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Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: 2020
Version: 28 February 2020
Revision date: 16-Mar-2020
Length: 27 pages
Data source: Published sources

Abstract

In August 2017, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was looking for ways to differentiate itself from competing banks, and was also trying to improve the financial wellbeing of its customers. One domain where this was particularly relevant was in its bank-issued credit card business, where customers routinely selected cards that although profitable for the bank could be a poor fit for customers' needs - leading to low satisfaction scores, cancellations, and occasionally, financial distress. To that end, the company's Behavioral Economics team had developed a provocative experiment dubbed 'The Good and the Bad.' Rather than just presenting the strengths of its various credit card offerings, they proposed also promoting each credit card's less-obvious drawbacks. Being transparent with customers might help them make better choices, but would those choices come at the expense of bank performance? Should a company choose to be in the sales prevention business?
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Abstract

In August 2017, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was looking for ways to differentiate itself from competing banks, and was also trying to improve the financial wellbeing of its customers. One domain where this was particularly relevant was in its bank-issued credit card business, where customers routinely selected cards that although profitable for the bank could be a poor fit for customers' needs - leading to low satisfaction scores, cancellations, and occasionally, financial distress. To that end, the company's Behavioral Economics team had developed a provocative experiment dubbed 'The Good and the Bad.' Rather than just presenting the strengths of its various credit card offerings, they proposed also promoting each credit card's less-obvious drawbacks. Being transparent with customers might help them make better choices, but would those choices come at the expense of bank performance? Should a company choose to be in the sales prevention business?

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