Heard on a service company’s answering machine:
"We realize you are still holding. Please do not hang up, as this will further delay your call."
The truth is that banks are also the butt of similar jokes. While it’s easy to trash poor customer service, it’s somewhat harder to define the opposite.
In my book, this is how banking customer service should be:
• Real time
• Backed by SLAs
I’m sure there are other attributes, but this wish list will do for a start.
Having said that, I’ll add that there are many banks that provide decent service on one or some of their channels. But, that simply doesn’t cut it in this age of multi-channel banking.
What banks need is an integrated multi-channel approach to customer service. This isn’t just about adding another service channel or introducing a new facility to an existing one; it’s about providing consistent service across each.
Integrated multi-channel service means that a customer should personalize his banking options on one channel, but find those applying automatically to all the others. It also means that he should be able to drop out of a transaction midway on one channel,
only to pick it up from where he left off, on another, without having to explain the whole situation to whoever is at the other end. Most important of all, this means that the bank’s executive would be able to provide updates on his service request as well
as commit a closure time to him.
For a bank, the key to offering high quality, integrated multi-channel service lies in optimization – in other words, moving low-value, high-volume everyday transactions to high capacity self-service channels, leaving only high-value opportunities to be serviced
on high-cost assisted channels. Doing so will balance the load on each channel in proportion to its capacity, to create a better experience for both the customer and the bank’s service agents.
But what’s in it for the bank?
Research shows that far from eating into the number of transactions on existing channels, the introduction of new channels has produced more opportunities for banks to interact with their customers. Separately, it also says that by making a service time commitment
to customers (made possible by integrated multi-channel service) banks can bind their loyalty.
That’s plenty, as far as I’m concerned.