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Check Out Your Checkout

By topping the 2012 Customer Service Hall of Fame, Amazon made it three in a row. Sadly, a leading global bank too made a record of sorts by retaining the top position in this year’s Hall of Shame rankings, in which four other financial institutions brought up the rear.

Here’s a sample of some other horrifying statistics. Between 5 and 15% of bank customers leave the branch without being served. (Who can blame them for wanting to move?)  In one of its reports, Javelin claims that in a recent year, faulty processes prevented nearly 6 million customers – almost 1 in 2! – from opening an account online. Instead of saving time, as they hoped to do, these customers ended up queuing at a branch or dropping out altogether.

Although poor customer service can originate anywhere, it ends up without exception, at the last mile. For banks looking to clean up their acts, the “checkout” is the place to start.

Luckily, there’s already a retailer or two, leading the way.   

Apple Stores (surprise, surprise!) allow customers to register their purchases from anywhere within the store, using a handheld device. A home improvement products retailer speeds up checkout by scanning goods inside shopping carts before they reach the cashier. Online retailers are trying to arrest dropout at checkout with free shipping and a number of shopping friendly tweaks to their sites. And JC Penney plans to rid its stores of checkout counters within two years, by replacing them with mobile checkout, RFID tracking, Wi-Fi technology, and the option to self checkout.

A large Indian private sector bank has launched a tablet app for priority customers through which they can place a request online, and go on to collect it from the branch without waiting in line. Now, if only other banks would follow suit.

A vendor of branch automation solutions has recently come up with an app, which tells customers how busy their bank is at the moment, how long they might have to wait to be served, or what’s the best time to visit.  Potentially, the solution could go a long way in relieving employee stress and user frustration. But will the banks bite?






Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 13 September, 2012, 09:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Shunted around multiple websites to complete 2FA and risk failed payment when one of those websites is down; compelled to enter extremely abridged narrations for ePayments just because IT has restricted the field length to unrealistically small values; having to select a method of payment preset for a given beneficiary without first getting to see the list of beneficiaries - these are only a few examples of friction that lead to shopping cart abandonment in banking and financial transactions. These will not only cause customer frustration but will also drive customers away from digital channels back to the branch. Maybe this is why I've been queues at branches growing longer on the rare occasions that I've visited them lately.

Re. faulty processes preventing 1 in 2 customers from opening an account online, does this imply that 50% of visitors to a bank's website do successfully open an account online? That's an unbelievably high conversion rate considering Amazon and other leading ecommerce companies convert less than 10% of their visitors to customers. If you can cite the name of the Javelin report from where you've taken this figure, I'd like to learn more about this.

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