In previous posts I’ve been a heavy proponent of digital transformation in the financial services industry and my position hasn’t changed on that. However recent experiences with some high-street banks have left me stunned with how badly some have implemented these changes to the point where I would go anywhere else to obtain better service.
The scenario I was working on was quite simple, a transfer of money from my account to another account in different banks. The amount itself wasn’t huge but slightly exceeded the maximum online-banking allowance for a single day, so I did what any normal person would do, I travelled into my local branch.
After being approached 4 times while queuing to talk to a cashier, I was told to leave the branch and use online banking instead. Upon reaching the counter I was first told “oh I’m sorry I’m not allowed do this – please use the machine over there” however eventually the cashier agreed to process my request after much explaining.
To make a long story short, it turned out that this cashier could not transfer out of my account to another bank so I had to draw a cheque and walk it over to the other bank. With my mind blown with the inefficiency of it all, I did this, and again was accosted by a bank employee at the second bank who informed me that they didn’t have any cashiers any more and only machines and therefore I should go home to my original bank’s online-banking and do the transfer there.
Needless to say I did not accept this and eventually got the matter sorted 20 minutes later.
What was wrong
I used the word stunned earlier, and that is not a word I would usually use but I think it accurately describes my response to the whole situation. What I could not believe was that persistence to the point of rudeness to attempt to prevent me from actually talking to a bank employee about my transaction.
What I want
The digital transformation has given rise to incredibly intelligent machines such as ATMs for lodgments, transfers and more but to be perfectly honest, I want these machines as a complement to the personal service I should have within my bank, not a complete replacement.
The move to a bank branch that has only token staff to direct you to the nearest machine or to place you on a phone to talk to call-centre staff is, in my view, utterly unacceptable and is one sure way to loose my business.
A better view
My faith has since been restored as I chose to open a new account with another high-street name. Not only was I treated with respect and personable service, but the bank staff dealt with my queries on a personal level where they took the time to understand my motivation in order to ensure that I was making the right decision.
Finally, they gave me an overview of the technology options available to me for all transactions while reiterating that they were an option I could choose to avail of or not. The same person also provided me with their contact details as my single liaison with the bank who would take care of my account.
It was a huge contrast and I left the bank much happier and confident that I had engaged a partner in my financial future rather than being another in a huge pool of cattle to be herded in an out as fast as possible.