Unsurprisingly, working for a software house specialising in Core Banking systems, we spend a fair proportion of our time talking about customer service and what banking customers really want from their bank. During one of these conversations - the subject
turned to who do you bank with, how long have you been there and why. The first two questions are obviously easy to answer, but the third had me stumped for a while.
In the UK, it is often cited that people are more likely to leave their partner than to change their bank account, so it it just because of inertia that I have stayed with the same bank for more than 10 years ? Am I unhappy with the service I received, but
just not unhappy enough to go through the hassle of changing everything over. The answer is no - by and large, I'm very happy with my bank.
They are not the cheapest. They have no branch network. They don't have a flashy internet banking portal and they certainly don't have any kind of mobile banking capability - so what is it that keeps me there ? The answer is that I know exactly how to get
hold of them when I need them, and they don't bug me. The fact that they have hardly ever made a mistake helps too. I want my bank to be invisible.
There seems to be a lot of talk of transforming the branch into some inviting environment where people are enticed off the high street to talk to their bank about financial planning and the products they might need. If I have to go to a branch, it is a complete
pain. I would much rather sort it out with a quick phone call or via a simple web transaction.
We bought a new property last year in the other end of the country and the whole transaction took place without seeing a soul (apart from the estate agent, who is fairly difficult to avoid). The whole experience was seemless, everything managed by the odd
phone call and the services of Her Majesty's Post Office.
A lot of the conversations about service tend to lead on to building a relationship with your customer, understanding what stage of life they are at, understanding their needs all so that you can build up to offering them the product of their dreams. I'm
sorry, I don't want a relationship with my bank any more than I want a relationship with my plumber, and someone deciding that what I really need to make my life complete is accidental death insurance because the computer says so is not my idea of good service.
The point is that everyone has different expectations and needs from their bank account, and I'm fully aware that I may not be representative of the public at large, but how are you going to detect that I just want to be left alone and tailor your service