Banks asked to in­no­vate more co­op­er­a­tion with cus­tomers

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

There has been much talk about the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in the ser­vice in­dus­tries, es­pe­cially in bank­ing, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and in­sur­ance sec­tors. The core fo­cus re­mains on the end cus­tomers and their ex­pe­ri­ences at each touch point with the re­spec­tive or­gan­i­sa­tions.

There has been sig­nif­i­cant progress, which in­cludes new dis­rup­tive start-ups specif­i­cally fo­cus­ing on the cus­tomer jour­ney. How­ever, the in­dus­try still lags be­hind other ser­vice-re­lated sec­tors such as travel, tourism, hos­pi­tal­ity, etc.

Con­sid­er­ing how fi­nance and com­merce is an in­te­gral part of our daily lives, one has to ask the ques­tion, why is it in that state?

One of the rea­sons could be that the over­all ser­vice and sub­se­quent im­pact has changed very lit­tle when com­pared to the strides taken in other ser­vice-re­lated in­dus­tries. This un­doubt­edly has set ex­pec­ta­tions that banks do not meet, lead­ing to poor ex­pe­ri­ences.

The jour­ney to­wards cus­tomer im­prove­ment started with prod­uct bundling, which then quickly moved on to in­clude the chan­nels of en­gage­ment. How­ever, very lit­tle has been done with re­gards to the jour­ney of the staff, who are re­spon­si­ble for serv­ing cus­tomers.

To put it another way, if a re­tailer only in­vested in the am­bi­ence and jour­ney within their high-street store, but did not fo­cus on the stock­rooms, sup­ply chain, lo­gis­tics and pro­duc­tion, would they be suc­cess­ful in pro­vid­ing a mar­ket lead­ing ex­pe­ri­ence? Logic says no.

So why then has this not hap­pened in the bank­ing in­dus­try. Why is it that staff re­main hostage to cum­ber­some and high­fric­tion plat­forms that in most cases ap­pear to be de­signed to store data in­stead of fo­cus­ing on how that data could be used?

Un­like cus­tomer-fac­ing sys­tems, users of in­ter­nal sys­tems do not have a choice of walk­ing away. They have no op­tion but to use what is in front of them.

To make mat­ters worse they are most of­ten not in­volved in any de­ci­sions as­so­ci­ated to sys­tem de­sign or pro­cure­ment. Most in­ter­nal sys­tems are re­viewed and judged based on the ca­pa­bil­i­ties they have and data they are able to cap­ture.

It is only rarely that a man­age­ment team would change their de­ci­sion based on in­ter­nal user feed­back. And even if it is raised the ob­vi­ous ques­tions of jus­ti­fy­ing ROI (re­turn on in­vest­ment) of in­creased adop­tion are rarely an­swered.

Which is sur­pris­ing when looked at from the per­spec­tive of train­ing, re­cruit­ment, op­er­a­tional risk, and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence fail­ure risk. Poor sys­tem de­sign is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to in­ter­nal mis­takes and in­cor­rect data en­try.

Banks at­tempt to mit­i­gate this risk by spend­ing more on con­trols which in turn in­creases fric­tion within the cus­tomer jour­ney. Banks then try to al­le­vi­ate this fric­tion by in­creas­ing ef­forts and cost on train­ing, which when done half-heart­edly ac­tu­ally ends up in­creas­ing the risks as­so­ci­ated with staff churn and loss of tacit knowl­edge.

Con­se­quently, banks go on to fur­ther tighten con­trols on changes to any process and pro­ce­dure def­i­ni­tions that again in­crease fric­tion in the cus­tomer jour­ney by re­duc­ing agility and flex­i­bil­ity. This ap­pears to have be­come the in­dus­try cul­ture and is most of­ten re­ferred to as in­dus­try stan­dards.

Which means that when new staff are re­cruited from com­pet­ing in­sti­tu­tions they in­vari­ably bring in the same mind­set, and then mould new re­cruits as well.

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