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Having talked last time about meeting customer expectations, I just had to share my recent experience in the bank…
Like many people I’ve banked with the same company for years. Despite reassurances it’s easy to change, most of us are just too apathetic to move. It feels like too much trouble.
And yet, many of us also share disappointing customer experiences about those companies we trust with one of our most precious commodities – our money.
Like many banks across the UK the local branch of my bank have had the “wonderful idea” of removing most of the counters and replacing them with cashpoints and rapid deposit machines. There are a couple of counters but they are hidden at the back of the branch.
In an effort to be hip and trendy, branch staff have now moved from smart business attire to bank branded t-shirts too – but that’s probably a thought for another day.
When I got to the counter queue there were six people in front of me. The person directly in front of me was clearly fed up and shaking their head, and eventually gave up and left. There was one person serving, despite someone wondering around with a clipboard talking to people.
Eventually, she came up to me (I was the last person in the queue) to ask if I needed to be in the queue or she could help. I explained that I was waiting for some currency. I did then query why there was only one person serving, only to be told she could see two – my mistake, the second person had been elsewhere up until this moment! I am not convinced that this was the ideal way to respond to a customer.
She then impressed me still further by saying I could get dollars next door at the post office! I am sure the bank would be delighted to hear that.
When I did get to the counter, there was some confusion about where the money was, but eventually I got my dollars. When I asked about the exchange rate, I was told they didn’t advertise it in the branch any more because it changed every day. I am pretty sure it’s always done that!
As I walked away, questioning in my head just why I remained loyal to them, I had to smile. On the wall was a history of the branch. Apparently, late last year they had received a refurbishment and changed the layout of the branch to make it more customer focused! Hmmm, I think they might need to rethink that.
It feels far more like this was more cost effective for the bank, and that’s the issue.
First and foremost, because I don’t want you to second guess what your customers want. (I’m pretty sure the bank customers wouldn’t have voted for the change in layout.) So, talk to your customers. Or, even better, get outside help from a company who specialises in getting customers to open up and give the unvarnished truth.
But I also want you to look at your current practices…
Tie this information with the research and feedback from your customers, and you have some incredibly powerful data to make real and effective change.
And believe me, having a truly customer focused business is always a winner!