According to Forrester Research, to understand how to make financial institutions relevant in an increasingly digital world, we must first understand the environment we are operating in.
This environment has changed consumer expectations. As outlined in part two of this series, we’re in the “Age of the Customer,” an era in which businesses must reinvent themselves to understand and serve today’s increasingly empowered consumers.
But before we look at the present and predict the future, let’s go back in time.
Before the Age of the Customer, there were other periods of change for businesses. Each time, businesses had to shift their thinking, business models and strategies to lure potential consumers.
Forrester breaks them into four stages:
The 1900s – The Age of Manufacturing
- Businesses that manufactured found the most success. For Diebold, it was the manufacturing of safes and other security measures.
The 1960s – The Age of Distribution
- Whoever had the largest physical footprint was able to deliver to consumers faster – and generate the most success.
The 1990s – The Age of Information
- The most successful businesses were those connected to PCs and supply chains – the ones that could control the flow of information.
The 2010s – The Age of the Customer
- Those who are willing to empower buyers are the ones who will garner the most success and customer loyalty.
As consumer expectations change in this 20- to 30-year cycle, financial institutions must find a way to fit their solutions into the lifestyles of these consumers.
Alyson Clarke, principal analyst at Forrester Research, goes into detail about these ages and how reinvention is imperative in today’s age of consumer-controlled business: