Outdated banking customer service is still here

outdated-banking-customer-service-is-here

Claudio Munoz, on Economist – reforms on Indian finance systems

Outdated banking customer service is here. I remembered today, leaving the bank, Bill Gates who early as 1994, made the provocative and still controversially discussed statement that in the future, banking would be needed, but banks themselves would not.

Outdated banking customer service is here

Outdated banking customer service is here? Here’s a short story today at the bank. I needed a reference letter to use in my business. All of my banking customer ID proofs at hand. “Good morning sir, please wait in the line”. I waited 12 minutes, just to get instructions who’s desk should I go to. Customer info? Ticket service? No!

At the desk, I’ve described my petition and the following dialogue went on (a masterpiece of customer service script):

  • B: We can’t help you, sir (not eyeing the customer)
  • Me: Why?
  • B: We can’t give you this letter (continues bit bored)
  • Me: What should I do?
  • B: You should go to the branch you’ve opened your account initially
  • Me: Sorry, but don’t you have access to my customer profile?
  • B: Yes, but we don’t see payment discrepancies if any; only they can
  • Me: So, I need to drive to Chalandri (n: 1-hour drive) to get this?
  • B: Yes! Unless you wish to submit an application to us, and we send it to them (fake smile as if she has given me a solution)

It’s funny, they say they invest in #fintech

So, you drive, you wait in line, they don’t give their best self for service, but you can write and submit an application, which will be scanned, copied, enveloped, delivered via courier within 2 days, to get a callback, say again to the calling employee why/when/what, and hopefully you’ll get it by email…unless you drive 1-hour to pick it up yourself.

My short story is the broken brand promise of a bank (EUROBANK) that launched first a credit cards’ loyalty app. It’s a contradictory perception to their m-banking investments.

They try to shape-up at their own pace, on their own service understanding (which is obviously average). I’ve worked for 6 banks and their communications and although they’ve claimed every time to be customer-centric, they aren’t.

They know they will be losing customer traffic, loyalty, profits from the fintech and mobile payments segments, but they don’t try to safeguard the relationship.

Queues or all services on-the-go?

The leading banks and their best cases show that digital services secure maximum Customer service and satisfaction:

  • Extended advice and customized information delivery. Banks create transparency and brand ambassadors
  • All templates offered on-the-go. Maximize time-poor customers’ satisfaction
  • Analyzing financial transactions and customer data, individual preferences. Banks then provide customers with personalized offers/promotions
  • Predictions of Customer Behavior. Best cases in A.I. predict customer churn and volumes for the next 4 months

Stimuli to discuss and share

Bank of America

Bank of America is perceived for convenience and good customer service. Besides its 4,700 retail financial centers across the U.S the bank has gone a step further in its customer service strategy and now offers customers in-person education about the bank’s mobile banking tools (inspired by Apple’s Genius Bar). More than 3,000 digital ambassadors stationed at various branches to educate customers on how to take advantage of the bank’s online and mobile banking services.

(source: gobankingrates.com)

Ally Bank

Round-the-clock service is one of Ally Bank’s standout customer service features. The online bank makes sure people can get in touch with customer service representatives through online chat and by phone in real time, as well as email on a 24h basis. Customers not only appreciate the availability of the customer service of one of the best online banks; they also appreciate the swiftness with which their calls were answered.

It really takes less than two minutes to be speaking with a real person and you never have to be transferred from person to person.

(source: Bank review)

Länsförsäkringar AB

The banking arm of Länsförsäkringar AB is the fifth largest bank in Sweden; it also has a strong local presence through its 23 customer-owned regional insurance companies. The challenge was to provide customers with the digital services they want from a modern bank.

They transferred the whole banking services onto mobile banking app – so that customers can do virtually all their banking on the go – and built an ongoing strategic relationship with the bank. The app was recognized as Best App and Best service design and People’s choice consecutively in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016.

(source: Forbes)

At its core, banking is not simply about profit, but about personal relationships. First deliver your Visions and money will follow. Do banks implement this core business principle?

Banking bureaucrats?

They must understand the needs of the (end) customer. In the context of digitalization, ALL direct points of contact between the IT/organization and the Customer arise in top-importance and must be activated.

The banking IT department needs to develop a Customer journey understanding, so as to provide optimal and customized solutions promptly. This also requires a stronger cooperation inside the bank functions.

Survival of the fittest

Customer experience (CX) innovation is no longer a luxury, with 89% of service companies expecting to compete mostly through CX (Source: Gartner). However, despite an urgent need for action in terms of digitalization, a parallel priority should be given to the empowerment and recruitment of staff with unique Customer empathy and appropriate skills.

Lose a Customer: negative WoM intensifies

The digital banking business model (access, support, bots etc) requires specialized skills in dealing with relevant and often new technologies, and how to treat demanding or (new-habits’) customers. Read more on this topic from Capgemini bank-specific POV for “banks need a Chief Data Officer”

I’m not a premier Customer in value and volume for EUROBANK, but I will leave the bank forever. They haven’t looked in the bloody PC to see my LIfetime value (I’ve brought them a salary account of 250 people, I’ve repaid them 2 loans by the last cent, etc). Now I’m writing these lines and I will share the story with friends and peers.

Every business has challenges, but it can’t survive if the brand promise on Customer-first is betrayed

Customer-first is the main driving force, that pushes the banking industry to transform and the only KPI to watch.

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