Fifteen years ago, Capital One found itself at an organizational crossroads. The financial services company had done something vital – and extremely well – since its launch in 1994: giving people access to credit through a suite of credit cards. But even as their number of card users grew, company executives realized that becoming a true financial partner with their customers would require more than just providing credit. They wanted to become a one-stop shop for customers to save and manage their money. And to do that, they should bring the strategies and philosophies that have made them a resounding success in the credit card market.
“Innovation is very much in Capital One’s DNA,” said Lia Dean, president of Capital One’s premium card and retail banking products. “We were founded on innovation and built on the idea that banking could be revolutionized by information and technology.”
THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION IS COMING REAL
As Dean and Capital One prepared to revamp the crowded and competitive retail banking market, it realized that using its proven technology platform in combination with its award-winning customer service record could be the recipe for success. “Technology is a way to fulfill our mission to bring more humanity to banking,” she says. This means that everything from paying bills to depositing checks is part of a streamlined process so customers can spend less time on financial tasks and more time doing the things that matter. “We looked at the banking world and said to ourselves, ‘This is going to be totally transformed, from top to bottom, by technology.’ So we started building on our strong banking foundation to operate more like a software business.”
Capital One’s forward-looking perspective has resulted in massive gains over the past 15 years: it has found that smartphones were going to be transformative devices and set out to create solutions for mobile clients. He built an in-house software engineering team that rivals that of many tech giants to develop and scale technology solutions for a growing customer base. And, most importantly, he realized that while cutting-edge technology and simplified customer experiences on web and mobile were great, many people still wanted that human connection when it came to their big financial decisions. . Enter the Capital One Café.
CAPPUCCINO WITH A SUPPORT OF FINANCIAL ADVICE
Dean knew there were limits to what technology could do for Capital One customers. “People find money very stressful, and we’ve found that it doesn’t matter how much money you have,” she says. Capital One research has shown that the pressure people feel about financial decisions is equal across the socio-economic spectrum, and providing a physical space free of expectations or hassles could help ease some of that tension. It is at this intersection of innovation and customer obsession that the Capital One Café concept was born. “We saw an opportunity to complement a great digital experience with in-person help when you really need it. Customers can kick back, sit on a couch with a cup of coffee, and talk to a motivated associate to help them out. . »
There are now nearly 50 Capital One Cafés across the country, and that number is expected to grow in 2022. But the concept was also indicative of a broader strategy for Capital One, as they use their technology foundations to create experiences more human. The bank is leaning heavily into the travel space, launching the Capital One Travel booking experience and recently launched its first premium credit card with travel rewards, the Venture X card. This follows on from build your first airport loungea luxurious and welcoming space in Dallas-Fort Worth International soon to be followed by locations in Denver and Washington, DC airports
“Travel is something our customers dream of, but it may not live up to your dreams when navigating the airport or figuring out the best time to buy a ticket,” says Dean. “We wanted to find creative ways to take some of the stress out of travel so customers could get more out of the experience.” The Capital One and Capital One Travel lounges have been designed to alleviate specific pressure points for travellers. Small things like making sure every seat in the lounge has a power outlet or that take-out food is readily available can go a long way to making the travel process smoother, as can eliminating the guesswork when to buy expensive plane tickets.
Developing new and original ideas for clients when you’re the size of Capital One isn’t easy. But the development of human-centric concepts like Capital One Café and Capital One Lounge is the result of a deliberate focus on meeting customer desires before expanding at all costs. “If you’re obsessed only with your growth metrics, it can be difficult to maintain customer satisfaction,” says Dean. “But if you’re pretty obsessed with customer experience and have a great product, growth follows.”