you.”

Die WOW-Momente oder kundenzentrierte Lösungen / The WOW moments or customer concentrated solutions

Even with otherwise so often criticized automobile manufacturers there is still such a thing. The obsession of Dr. Piech with gap dimensions is not coming now, even if I get the creep every time I look at the gap dimensions of a Tesla.

Wow-Moment in VW Gold

I was actually sitting in a new VW Golf (thanks to one of the CarSharing providers) and wanted “as always” to adjust the car to me and thus also the exterior mirrors (the subject of personalization and sharing economy is a decade after the hype, still not even slightly solved).

So, I adjusted the driver’s side and, oh wonder, the passenger’s side had moved analogously. Really now? Why does this only happen in 2019?!?! This is exactly one of those WOW moments. With this function in the Golf VW “single-handedly” degraded every other car in the CarSharing area to “garbage”, because I have double the effort there.

Similar WOW moments can also be seen in our industry from time to time. Dear Bankers and Haters You can now either stop reading or take a deep breath and consider the rest of the article as an incentive (or free consulting). I’ve had some of those WOW moments at FinTechs in the last few weeks. In the following, I will describe one of these moments and compare it with non-customer-centric solutions.

Wow-Moment in the Revolut-App

Recently I got a notification from my Revolut app (Revolut stands here for many NeoBanks) that the pound would be cheap in comparison to the Euro exchange rate (this is by the way one of the ways to increase the activity of end customers, dear banks!!). So, on the notification, I´m already landing In the course So up to the Notification, I’m landing in the course and thus get the visual confirmation in the form of a curve that the message was not a hoax.

Die WOW-Momente oder kundenzentrierte Lösungen / The WOW moments or customer concentrated solutions

With another click I am in my pound wallet and can load it via Google Pay. My default payment method on Google Pay is the Revolut card and my PayPal account. So, I click on load and I’m done. ATTENTION – you just overread the first WOW moment! Again – I have deposited at Google Pay Revolut as default and I could WITHOUT an error message and WITHOUT being bothered as a customer within Google Pay to switch to PayPal, just pay!

This is NOT the default behavior, but someone has thought exactly about this Use Case and decided to operate with ADDITIONAL EXPENSES to save me this frustration.

Satisfied Customer

Let´s continue. Let’s go. A moment after clicking on “Add money” I receive a message from PayPal about my payment and on the wallet my new money is already available. A few minutes later I randomly go into my email account and see two (uh) messages from PayPal. The first is the email equivalent of the transaction confirmation and the second is the next WOW moment.

The second message is confusing at first glance and looks as if it is a correction booking – and it is. Because Revolut didn’t trigger a direct payment during my payment, but first “only” authorized / reserved the required amount via Google Pay, as with a credit card, and only then charged the amount during the procedure of the real transaction (buying pounds). In this tiny little time difference, however, the exchange rate of the pound has changed in my favor and this somewhat unreadable e-mail from PayPal informs me that Revolut has just authorized 7ct less than what they actually reserved.

WOW number 2 – now a bank (Neobank) has actually charged me as a customer the absolute monster amount of 7ct LESS than to put it in their OWN pocket and thus optimize their own margin?So, guess who is now an even more satisfied Revolt customer and who now is (if that hadn´t already been the case) buying foreign currencies via this app?

Die WOW-Momente oder kundenzentrierte Lösungen / The WOW moments or customer concentrated solutions
Customer-concentrated Wow-Moments

This is exactly the goal of customer centric WOW moments. They are confidence-building (which according to bankers is there inherent anyway – laugh) and they make everything known and comparable (i.e. my normal banking app) look like “garbage” (see VW exterior mirrors) and have thus just raised the level of acceptance of the end customer to the next level.

Taking the exterior mirror as an example, this means that I can never get back in a car and adjust the exterior mirror without either being disappointed (voice in my head: “What kind of garbage is this, why isn’t the sh** passenger exterior mirror moving with me?”) or at best feeling the same (voice in my head: “Look, a hundred years later this manufacturer also managed to do this with the exterior mirror – sarcastic applause”).

The second time, when an end customer has the same WOW moment with another supplier, only makes sure that this is perceived as equal but certainly not better. It doesn´t matter how many providers cannot offer this. The end customer has already experienced the WOW moment once. This is the reason why all me-too products are a complete waste of time and resources. Me too means as much in the end customer’s perception as what I have been waiting for TIME X is the BOTTOM limit in expectations!

“Niche” Use Case

Let’s put this experience in contrast to my traditional bank. Anyone who has listened to me, or has seen me speak, knows what my traditional bank is, so I won’t mention the name of the Blaubank here.

The Red-Dot Award winning mobile banking app of my traditional bank has no function at all to inform me about FX price changes. Not because there is no such thing or because I, as a customer, am not obviously interested in it. I have several currency accounts at the bank (from trading), I have a so-called “TravelCard” (credit card without foreign fees) and in my bank account you can also find a lot of foreign currency purchases (bankers talk for foreign currency purchases).

“The Red Dot Award winning mobile banking app of my traditional bank has no equivalent feature at all.”

Well anyway, there is no FX alarm, but wait a minute I have foreign currency accounts and this super great excellent app that can also do Mobile Payment, does that in reverse now mean that I pay abroad for example with the credit on my foreign currency account?

ROFLPMP -Rolling On The Floor Laughing (while) Peeing My Pants.

Exactly. The idea probably never occurred to anyone in their life (yes, skeptical banker, it’s a niche use case). The idea of switching a multi-currency wallet in the mobile payment app, which EVERY neobank has been doing for YEARS, was obviously not obvious enough. About the part with the validation of the foreign currency and the NOT subsiding of the difference as margin, we do not need to talk about either.

Lack of customer focus

My traditional bank would have had the opportunity for YEARS to offer not only an analog but a BETTER functionality, which would have given it more everyday relevance, “confirmed” my trust and “bugged” me as a customer, because then I would have expected this functionality. But because my Bank in terms of products thinks about what is “feasible”, what is cost-efficient and doesn’t focus on the end costumer, the App is never used. We’d rather not talk about trust either and the next hundred design awards won’t raise it to the same level as a neobank either.

THAT IS the effect of WOW moments. There is no DIRECT ROI but the indirect ROI is destructive for the competition. So, for the thousandth time, bankers don’t love me-too products but finally customer-centric solutions with built-in WOW moments, in the end WE end customers pay your bonuses!