Root-Cause Poor Customer Satisfaction

The recent customer satisfaction survey was a blow to the retail bankers in Sweden. The industry hit the lowest score in six years. And it is probably really painful to Danske Bank, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank that experience a continued negative trend that has taken them below the 70 threshold that usually is regarded as a serious alert. I referred to the survey in my previous blog post Toxic Cash but think that a second blog post with my personal root-cause analysis is warranted given the results below:

Toyota is regarded as the champion on Total Quality Management. They have developed several ingenious processes to ensure that they continuously work to eliminate waste and defects in their operations. One simple methodology that they have implemented to resolve the root-cause to problems is that they ask themselves “Why” five times. They argue that this recursive approach is required to ensure that you do not settle for the quick wins that only serve as “band-aid” on the problem. To them, it is essential to address the core problem to ensure that it doesn’t resurface somewhere else. The reasoning is probably applicable to the retail banking industry too.

So, let us look at my personal root-cause analysis on the poor customer satisfaction levels in retail banking:

1 Why do we get poor ratings from our retail customers?
The customer experience has deteriorated when we have replaced human touch points with self-service solutions
2 Why have we removed the human touch points?It is expensive to provide advisory services from the branch
3 Why is it so expensive to offer advisory services in the branch?
The cost for an advisory session is high when the high fixed costs for front-office personnel and facilities in the branch network are allocated to the few meetings in the branches
4 Why do we have so few meetings in the branch?
Customers cannot set off time to visit the branch during office hours.
5 Why don’t we have the advisors to offer services on-line then?
?

I apologize for the final rhetorical question but I think that is time to get to the root cause of the poor customer satisfaction levels in the industry. Improved on-line and mobile banking solutions are probably appreciated by customers but I think they are the band-aids and not the cure. To paraphrase my favorite animated film Madagascar 3, it is time to bring humans back into banking. The banks should re-engage in dialogues with their customers and challenge conventions on where the client meetings will take place. Stay tuned, I will revisit the question on how to re-engage with the retail customers in future blog posts.

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1 thought on “Root-Cause Poor Customer Satisfaction

  1. Maybe I am an atypical bank customer, but the reason I have a problem with the “advice” from banks isn’t that they don’t give enough of it but rather that it’s completely useless. If they truly believed that the advice they gave had any sort of value, they would obviously charge some percentage of that value. Do they do that? No.

    It’s worth noting that the top two banks with the highest grades are the ones who go out of their way to make sure that I as a customer never have to talk to an actual person. Cost efficient, time efficient and it saves sooo much energy never having to say no to pushy sales people who don’t even have the honesty or decency to call themselves sales people.

    Sorry for the rant, but is there any indication that people actually want advice from bankers and honestly believe that bankers can provide that to them?

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