A lot of my banking friends are baffled why we make such a hue and cry for all things digital, specially when it comes to banking and payments.
The simple answer is quality. Theory versus Reality.
Let me explain…
In a bank, there are various HR manuals. How to deal with clients? What client services should be all about? Dispute handling and resolution? Inbound call handling?. Customer service? In-branch customer dealing? etc.
Whilst on paper, the procedures are well defined (for auditors and the HR). It is a utopian canvas. Everything is perfect. All possible scenarios have been thought of and handled accordingly.
However, , reality is very different. The fact that such training has to be imparted to literally 10,000s of your employees in the bank. Not only do you have to impart this knowledge, they all need to score the same high grade, an “A” at the very minimum. There cannot be any differences. There cannot be any disparity of what is exercised between individuals. The overall service levels have to be very high and consistent.
This is where it all breaks down. Banks in Pakistan do not invest in high-quality training to their staff. Of the countless 100s of people I have spoken to, front-office, back-office, relationship managers, customer service representatives, etc. Almost none of them ranked quality training and deliverance high on their Top 5 things the bank needed to do. It seems, deliverance is simply not a problem. Problematic deliverance is part and parcel of the core issue.
Let me put it simply. You train 100 employees. Each and every employees scores 100% on the training. Now you put them back in the workforce. Over time, the employees will start to degrade in service. Depending on whom you will interact with, one might give you service level of 82% that day, one might do 77% one might do 61%. The main point is that each and everyone is going to give you a different degraded score.
So the overall average customer service levels have dropped.
There is no ‘consistency’ in the service delivery. None.
It simply cannot be possible. This is why there are all these complaints and issues popping up on social media on how and why a certain company treated its customers. Turns out, that ‘treatment’ is the judgment call of a single employee usually and that is where the fault lies. Disparate, ever-changing, customer service levels.
When we look at our mobile apps that we use, the majority of them being Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. you are experiencing the result of a very complex research study, development high-standards of service delivery.
We, as consumers get accustomed to these service levels. When we have to interact with local apps the experience is extremely degraded. The noticeable difference is evident, and we get irked by it.
In this day and age, we want instant acknowledgement of our complaints. We do not want to fill complex forms out and call the call-center. We do not want to wait between 5-10 business days for our issues to be resolved. We do not want to hear “your complaint is in process”. Everyone who interacts with a call center, wants their complaint to be resolved asap, with a lot of transparency, logging and without the legal speak.
I will take an example of a mobile banking app, by a local bank. It takes on average nearly 25 seconds to log in. Think about that. almost half a minute to log-in. To be able to see your budget, takes equally long. Want to do a transaction? No exceptions, same amount of delay on the app. Yet the bank celebrates the fact that they have a stellar (read: good looking) app.
Banks need to step back and look at the technology vs. human interactions they are having on various channels and figure out a way to leverage technology to fill in the gaps between perceived quality deliverance and the actuality.
More and more customers will slowly start unbundling their basic services from banks and go to independent service providers who can fulfill their requirements with customer service and satisfaction levels that customers are more used to.
It is almost comical to learn that banks spends millions on fancy infrastructure, advertisements, and polished door handles, but when it comes to the actual connect points that will interface with customers, the spend budgets are extremely low and the results are the source of disappointing experiences.
Driving exemplary digital customer experiences is a must for banks now. They need to invest heavily in the human element that will be working alongside the digital element to deliver the results that customers warrant.