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When I find a new platform, I always look at it as a potential customer, and if possible, I test it, or I imagine the customer journey from the description that is made; nothing can be more instructive! Then I start analyzing the whys and hows, identifying the strengths, weaknesses, potential roadmap, competitors (who are more and more often where you don’t expect them to be), etc. Then I see if the theory validates what I have observed. In short, I play Sherlock Holmes.

And that day on the TGV, while reading some articles, I came across an announcement from LCL about a platform for young people: “LCL Mon Campus”. I have a teenage kid , so I have two reasons to look into the topic…

An easier orientation and installation process?

I type in the Google search bar “LCL mon campus”, and I am redirected to the LCL website, under the student offers. That gets me thinking, I wonder why I am not directed to a dedicated website or to an application to download since I am told that there is a platform? Well, I’ll probably find the access to the platform itself on the website… I keep going, and indeed, it’s a web page. I’m starting to wonder where the platform model is, but I’m interested as a potential customer so I read on…

The first line of the page asks me to contact an LCL advisor, which makes me feel a bit cold: I’m ready to open an account if the service is worth it, but on the other hand I don’t feel like talking to a bank salesman at all.

 

I continue: it’s great, it starts with the orientation: I’m offered 3 solutions in the form of links to what looks like start-ups.

Next point: “I have my first apartment”, again 3 links, sometimes to start-ups, sometimes to a button to call my LCL advisor. Ouch. Then, the topic “I insure my travels” with the driver license, the insurance. Then, “I manage my daily life”, “I save money for my projects”, “I go to study abroad”.

As for identifying the stages of the journey, nothing to say, it is well done, interesting and relevant. I can see myself using it.

Next step, action: I go back to the top of the page on orientation: eventually, it is what I am here for. The rest will come later; but if a platform takes care of all these topics for my teenage kid and I can have a role to play, that’s great, I’m ready to subscribe (depending on the cost) and to open this account that LCL probably wants me to open.

So I click on the first link: “Hello Charly”. And indeed, I get to a start-up website, and I begin reading through the offer. Yes, I’m interested!

But then what is the next step for me, the customer?

Option 1: I go back to the LCL website, and there they tell me I have to call an advisor. Again, no, I still don’t want to talk to a salesman from the bank. I just want to find the application, register and start my journey.

Option 2: as I don’t need the other steps today, I go back directly to “Hello Charly”. The LCL website advertised a free access to the Hello Charly chatbot, but frankly, if this requires to talk to an advisor first, I’m not interested. Especially since, at first sight, I still have access to the chatbot.

Interrupting the journey

And at this point, I switch to professional mode.

What a shame…

I’m told there’s a platform, a youth campus, with a whole bunch of steps, and I’m left with a list of links. And if I analyze my journey, I realize that LCL has probably spent a lot of resources to set up this program, identify start-ups, choose them, set up partnerships, communicate, and created value, since my interest was aroused to the point that I took action. So much value that I will even open a “Hello Charly” account. But sadly, LCL will not capture the value created on my journey: they will not know if I have made a transaction or not, I will not have opened an account with them, I may not come back to their site for the following offers, they will not be able to get any commission from Hello Charly since I will sign up directly. At best, my clicks on the web page will have contributed to an increase in visits to this page.

What a shame…. The journey is well identified, it is attractive, it even goes as far as generating an action from the customer; but I am dubious about the value that LCL will get from it, compared to the immense potential that a platform model would have represented here.

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This little experiment illustrates one of the key issues of platform models: value management. In these ecosystem models, the one who creates the value is not necessarily the one who delivers it to the customer, and not necessarily the one who captures it either. It is therefore essential to ask these questions upstream: what is my new value chain, who creates the value, who delivers it to the customer, and who captures it; what about monetization? What kind of governance should I put in place? What control points should be applied to get to know the customer better, to follow him along his journey, and what mechanisms should be used to retain him? How to orchestrate the customer journey in order to share the value created? These are all subjects to be worked on from the start, during the design of the platform.

 

As Stefan Michel said in the April-May 2015 Harvard Business Review, “Companies spend far more time, money and effort innovating to create value than innovating to capture value.”

Click here to read the Gartner’s intelligent digital mesh. 

© photos: LCL

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