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What Are Bank Accounts Hired to Do?


Bank Case ManagementWhy do people sign up for bank accounts? This seems like a very basic question, but when one digs deeper into the basic human needs of the customer, one can gain insight. By understanding these real needs, managers in the banking industry can rationalize whether or not their current offerings are adequate and can make decisions on how to augment or create new offerings in innovative ways to deliver value.

Using the Jobs to be Done theory, architected by Bob Moesta from The Re-Wired Group and popularized by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, one can analyze the true "jobs" for which the products or services are "hired". By taking this perspective, one can drive down to the core of human need by repeatedly asking "why". This technique is tremendously useful because it exposes the true motivation behind customer behavior. Here are a couple of examples.

Security and Convenience

Most people open bank accounts to store their hard-earned money because of their basic human need to feel secure. At our core, humans want to feel safe and banks have offered that, especially since the inception of the FDIC. Keeping money at the bank is far more secure than keeping money under a mattress or in a jar on top of the refrigerator.

In addition to security, people open bank accounts because of convenience. With a significant amount of transactions happening electronically, it becomes much more convenient to have a bank account and transact using a debit card or through electronic funds transfer. With convenience, banks save its customers time and reduce complexity--both basic human needs.

When these jobs to be done are understood--offering customers security, saving them time and reducing complexity--managers can analyze whether or not they are fulfilling this job and reasons that support this. This information is invaluable in determining whether or not a customer will be retained or whether or not a customer will recommend the bank to his or her friends, relatives or coworkers.

In addition to understanding whether or not a bank does these jobs adequately, managers are able to analyze whether additional products or services can be offered to help do the job better or more fully. For instance, over the last several years, banks have started to offer fraud detection and protection services for its customers, playing into the need for security, and mobile check scanning services, adding to the need for convenience.


Although this might sound like marketing-speak, banks also perform the job of giving freedom to its customers. When small business owners take out loans, they are hiring banks and their capital to fund business activities, which (hopefully) lead to profits and financial freedom.

How can managers expand on their customers' basic need for freedom? With the cloud and mobile technology, banks can offer the majority if not all of their services virtually across all types of media (e.g., phone, email, web, mobile app, etc.), giving the customer the freedom to interact with the bank however the customer chooses, wherever the customer wants.

Understand the Job to be Done in Order to Innovate

By understanding the job to be done and the basic human needs of the customer, managers can craft experiences that resonate with the customer. In addition, using this approach gives managers tools to cut through convention and provide novel and innovative ways to deliver value.

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