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Why Grumpy Cat Hates Your New Checking Account Line Up!

March 7, 2013 - in case you don’t know who/what Grumpy Cat is. If you don’t, I feel bad for you. – in case you don’t know who/what Grumpy Cat is. If you don’t, I feel bad for you.

Recently I participated in an excellent seminar by two serial entrepreneurs in Jonathan Fields and Charlie Gilkey. One of the exercises was designed to get into your customer’s head. “Everything starts from there when it comes to product creation,” they said. In their model (described below) you define your business/personal mission and then analyze your customer along five questions to create or validate your product offering.

Unfortunately, many tech companies get this wrong because they get excited about new technology without validating that this new tech/product satisfies a customer’s needs or pain points or, better yet, delights the customer. The same is true of many bankers.

The regulatory environment has many financial institutions reworking their checking account line ups in the hopes of recapturing lost revenue. Lost revenue is creating product changes, which is a lot like saying that our mission is to make lots of money so we’re going to revamp our products without regard to our customer’s needs. Actually, it’s just like saying that.

When we make product changes by only looking at lost revenue, we’re adding in obstacles that are designed solely to create fees. Or we interview vendors that are selling account packages that they say “consumers want and are willing to pay for.” Personally I’ve not seen these rewards accounts work long term, but do believe that they fall short of meeting a customer’s larger needs when your decision to employ them stems from your main desire to recoup lost revenue.

What does a customer first product revamp look like? Fields and Gilkey would argue it looks like this analysis process:

  1. What does your customer want?
  2. What are their felt needs? (what do they say they need)
  3. What are their actual needs? (what do they really need)
  4. What are their aspirations?
  5. What obstacles are in their way?

So what does Grumpy Cat have to do with this?

Think of your customers and prospects as Grumpy Cats. They know what they want. They know what they like. Grumpy Cat does not care about your lost revenue. Grumpy Cat cares about getting fed, having a warm bed, and a clean ass.

If you do not consider your end users needs, Grumpy Cat will not buy. More likely, you will also design a product that no customer wants.

I like eStatements as much as I like the dog...which is not very much.

I like eStatements as much as I like the dog…which is not very much.

Am I saying that your bank needs to bow to the whims of a customer like a cat owner? No, this is just a fun metaphor. The cat owners out there will know that it’s impossible to please a cat, even a happy one.

But, if your product redesign stemmed from anything but a customer-first needs assessment, then yes, you should fall victim to the Internet’s greatest meme.

Grumpy Cat 3

5 Comments leave one →
  1. David Kreiman permalink
    March 8, 2013 12:36 pm

    Thank you for writing this. No further message other than thank you. Came at a very good time.


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