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Customer alert - are banks listening to their customers?

In every customer communication there’s one simple message: “I - the customer - have something to say.” But is anyone listening?

It's as simple as ABC.

A is for ANYTIME and ANY WAY. Banking customers talk to their banks at any time they need them, not just 9 to 5, and not in ways that banks can always control. Customers expect the freedom to connect with their bank – via the telephone, email, social media and any other channel that serves their purpose. Being easy to talk to is a critical part of being in any strong, lasting relationship. And like any good relationship it’s all about listening.

B is for BROTHER or BUDDY. Banks are in a relationship. In fact, they’ve got a serious commitment going on. The Independent Banking Commission found that people changed bank accounts on average every 26 years! It’s nearly as long as the average marriage (32 years in the UK). It's like being part of the family and staying with your customers in good times and bad. Understanding where customers are in their life journey and having empathy for their changing situation is more important than ever and can be a powerful driving force that increases advocacy and loyalty.

C is for CANNED. Banks will get canned if they can't get this right! Customer expectations are rising fast, driven in part by their experiences with service providers outside of financial services. In addition, the banking market place is evolving, with existing and new providers bringing to market highly customer-focused propositions. An example is the investment manager Nutmeg, which launched with a focus on the customer and transparency of their investment portfolio, but also delivers on the promise of empowering customers to communicate with them across a range of channels.

So really it is as easy as ABC. Banks, listen up!

Of course there is always D. D is for DO IT. Because if you don’t get the message, your customers will make sure they share the message for you. We live in a time when the customer - your customer - is hugely empowered through social media. If you’re in any doubt, just check out the consumer reaction to the Tesco horse meat scandal and the famous pantomime horse in Tesco clip which now has over 1.5 million views on YouTube. Another example is the social media response to Bank of America’s attempt to impose a $5 monthly fee on debit card holders.  

Just to make sure you get the message, remember E! E is for EMAIL. This simple but powerful communication channel is so basic that it is often overlooked. Yet it gives you direct access to your customers while letting them have their say. Think about it, can you email your bank? Even the world’s most advanced online retailer – Amazon - with its powerful analytics and seamless self-service enables you to email the team or even the boss directly:, because every customer’s voice counts.



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