We're all adopters now

By Andy Lack, January 2020

So, towards the end of last year I was speaking at the MRS Financial Services Conference and there’s no humble way of saying this – I thought it was one of the most interesting FS Conferences I’ve been to! I’ll leave it to others to decide how much our paper (a joint presentation by Jigsaw and RBS) added to the overall learning on the day, but I certainly came away with my thoughts having been provoked on more than one occasion.

The papers were very wide ranging, covering everything from AI and chatbots, through to building financial capability and the very real issue of access to cash. At these kinds of events, it is always very tempting to gravitate towards the papers that showcase innovation, whether that be new and future trends in financial services, innovative research methods or simply a new and different way of looking at an age old issue. All of these things were present at this year’s conference, but for me just as interesting were the papers looking at knotty financial issues which research may or may not have the answer to (yet), but which highlight how interesting financial services is when it comes into contact with real people.

The paper covering access to cash was fascinating, giving an insight into the vital role cash still plays for millions of people, from providing control of their finances through to simply being able to function in the society in which they live. The paper on financial capability touched on similar themes, and this brought me back to thinking about our own paper – looking at adoption of the RBS mobile banking app through the lens of the adoption curve.

Our contention was that if you want your service channel to be embraced by large numbers of your customers, and for them to be happy about it, you need to create different adoption strategies for each group in the adoption curve. This might seem obvious, but we think it’s different in the financial sector than it is in the tech sector. Money is, for all of us, integral to the way we live but, for most of us, it’s not that interesting and is just a means to an end. So if you introduce new tech in the financial sector, and you want mass adoption, you need to consider all the adoption curve groups at the outset, and tailor your strategy to each, rather than simply aim at the early adopters and wait for everyone else to cotton on to the benefits of your new idea.

So, while the world slowly heads inexorably into a world of AI and chatbots, we need to think now about how this technology could benefit the later adopters, not simply wait for them to ‘catch up’. In financial services, that approach is likely to lead to a bunch of disgruntled consumers very quickly.

For more information, contact Andy here.

For more information, contact Andy