People switch banks because of poor customer service, financial incentives and bank charges. Or do they? James West explains the real reason why people ditch banks now.
I’ve recently changed accountants and set up a new business. It involves a lot of admin and form-filling and being that I’m being forced into this turgid process, I thought it was the perfect time to switch banks.
Having used several banks in the past, I’ve been disappointed at how poor their offerings are. It starts with shoddy and long-winded account setup processes, and continues as I’m forced to endure a perpetually horrible banking experience.
I don’t care about service – in fact, I don’t want ‘service’ at all. And this is where IT offers a beacon of hope
But the banks themselves don’t understand why I’m frustrated and want to leave. They spend money on gimmicky incentives and tacky advertising campaigns trying to convince me that banking with them is the perfect aspirational lifestyle choice. They spend money trying to shore up their customer service operations, because they figure that a friendly, ‘on-brand’ voice will confuse me into believing that they care about me and my business. But the reality is, I couldn’t give a fig about any of this nonsense. I don’t care about service – in fact, I don’t want ‘service’ at all. And this is where IT offers a beacon of hope.
The difference between ‘experience’ and ‘service’
Customer service is a reactive business function. As customers, we’re forced to seek help from the service department when something goes wrong. Yes, the customer service facility may help us but we’re not ‘satisfied’ because we only needed it because the customer processes failed in the first place.
Customer service is needed when something goes wrong. Customer experience is about creating processes and systems which are so effective, that I have no need to contact the bank – or any other supplier.
Which brings me back to my recent decision to switch banks. My new accountant is a breath of fresh air compared to the usual chartered accounting firms I have dealt with. He is young, well-organised and passionate about using technology to streamline the accounting process. Take a look at his business, Cone Accounting, to see how slick the process and marketing it.
It was my new accountant, Ben, who introduced me to Tide, a start up bank that changed my perception of business banking by making me understand why the traditional banks are so far behind. Tide lets you create a new account in minutes, by downloading an app, scanning your passport and filling in a few basic bits of info. The card arrives a few days later and you’re off. APIs are myriad, meaning Tide plugs into popular accounting tools in a few clicks. This means that the experience of joining Tide is simple and painless and in offering easy-to-use online banking and a debit card, I have everything I need as a customer. I don’t want to talk to Tide, I’m not even that bothered that there are no monthly fees. What I do care about is simplicity and Tide means I spend less time banking and more time working on my business.
Traditional banks are crippled by banking systems created decades ago. They are forced to pile new code on top of these creaking systems in an attempt to keep up with regulatory demands and deliver the functionality that customers expect in 2018. It’s no surprise therefore that these systems regularly collapse. TSB has recently been in the headlines, but all of the high street banks I’ve encountered also struggle. Some may be better than others, but none can offer an experience like Tide.
Service desks should take note of the critical difference between customer service and experience and use automation and improved processes to negate the need for reactive ‘service’. The job of progressive service desks is to fix things before they impact customers. If they prioritise this, they ensure that the customer experience is positive.
Customer experience is arguably the number one determiner of business success. And as I’ve explained from a customer perspective, IT is sometimes the number one factor defining the customer experience. Therefore if the service desk is successfully able to support this vital technology, it is by default is a vital element in the success of the business.