Disclaimer: The ideas presented here are my observations of the banking industry with an intention to bring up higher levels of customer satisfaction. It does not target any institution in particular but rather my view from the industry as a whole [as a customer].
Today, whether it is banks or insurance companies selling their products through digital channels [with optimal STP] or any other companies selling their products and services, there is too much attention given for a swift digital on-boarding. But is this the same case when a customer decides to choose a new service provider?
Few years back, due to an urgent requirement, I had to open a bank account and saw that one of the new age banks was offering a fully digital on-boarding experience. I quickly got on-boarded. But few months later when I was trying to streamline all my banking accounts, I realized that there were few accounts which were purely inactive and were never used other than for the purpose that I had originally opened them. Thus I initiated the process to close these accounts. Now, many of you would agree that the experience of account closure isn’t as enjoyable as the one involved with opening an account. In most cases, there is hardly any digital exit processes. In most cases, a physical visit is almost mandatory. That followed by a host of other processes made me wonder…why is it so easy to open an account but not so easy if I want to close one?!
A similar situation happened when I wanted to close a personal loan account that I had availed from one of the leading private banks. While the on-boarding of the loan process was quite straight forward, the loan closure process demanded that I go a branch [I am explicitly mentioning this because the closest branch from where I took the loan didn’t have the facility to close the loan] in spite of COVID restrictions being effective. I tried to check with the bank officials if I could access a digital portal where I could be informed about how much money I would need to pay for pre-closures and so on but the only response I received was – “Sir, can you please go to the loan servicing branch? They will help you with all required information!”
One more experience I’d like to share was with another leading bank that recently launched a video KYC process. With a lot of excitement, I started my on-boarding journey. To my surprise, when I enquired at their call center about the exit process, I was told that I would need to visit the branch for account closure.”
I’m pretty sure all of you would have faced similar experiences. While I have shared my experience from a retail banking perspective, similar situations exist in other parts of banking business – corporate, mutual funds, private banking as well.
Today we see a lot of Neo and fully digital banks coming on to the fray. However, in the process of delivering maximum banking experience to their citizens, the millennials are confused with too many options to choose from. Some banks come with specific USPs / features to stand out. However, if the exit process is not as smooth as the onboarding the ones…the tech and social media savvy millennials will make sure their concerns are heard in a way that would be least enjoyable.
As providers of great products and services, financial institutions need to ensure that any interaction that involves a customer, be it at On-Boarding, Servicing or Exit, it must be swift and efficient. Enabling these USP will indirectly market FI’s goodwill by customer which would be more impactful than many other direct marketing.