Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

By Ron van Kemenade, CIO ING Bank Netherlands

Who said banking was boring?

Let me explain first … before you conclude that banking is indeed boring. Banking is typically regarded as a low involvement product, a boring product. Based on some interesting research, however, we discovered that people actually have a lot of emotions and feelings when banking.

We recently asked and observed retail and business customers about our products and service – what they liked and disliked. It was part of a joint project with our Marketing team to study customer human emotions such as anger, boredom and surprise to see what affect if any they had on the ING brand.

Here’s what we found.

With routine banking, our research shows that customers feel bored and safe and have minimal emotional reaction. With complex banking products, more extreme emotions such as fear, hope and nervousness play a role. With complex banking products, customers feel emotions and feelings about fear and hope.

It may not come as a surprise to most that emotions play a significant role, but from a banker’s perspective, it was a great insight. The research clearly showed that we needed to pay more attention to the customer experience. In a very short time we had a banking crisis, and now we are dealing with the Euro crisis. So it’s understandable that customers today are insecure about their financial future.

Within ING, we had always focused IT on creating more efficiency and effectiveness. When dealing with other people’s money, we can’t afford any mistakes in our processes. Dealing or developing products was mostly about solving a problem from a technical standpoint.

The past few years have taught us that efficiency in customer interactions is not enough. To become the preferred bank for customers, we have to build a relationship of trust by delivering excellent products at a fair price and mitigating negative emotions surrounding personal finance. We’re now building a culture where we solve problems from a customer’s perspective vs. just from a technical standpoint.

I’m very enthusiastic about the possibilities that current technology will give us in the coming years, and this will only improve. CMOs and CIOs together must forge a shared agenda to drive marketing innovation, blending the art of marketing with the science of technology. As a CIO today, for instance, it’s important to consider how technology affects all departments in addition to managing traditional IT management responsibilities. Success for ING is not only doing things in a more efficient and effective way. It’s also taking into account the emotions when dealing with our bank and putting technology to work in creating great customer experiences.

On Tuesday, September 4th at 1 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CET, Ron van Kemenade, CIO ING Bank Netherlands and Yuchun Lee , vice president and general manager for IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management Group will participate in a twitter chat about how Smarter Commerce plays a role at ING, what it takes to market to the digital customer, and the why it’s so important for the CMO and CIO to forge a solid relationship. To join the conversation follow the hashtag #GetRealChat or follow  @INGnl_Ron and Yuchun Lee and  @IBMSmrtCommerce.

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