The recent news about the flood of complaints received by top banks in the UK has understandably evoked serious concern. FSA has called upon the banks to overhaul their complaints handling mechanism. In the days ahead the banks are sure to come under intense
scrutiny and would be expected to show some good results in this area.
Obviously there is something seriously wrong. It could be the policies. Or the way the policies are implemented. Or it could just be the human element. One of the key elements that would come under the scanner when banks look into the causes and possible
solutions would be role of technology.
Technology is no longer just a business enabler. It is a business sustainer and driver today. With the emergence of multiple delivery channels customers simply
expect that banking services and information should be available on 24x7 basis and consistently across channels. And of course, the customers expect their banks to respond and take remedial action quickly. One of the questions that should be looked into
is, whether the level of technology in the banks is up to the task.
Customers also feel alienated and helpless on many occasions because in case of a grievance they are asked to call the contact centre where they talk to a faceless entity, not a human being. And that too after punching in endless sequence of numbers and perhaps
having the call transferred to several folks who may sound as clueless as the previous one. This kind of experience actually infuriates the customer and can lead to one more grievance rather than solving the earlier one! Here also the problem may be with the
system the bank is using. The data the customer is looking for may not be available – at least not in the form it is required for providing necessary clarifications quickly making the call centre folks feel helpless. Availability of all the information in
one central system as against multiple systems can make a world of difference to the customer experience. One does not expect the IT
system to be just an electronic ledger.
Another point is, mistakes in IT environment can affect thousands of customers before anyone realizes that a mistake was committed. It is virtually impossible to have a business operation that is
absolutely error free. The question is, how easily and quickly the mistake can be found out and remedial action can be taken to reverse the effect of the mistake. Are today’s IT systems in banks up to the mark?
Technology is of course not a panacea. The human being at the other side of the counter (increasingly on the other side of the phone line!) matters a lot. However, technology has the potential to make a big difference in the way customers are serviced and
the issues addressed. It is not a very easy task unless the technology platform is fine tuned to achieve it in a seamless and intuitive manner. It is something that banks across the globe need to ponder. They could be next in the line of fire.