OpinionPOSTED March 3, 2016

The death of tech “surprise and delight”

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apps

“There’s an app for that” has meant it’s incredibly hard to both surprise and delight anyone familiar with technology.

As individuals get more immersed into its possibilities, expectations rise to the point where we believe apps – or really any technology – can solve pretty much anything we imagine, from tracking our bodies to offering help with our finances.

The Gartner Hype Cycle shows us the five phases of technology’s life cycle from its introduction to a peak of inflated expectations, followed by downward momentum to a trough of disillusionment – once the technology doesn’t live up to expectations.

Gartner

So if there’s any surprise, it’s that we’re surprised it doesn’t do that thing we wanted it to.

Not all technology follows this whole cycle, but if a brand is lucky, they may be able to navigate back up the slope of enlightenment to a healthy plateau of productivity. So while “positive surprise” is increasingly elusive, there’s still the possibility to delight.

“Delight” is now apparently a Silicon Valley buzzword. Companies like Apple did it with iTunes and Uber did it with cabs.

But delight is a high bar to reach given our ever-growing expectations (especially with the death of its long-time companion of surprise).

Within the financial services space, some see the introduction of fintech disruptors as threats or, the more forward-looking see them as an opportunities. My bet is on the latter.

The reality is that we tend to have a rather sticky relationship with our financial providers. This often has to do with the potential domino-effect of changing providers, like managing direct withdrawals for bill payments if you change bank accounts.

In a Canadian Google Consumer Surveys poll, APEX Public Relations found that just over half (53.8 per cent) of respondents said they were either unlikely or extremely unlikely to switch financial providers with the growing popularity of shiny new entrants in the market.

That stickiness means that for those wading in as new entrants into the fintech space, the journey is a much more volatile one compared to other industries where consumers may be much more likely to change things up.

More interestingly however, 12.4 per cent of Canadians said they were neutral to a change in financial services providers and almost a quarter (22.3 per cent) said they didn’t know. Essentially just over a third of Canadians right now maybe would consider a move if the right opportunity presented itself. But that’s just maybe.

The consumer stickiness within the financial space contrasted against the journey new tech providers take in their own “hype cycle” means new fintech entrants have the odds stacked against them.

Because surprise has been eliminated from the financial services customer relationship equation, this technological life cycle presents a sweet spot of opportunity for legacy financial services institutions to partner with new providers.

It’s essentially a way to minimize risk from both the technological and consumer perspectives.

The question then for all those within the fintech space is “who should be our partner to deliver on delight?”

Diane Bégin is an account director at APEX PR. Follow her on Twitter. Does your brand need a strategy? Drop us a line.