I caught up with a couple of ex-Telecom guys on Friday for a beer. They are both at Kiwibank now and we got talking about the differences in both companies.
The most interesting story that came out was about Kiwibank's mobile banking application which was released for iPhone after 4 weeks of development and recently won a TUANZ award. It's now available for most major mobile platforms.
Apart from a number of internal things that Kiwibank do differently (easy access to decision makers and lightweight funding and development processes) the biggest difference in their mind was the impact that having a very positive reputation meant. Effectively they could get 80% of the proposition right and people (market observers and customers) talked primarily about that as opposed to the 20% that they got wrong. In their Telecom experience there was no way that would occur - all you would heard about was the 20% that was wrong.
Practically that meant that Kiwibank could
1. Take 3 weeks to develop a basic iPhone app
2. Take on board customer feedback, promise to change it and update it
3. Extend it to other platforms (Windows Mobile, Symbian and WAP)
instead of having to take a punt and do it all in one go.
Kiwibank's reputation means that they are permitted to get things out there that aren't spot-on *and* are trusted to put it right. My guess is that reputation would probably have saved them $100k on this development alone. Add that up across everything and you can see why they are making big in-roads.
Pretty simple lesson - strive to build a reputation that you can be proud of and the opportunities (and rewards) follow.