I bank, at least partially, with one of the big, national institutions and was recently unpleasantly surprised by my interactions with them. This prompted me to put some thoughts to paper. While I appreciate this institution’s “transformed digital experience,” I don’t appreciate what has transpired between us over the last couple of days.
First, the email I received regarding increased fees for checking accounts. The email informed me that in order to continue to enjoy no-fee checking, I had to maintain a certain monthly balance. When I called the bank and asked them why they were now going to be charging me a monthly fee, they did a bit of research and determined that the fee would not apply to my account and that “I should not have received that email.”
Just a few days later, I visited the same institution in person, via the drive-thru, to get a money order. When I was told that there was a fee, I asked the teller if that really and truly applied to account holders and was told, “no, the money orders are free to customers.” I drove away congratulating myself for having just saved a few dollars, but later discovered that the teller had, in fact, taken the fee out of my account.
Now, like many, I’m a big fan of mobile banking and feel my “big” bank does a pretty good job of it. I love being able to deposit checks and withdraw funds without, especially right now, having to go to a branch; terrific. Why then, am I ready to change banks and probably would if I weren’t so deeply entrenched in this one?
Because they just don’t seem to care.
Offering services such as mobile check capture, I think, is easy. It’s table stakes stuff. I also bank with a much smaller community institution and their mobile banking is, to me, almost as good. I say “almost” because, admittedly, the big bank digital experience really is superior. But a banking relationship is not based on the digital banking experience alone; whether it’s true or not, it sure seems like one bank cares about me and the other, frankly, doesn’t. Is this really that hard? I mean, if you can’t show your customers the love they deserve, can’t you at least show them that you can get stuff right??
Financial institutions have a huge opportunity right now. Some are taking it, some are blowing it. Banks need to remember that their customers are not the likes of R2D2 and C3PO. And, they need to grasp the fact that offering a fabulous digital experience can do very little for their business if they can’t do the most basic blocking and tackling that attracts and retains customers.
There’s a bit of a Catch-22 here. While online banking can help banks cut costs – eliminating the costs associated with maintaining branches and employees – I believe that those branches and employees provide people with what they want and need from their bank. There are, of course, some who would disagree. Studies show that bank customers are decreasingly interested in advisory services, which one would extrapolate to the argument for eliminating branches and employees. Perhaps, though, the banking customers expectations are simply lower than that. By that, I mean that while customers are not looking to their bank for advisory services, they are looking to their bank for those simple, blocking and tackling services. That may not be love, but for most banking customers, perhaps a little bit of appreciation and understanding is enough.
Is that so very hard? Apparently, from what I’m seeing, it is.
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