Customer Service Does Matter
Following the recent interest rate hikes, I decided to contact my bank about opportunities to move my money into a higher interest account. I decided to ring first. Not a great idea. 45 minutes later, numerous rotations of the same song, and I was put on to someone who then conveniently told me I needed to talk to someone in sales. Another 15 minutes on the phone and finally a human voice responded.
Sadly, no luck in resolving my query, but the suggestion that I should download a new app where I might be able to achieve some improvements to my interest received, alternatively I could visit a branch for a discussion about the matter. I decided on the latter. A couple of days later I visited a branch to make an appointment. The awaiting hordes queuing in the branch did little to improve by mood. A pleasant girl approached each of the queued throng trying to point them in the right direction to assist with their query. After ten minutes she approached me. I explained as she tried to make an appointment on an ipad that seemed unresponsive, descending often into a cycle of the ‘ring of going nowhere’. Finally, a result, come back in two hours and a consultant will be available to see you. Out I went returning two hours later expecting to see a human being. Wrong. The appointment had been wiped from the ipad for some inexplicable reason and no one was available. No other times were available that day, and appointments finished at 2pm. I made another time for next week when hopefully someone will be available. I went back to the office totally frustrated by the experience. I downloaded the app suggested by the phone consultant. It seemed good but unless I wanted to open and have another debit card to the one I had already, and agreed to transact digitally, it was not a good solution.
Customer service should in a digital era be a far easier and satisfying experiencing. If it’s not, there is something wrong. In an era of Ai no one should have to wait on a phone for longer than ten minutes, and where chat bots can take your number and organise for someone to ring you back. The need to listen to someone explain a menu of items that are so general in meeting your query and trying to help is draining. If they really cared, they would work out a better model.
The reality today is that companies don’t want to have their people tied up on the phone with customer service queries, but if a brand is not to suffer the negative effects of poor service calls and handling of queries, they need to look constantly at how they can improve their performance on inquiries and help their customers. And that’s not just asking for a review of service where they want the responder on the phone to be rated. It’s not the rater, it’s the process and the system. Banks are closing branches so if they are going to help their customers, they need to review the rules of engagement. In an era where so much can happen online you can manage the top 20 problems and look for ways to solve how customers issues with these topics can be conveniently fixed. The bank that gets that right and improves its performance will win more market share.