Klarna at Money 20/20: Banks are obsessed with themselves

By Michael Hocking | 6 June 2018

In a presentation entitled ‘Banking on the CX factor’, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski spoke to a packed crowd under The Big Top at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, today, taking the opportunity to open fire on the banks.

The audience heard insight from Klarna on customer experience, including the fact that, according to the Happiness Index, consumers are more stressed and unhappy than ever before.

The reason for this, Siemiatkowski argued, is that the internet, mobile and new tech has fragmented the customer experience, creating a series of “micro tasks”, instead of creating a unified customer experience.

“We’ve gone from being homo sapiens to homo taskiens”, Siemiatkowski said.

“The whole internet has created a series of microtasks. Instead of companies helping me to do things, I’m worrying about administrating all of these things myself.”

The answer, Siemiatkowski claimed, is a buying assistant.

“We believe that the superpower that people really want is the ability to be in two places at once- have someone else solve all those micro tasks so, the customer can focus on things that matter to them.”

“We arrive at the age of assistants.”

While Siemiatkowski was optimistic about the age of assistants, he was less positive about the role of banks and tech giants in the new climate. The reason being that they are selfish in their attitude to customer data.

“In this world, who’s going to win? We believe it’s the people providing open platforms that really act as assistants,” he said, citing WeChat and Alipay as good examples of that attitude.

“Who will lose out? Banks have been obsessing more about themselves than their customers – with PSD2 this is going to shift, because consumers aren’t locked in to their banks anymore.”

“Even the tech giants – Facebook employs thousands of engineers to use our data, to get your attention, to sell you things – how is that helping?”

At the close of the presentation, Siemiatkowski was quizzed by chair Lousia Boejen about Klarna’s growth, and the potential of an IPO.

“You’re one of the biggest fintechs in Europe,” Boejen said. “Is an IPO on the cards?”

“In what way would that help me create value for my customers?”, Siemiatkowski replied.

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