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What do consumers want? Do an RBS and ask them

Jeff Bezos, CEO of and one of the most successful businessmen to emerge in the last decade, once said: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

It’s this attitude towards the customer that has undoubtedly been the driving force behind the company’s rapid rise from internet start-up to multi-billion dollar enterprise. While companies like Amazon are renowned for the emphasis they put on customer services, the banking sector has regularly come under fire for the lack of it. Considering this, it was great to read that RBS has recently launched an online ideas portal, enabling it to ask its customers directly how it can improve its services. 

It’s a great step by the bank; and the fact that suggestions are limited to 260 characters shows that the bank has taken note of, and embraced, the current digital trends that the nation (and in particular the vital 18-25 customer age bracket) have adopted as second nature in recent years. This is further reflected in the fact that the most popular responses and ideas are published on the site, promoting discussion and allowing customers to truly feel that they are being heard. Unsurprisingly, improvements to mobile and online banking solutions are already proving to be the most popular suggestions.

Innovation must be at the heart of any digital solution, and projects such as this are vital in order for banks to ensure that they are on the right track as they fight for supremacy in an increasingly busy marketplace.  To stay competitive, banks have to think on their feet – rolling out a digital solution that they assume blindly their customers will want is no longer good enough. Nor is it enough to try to predict the future from the past – banks must look ahead to customer behaviour patterns and trends in order to understand how best to serve their needs and expectations

This move from RBS is a clear sign that it wants to make an impact on the digital finance arena and fine tune itself to the digital lives of its customers. The task now is to follow through on what the customer wants, and to use these suggestions and trends – not only to roll out a solution that will prove popular, but also to predict what their client base will want in the future.

Jeff Bezos turned Amazon into a powerhouse by leveraging consumer demand. It is time for the banks to follow suit and demonstrate their commitment to innovation and customer experience, establishing their credentials as credible and relevant financial services providers of the future.



Comments: (4)

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 30 March, 2013, 14:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Unless RBS swiftly gets its act together, this is only going to be a faster way to disillusion its customers.

When I recently e-mailed their Managing Director of Corporate Banking, it took his staff 40 days to even refer my comments to a Relationship Manager.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 02 April, 2013, 10:28Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Great idea, but. 

If I leave my idea to one bank portal and they will deny this great idea without seeing how it would make their services better (earning more money) do I go to another bank and introduce same idea there. 

But idea would be mutual third party innovation banking portal where everyone can leave their ideas, technical persons create services in the spirit of Linux and banks can buy these ideas and technical consultation plus portal could pay small fee for original innovator/ innovators. This portal is sponsored by banks or SWIFT and all new innovations will have same technical standards without any technical consultations of 10 years.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 02 April, 2013, 14:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Good idea but I wonder if it's too little, too late. Banking customers are already tweeting ideas to banks in 140 characters. Savvy bank product managers are already using social intelligence platforms to quickly hone into such tweets and add good ideas to their feature pipelines. Ideas that have surfaced on Twitter in the recent past include (1) Change the schedule of weekly account balance SMS alerts (2) Introduce a "My Favorite Transaction" to cut down ATM waiting times (3) Personify bank balance.

Jane Adams
Jane Adams - Currently looking for a job - Edinburgh 04 April, 2013, 09:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Personally I suspect the 260 character limit suggests nothing of the sort. Rather - a refusal to consider any substantive criticism. Reminds me of a certain political party inviting comment on their website of their planned welfare reforms. It was only after I'd written about 800 words of reasoned, cogent, referenced, detailed, foaming outrage that I noticed the 300 character limit.