Executives should manage customer expectations rather than raise the bar too high at the first interaction, and understand why every stage of a customer journey is critical in its own way.
I recently contacted a bank about opening a new savings account as I wanted to switch from my current bank. My choice to go to this brand was based on two facts. It’s a well-known brand and the process to set up a new account sounded easier than that of a couple of other banks whom I had contacted.
Actually, it was a smooth process managed by one of the relationship managers who was responsive, knowledgeable and helpful. As per an automated email I received, I remember my new account was opened within a week after submission of my documents. This email also mentioned that a welcome letter with my account details and online banking password was on its way to my home address.
I eagerly waited for this welcome letter to arrive. Sure enough, within a week, I had my online banking password. However, the account details did not. Now I was in a situation where I had my online banking password with me but did not know my account details. So I could not get started with the digital banking!
I dropped an email to my relationship manager saying I had not received my account details, and that I needed these details to get started (email and phone were the only options available given that this bank is exclusively online with no brick-and-mortar locations). I waited, I chased, but there was still no answer!
I realised that I had not heard from my relationship manager--the very same manager who was responsive, knowledgeable and helpful when I had first contacted the bank to open a new account-- since the time I had submitted my documents earlier!).
This agitated me more, as I had thought they were so good when I had first contacted them for a new account. Now, when the account opening process was done, at least as far as they were concerned, should they not give me a courtesy call to check if I had received my welcome letter, with all relevant details, and make sure I was all set to begin online banking?
I’m not saying I don’t know how to deal with online banking, but I think a proactive check-in call would have been nice, especially when there’s no sign of the post sent across. As a customer, shall I not expect this as minimal service, especially when I had received such great service during the initial sales process?
My question is, what happened after the initial sale? Was that great service only available for account opening, and now, if I have any future needs, it will be a challenge for me to contact this bank and get my problems resolved? Have I chosen the wrong bank?
My journey as a customer with this bank was just about to start and here I was already in doubt about my loyalty. By now, I had shared this experience within my circle of friends so this initial experience had also impacted my advocacy.
After waiting for a week, I contacted the customer services number from the website. I shared my story, complained as an unhappy customer, provided my details (i.e. name, date of birth, address, etc.) and answered a couple of security questions. I was then able to get my account details and get started with the online banking. And this did not end here! I had to re-contact them for a change in my home address as I moved house recently, which took three months following escalations at three levels!
This entire experience made me about the importance of managing customer expectations (rather than raising the bar too high at the first interaction!) and why every stage of a customer journey is critical in its own way. I was sold the product well but I did not receive the right onboarding support, so they missed a passenger who’s probably now looking for another train (I mean a bank!).