Opening a new bank account, transferring money, paying a bill, these
should be a relatively easy, pain-free transactions, but many banks struggle to deliver these simple tasks, much to the dissatisfaction of their customers.
I recently attended a Customer Service Training Network event held at Metro Bank’s head office in London. Metro was the first, new ‘high street’ bank to launch in the UK in 100 years and has been clear in looking to differentiate their own ‘customer proposition’ from what has been described as the ‘traditional’ way of doing things within the banking industry.
Metro Bank wants to ‘offer unparalleled levels of service and convenience for its customers’, with this commitment to service including; the ability to set up a bank account within 15 minutes, 7 day a week opening and use of in-store safety deposit boxes which can be hired annually. They are looking to make the whole banking experience a family friendly one, even extending this philosophy to ‘man’s best friend’ and offering water bowls and dog biscuits in ‘store’ for our beloved Fido.
With recent changes to UK banking regulations and the approvals process, the UK could see as many as 30 new banks entering the market, according to a recent Out-Law.com article. Will the new entry banks such as; Virgin Money, Tesco, Sainsburys and Shawbrook, as well as the re- entry of TSB to the High Street, see a shake up of the banking industry?
Interestingly, for many years now First Direct has continued to lead the pack for delivering excellent customer service and not just within banking. First Direct have consistently led the Which? The 100 Companies for Best Customer Service, given this customer satisfaction success, why is it the other established banks have not been able to replicate the customer service delivery of First Direct, the Internet Banking arm of HSBC, a bank which was founded back in 1989?
So, what is this the future of U.K. banking and will the Metro Bank model provide the blue-print for the competition; offering both continued growth and the potential to reverse the poor customer satisfaction figures sometimes cited across the banking industry? Or, is this model in particular likely to appeal to a relatively specific demographic, as well as being restricted geographically, (Metro is presently only available in the South East of England) proving to be a one-off challenger brand in the market, which cannot be duplicated for customer service success, similar to the First Direct model?
Please do let me know what you think by posting your comments here, or you can contact me on 0845 620 9720, or, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stefan Gilson is a Managing Consultant at Douglas Jackson specialising in recruiting executive level and senior management appointments across Customer Contact and Customer Experience within Financial Services and Banking.