Daily failures in customer management cost banks millions


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Too many banks have spent big $$s on customer experience but still fail to deliver good results. Why? Here’s a personal story to give some answers…

I need to move some money internationally, and a moderately large amount. So on Friday I made enquiries of a few companies including my bank, about transferring the funds. Here’s what happened, and the lessons I can draw from the experience… (Every ! indicates a poor experience or surprise):

  • I moved the quite large chunk of money into a current account mid last week, ready to shift it offshore. I did wonder if that would trigger a call from the bank, but no. (!)
  • Then on Friday, I started by trying to transact online, but the amount was over a certain threshold so I couldn’t continue and was told to call the international exchange team. Fair enough.
  • Calling them, I was informed that I couldn’t transact because I wasn’t a telephone banking customer, and would have to register first (!). They couldn’t do this (!) so I was transferred to be registered by another team. 10 minutes later I was registered. But they couldn’t transfer me back to the international team, (!) so I had to ring again.
  • Only on this second call did the international team tell me that they couldn’t transfer the amount I needed to move (!), and I could only do it at a branch (!).
  • I don’t have a usual branch, so I went back online to find a number. All the branches are listed, but the phone numbers are just the standard 13xxxx call centre number, so I dialled again and 5 minutes later was given the direct number of a local branch (! So why isn’t it on the website?).
  • Calling the branch I had to leave a message (!).
  • I also completed an online complaints / feedback form, to describe that I’d just spent 30-40 minutes getting no-where and would be taking my business elsewhere. Of course I haven’t heard back, 4 working days later (!)

In all, that’s 9 times where I was negatively surprised or disappointed. And yet I know the bank understands customer experience principles, and has sophisticated systems and processes. So what’s going wrong?

  1. Banks have the ability to spot sudden changes in funding levels and create a CRM trigger for someone to act. But it didn’t happen – the bank has invested the money to create a sophisticated IT system that is not being used.
  2. Call centre skills and capabilities clearly leave something to be desired. The staff themselves are generally fine, but they lack either the tools, the ability to transfer, or the training to ask the right questions in the right order.
  3. Online design – like most banks, this site is mostly fine. But not having branch phone numbers, thus forcing callers back to a central call centre who give them the number anyway?!
  4. A complaints system exists, but operates with a >48 hour turnaround, meaning that customers or opportunities may well be lost, as I was.

The point I’m making? The bank has already invested the big $s to achieve a good customer experience. But the supporting management processes, KPIs, focus, and a few little tools are still letting them down. The result – 30-40 minutes of my time wasted, 20 minutes of their call centre time wasted, and a transaction I’ve taken to an online competitor. Multiply my experience by their many million customers and you can see how much big companies could save or grow just by looking after their existing customers better.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Severn
Co Founder and Director of The Customer Experience Company. Expert in Customer strategy, and delivery of customer improvements in service, sales and marketing, and across online, call centres and retail channels.


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