We used to issue awards once a year like many other publications and events, and then one day during a retrospective meeting one of us asked this question: “Why is it once a year?”
The group of us replied, “Well, it’s a lot of work and, everyone does it once a year.”
“But why?” persisted our colleague. We have long played ‘Devil’s Advocate’ with each other and especially with our clients because it requires and encourages critical, innovative thinking, so we most definitely indulged our colleague.
We didn’t have a good response to her question. So we changed things around that month – and the result are the Global Banking Monitor (Continuous) Awards delivered on a monthly basis.
Here’s how we do it
Our analysts are continually reviewing the end customer services of almost every bank in almost every jurisdiction. We use an array of best-in-class of publicly available monitoring and analytical tools. Plus, we have built our own proprietary technologies to complete our infrastructure stack.
We make use of a lot of cloud infrastructure.
Principally we make use of ‘firehose-style’ API services from a variety of providers to collate almost every single news article, blog post and social media comment from every provider around the world. This data – and we mean almost everything (data, metadata, the whole thing) goes into our own purpose-built data lake which our analysts use to get a highly accurate picture on market sentiment, satisfaction and performance of the target institutions. We are capturing a lot of different languages just so we have the archive data, but right now we focus on English. This will change soon. That said, many of our third-party tools offer language support natively so, for example, we regularly monitor the app store feedback of many banks in the Middle East in Arabic and English.
Deciding when an award is issued
Our analysts are pro-award. That is, we do consciously look for opportunities to issue awards. We recognise that this is the polar opposite to the prevailing wisdom – and that’s not to say that we are throwing awards around all over the place. Far from it. But, if we see a great new digital feature introduced by a bank (for example) and if we believe it has been done well – and if the result is an elevated experience for customers, then we’re more likely to move our mouse cursor to the metaphorical ‘award’ button!
How we issue an award
There’s a lot of work that goes into our award issuing process, so our analysts don’t do this lightly. We have a lot of proprietary processes so we don’t go into detail, but we will give this high level overview:
- Our analysts are continually observing the activities of banks (and related financial institutions) from the point of view of end-user digital services, attitudes and approaches. This includes (but is not limited to) a wide variety of publicly available (but difficult to access) resources including app store reviews, customer commentary on social media and other public sources such as news, other analyst reports, annual reports and press releases.
- When our analyst determines an award is appropriate, they create a 250 word pitch to our Awards Committee which meets weekly.
- The pitch is presented by the analyst along with supporting external and proprietary data as appropriate. The analyst is challenged verbally by the committee to test conviction and relevance. The committee also reviews any prior awards that may have been made to reach a balanced viewpoint.
- If approved, the analyst then extends the original 250-word pitch into a 400-word brief explaining our thinking and detailing the nature of the award, along with a summary title.
- This brief is published here on Global Banking Monitor in our Awards section. Our graphic designers will generally create a customised photo-realistic award design to accompany the post. Where relevant and if at all possible we’ll include a screenshot or similar. Sometimes this just isn’t possible for a variety of reasons (e.g. we don’t have access to the app or service directly as we’re not a customer).
- We reach out to the institution to inform them of their award. If we can, we’ll often try and find the senior executive responsible for the service (e.g. Digital Banking) and reach out to them directly on LinkedIn to congratulate them. Sometimes that isn’t possible because we can’t find the right person so we’ll often send a note to either the Marketing, Investor Relations or generic ‘info-at’ email address.
Do I have to pay for awards?
No. Our awards are freely given. No fees are required or expected. Some institutions occasionally like to buy a physical award to display in their offices and there is obviously a cost for engraving and delivery. The revenue we do make from the sale of the physical awards helps contribute to keeping the lights on here, but for clarity, the whole ‘dotcom’ service is a cost to our business and something we are happy to pay for via our professional services revenues. Do read more about our philosophy in our Awards Manifesto (link below).
Can I request an award?
Yes, you can drop us a note and tell us about a new feature of service that you’re particularly proud of. This is very helpful especially if you’re able to provide additional supporting evidence. Although we have got access to a significant amount of publicly available data, it’s seriously compelling if you’re able to back-up a claim with your own data (e.g. “We’ve seen a 60% increase in customer logins as a result of…”)
If our analysts agree – and subject to the process outlined above – then we can issue an award.
How do I request an award?
Through email dialogue initially, then if we find merit in your proposal, we’ll kick off the process above. Email our group mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org and your mail will automatically be assigned to one of our analyst team. We’ll reply as soon as we can during business hours.
If you’d like to know more about the thinking behind our awards strategy, we’ve published an Awards Manifesto that you might like to read.