5 Lessons Financial Institutions Can Learn From the Xbox One

The brief story of the life of the Xbox One so far reads like a cautionary tale of marketing misadventure. Unconfirmed information, customer backlash, and a complete overhaul of plans have already plagued Microsoft since the new system’s unveiling on May 21. While this sort of thing is nothing new, as we learned from both Netflix and Bank of America in recent years, it still presents an interesting lesson in a world with an increasingly empowered and critical consumer.

As banks and credit unions navigate a rapidly changing consumer landscape, stories such as the early life of the Xbox One are excellent examples to which you can compare your own messaging, brand, and culture. Learn by the example of others, pure and simple. With that said, what follows is a list of 5 important core lessons financial institutions can learn from Microsoft’s handling of the Xbox One.

1.    Be transparent with your customers

If you’re going to do something as radical as shake up the traditional way customers use (and own) their purchased products, you need to be as clear and up front about this as possible. Current consumers are wearier of marketing and sales than ever before, and if something smells foul to them, they’re going to react in a critical way. When speculation spread about the prevention of used game sales, sharing, and rentals with the Xbox One, Microsoft was silent for quite some time before company representatives started to confirm this. Then in mid-June, Microsoft issued a statement that made changes to this plan, effectively reversing this aspect of the Xbox One’s games.

It’s in human nature to fear change. Yet, change is inevitable and often goes hand-in-hand with progress. By opening communication and sending a clear message of the value of customer feedback, the backlash from fear and uncertainty can be lessened. A large part of Microsoft’s problem here was that long-time Microsoft fans and consumers felt that they were being tricked out of the way they have always enjoyed gaming and Microsoft was not being clear with their intentions in any way. Just think how detrimental this can be with banking fee structures or delivery channel repositioning. Tell your customers why you are doing what you are doing from day 1, if possible.

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