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First direct dares to share what customers think of it

13 October 2009  |  17342 views  |  1
UK virtual bank first direct has begun trawling the Internet for everything that's said about it online and then feeding the information - good or bad - onto its "live" Web site.

You like me....you really really like me...

14 October 2009  |  5978 views  |  0

Okay, I realize that unless you are a perpetual movie geek like me, you may not remember Sally Field's much maligned Academy Award acceptance speech ( I've happily included a clip so you can view it now).  But it was the first thought that popped into my head as I read this article about First Direct.  I think it's great that the bank is willing to ask and actually hear what its customers think.  Because all too often being exuberant about being liked gets viewed with a cynical eye.  It's time banks and bankers started being a little more focused on the customer because as I've said many times, customer satisfaction is going to be the sword that separates the "good from the bad". 

Right now, customers--whether individual or corporate--are reading negative headlines about the state of their banks or their banks treatment of its customers.  They are seeing banks fight against reform while accepting government financial aid.  They are seeing banks increase fees while decreasing service.  Most importantly, they are seeing banks as the bad guys

I just spent three weeks on the road, listening to customers talk about what they need but don't feel they can get from their banks.  Just below the surface in every conversation was a call for improved efficiencies, greater transparency and better service.  And while banks may indeed be listening to their customers, their message is getting lost beneath the reality of the customer experience. 

Years ago, I had a customer tell me, "I don't care about your internal issues, I just want to know how you're going to help me".  It's a lesson, I've never forgotten.  So to banks and the bankers who run them, I impart Mr. Davis' words of wisdom which essentially boiled down to "ask, listen, fix" because you work for him.  He doesn't work for you.

So hats off to First Direct for going "straight to the horse's mouth" to find out what their customers think.  Are there any other banks quite so brave?  Time will tell.     


TagsPaymentsWholesale banking

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 16 October, 2009, 10:22

Good move. If they listen there should be few bad words and more good, provided they can fix what ails the customers.

Some banks are taking a different approach. NAB just reduced fees and credit card overdraw fees.

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