As it appeared in the Daily Nation on October 13th 2020
Dr Lucy Kiruthu
I have been a bank customer for three decades across six banks. I have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of banking from the eyes of a customer. I have also witnessed banks go through a major digital transformation. Once upon a time, the post office was my favourite bank as a university student. In the Post-Office Bank passbook was a manual record of all deposits and withdraws made. Today, at the comfort of our home we can access many services from our banks.
Despite the changes in the sector, it seems bank customers still want more. One might be quick to assume that a bank customer only wants a financial service. Banks are known as financial services providers, but is that it? Bank customers desire more; they yearn for an experience that leaves them feeling good. This experience encompasses all the interactions that a customer has with their bank. The bank includes the people, the products, the services, and its communication across all the channels and more. The way a customer perceives interactions with the bank is crucial. The customer’s desire a positive feeling before, during and even after an interaction. Most customers trust their banks but are they happy with the end-to-end experience across the channels? Maybe yes, maybe no!
I supposed that many questions go through the mind of a bank customer. Does the bank care? Is it easy to access? Is it safe? Is it secure? Is it clean? Is it quick? How long will I wait? Are the records accurate? Will I get what I need? Will I receive valuable financial advice? Is it inviting? Is it comfortable? Are the staff courteous? Do I need to put extra effort to get help? Is it straightforward or will I be taken round in circles? Will I get the attention I need? Will the bank listen? If I visit a branch, call, tweet will I be welcomed? Will my queries be responded to? Is the privacy of my data assured? Does the bank value me as their customer or am I just an account number? Can I transact at the comfort of my home? Do I really need to visit a branch? These are just but a few of the questions that banks need to answer as they seek to understand what their customers want.
To offer the best experiences, banks need to rethink customer experience. It all starts with leadership commitment. How committed are the top bankers in providing delightful experiences? Assuming they are all committed, how intentional are they in creating a culture where positive customer experiences thrive? Is there adequate support to deliver such experiences? Are the processes customer-focused or do they remain internally focused? Do the staff display the right attitude and competency level and are their actions customer centered? Is technology being used to enable customer experience or for technology’s sake? Are the spaces designed with the customer in mind? Are all the customer touchpoints yielding positive experiences? Is the entire customer journey delightful? I have no answers to these questions but I believe the bankers do!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy