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Being Customer-centric means helping customers help themselves

I can’t believe I am writing another blog about a bank! We have recently been working with several clients to understand the impact of financial difficulties facing households in the UK.

After years of the banks being anything but customer-centric, especially with this demographic, the new kids on the block are showing them how it can be done.

Monzo have looked at the impact of constrained financial budgets and chosen to take some responsibility. They don’t punish people with excess fees when they exceed their limits or try to take advantage of them with high interest payday loans but, more interestingly, they have several tools that pre-empt difficulties before they happen. Here are just some of them:

1. Being able to see your expenditure

Monzo let customers set their own spending targets per category per month, personalised and tailored to historical spending.

2. Intelligent notifications

A ‘Targets’ feature in their app gives you immediate feedback on how you are achieving (or not) your spending goals. Monzo sends intelligent notifications to warn if you’re spending too fast. As you near your limits, the bars change from green, to orange, to red, and you’ll get notifications when you go over your target. It’s very flexible (reflecting the way we live our lives) and you can tweak your targets at any time to suit your lifestyle or plans for the upcoming month.

3. A human touch

I love the fact that Monzo have a ‘head of financial difficulties’ who is helping the bank design products for those struggling with finances, either because of constrained budgets or mental health issues. In one instance this means building in functionality that adds ‘positive friction’ for those whose mental health problems lead them to spend impulsively or too much.

It’s customer-centricity in a nutshell - a bank that makes it harder for you to spend money because it’s better for you and commercial considerations can’t out-trump the sheer ‘right-ness’ of it

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