Banks to take on “Customer Service Battle”

For some time Adobe (particularly here in this blog) has talked about the need for organisations to firmly embrace customer experience management (CEM) and to develop strategies, underpinned by technology, which put the customer at the centre of the organisation. This applies equally in both the public and private sector.

So it was with great interest that I read news announcements yesterday from a number of the UK’s leading banks. Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Lloyds Banking Group have all made bold pledges to improve their customer service.

These investments to improve customer service range from speeding up the time it takes to issue new bank cards, to refurbishing branches and investing in new technology.

Comments made by Anthony Jenkins, head of global retail banking at Barclays, are particularly interesting: Jenkins makes a strong connection between how improving customer service levels has have a direct, positive impact on shareholder value.

At a time when banks have been cutting costs across their business it’s entirely encouraging to hear such positive talk about investing in customer service. An article in Tuesday’s Independent cites increased competition and the need for diversification of products as driving factors behind this.

The most recent CBI/PwC financial services survey showed banks planning to invest in customer service even though they are cutting costs elsewhere because they need to find new ways to generate income. As well as the fallout from the credit crunch and setbacks on overdrafts and selling payment protection insurance, the banks face competition from PayPal, Tesco, Metro Bank and other new entrants.

Talk of investment in customer service is also not just limited to the banking sector, but stretches more broadly across financial services. A fascinating interview in the Financial Times yesterday with Mark Hodges, Aviva’s UK chief executive also revealed that customer experience ranks high on his agenda. Hodges’ very open and frank assessment is that Aviva’s customer service – particularly within its call centres – just wasn’t very good and they are taking measures to improve it.

One of the most interesting statistics is that by dealing with initial customer calls more thoroughly and conclusively and solving the complaint first time – they have managed to reduce the number of calls to the centre by 20,000. This objective – to reduce the number of calls and increase the quality of customer interactions – is similar to what Adobe is achieving in the public sector with Southwark Council.

17th May sees Adobe UK host its “Experience Delivers Tour”, where technology and strategies to address the customer experience and the customer journey will top the agenda. Some of the stand out keynotes include: The Importance of Customer Experience Management delivered by Kevin Cochrane, VP Customer Experience at Adobe, The new era of experiences: mobile, social and immersive delivered by Ron Rogowski from Forrester and Future of Tablets: next generation of devices with mobile tablets presented by Michael Chaize, Platform Evangelist at Adobe.

Furthermore, there will be a host of opportunities to hear how other organisations are managing their own customer experience. Details of the agenda are available here and you can register for the event now.

Also, keep checking this blog and Twitter (#AdobeCEM) for further details, including customers who will be presenting at the event.

Tom Coppock, solutions architect, Adobe UK