Royal Bank of Scotland has joined the trend for crowdsourcing ideas for future product initiatives with the launch of an online 'Ideas Bank' portal.
Customers visiting the site
are invited to post their ideas for how the bank can improve its services. Entries are limited to 260 characters and all postings are moderated by software for rude and abusive language before publication.
The site shows the most popular ideas and the top four topics over the previous 30 days, with mobile and online banking requests currently topping the list. The bank provides an update on ideas taken forward and is currently boasting the roll-out of a mobile app for Windows Phones, the launch of a new customer support centre for digital banking, and online improvements for the management of credit cards.
The move is a brave attempt by the state-owned bank to bring customers onside following a rash of bad publicity and recent IT setbacks, including a bungled software update last year that caused a ten-day backlog in processing payments and forced the bank to set aside £125 million in compensation.
One recent post on the Ideas Bank site by superflyguy reflects the bad feelings still harboured by some customers: "How about bringing IT back to in-house, thereby mitigating the shoddy banking services you've thus far provided since offshoring/outsourcing?"
RBS is following in the footsteps of other trend-setting banks, such as Australia's Commonwealth Bank, which rolled out its own IdeaBank site in late 2011, and UK rival first direct, which runs an online Lab for testing customer responses to new products.