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RISE IN UK ACCOUNT SWITCHING PUTS FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE

The in-bank customer experience has always been important for financial institutions, but two current trends are placing even greater emphasis on this point of contact.

Firstly, switching bank accounts has never been easier. Since the UK Payments Council introduced its current account switching service in September last year, over 600,000 people have availed of it. This number represents only those that completed the entire process, including closing the old account and transferring payments to the new one. Consumers, many of whom may previously have been averse to switching due to the hassle (perceived or otherwise), are now increasingly aware that they can take their business elsewhere with little or no fuss.

Sunil Prabhu, Banking & Insurance Consultant at Lexmark
Sunil Prabhu, Banking & Insurance Consultant at Lexmark

The second trend is the volume of banking transactions that now take place online. This is something that has gained momentum over the years, meaning many people now go months without setting foot inside their bank. Importantly however, the occasions that do still require us to attend in person tend to be those that have significant impact on our lives.  Applying for a mortgage, setting up a family nest egg or seeking a small business loan, are all events where considerable interaction with your bank is still central to the process. These are events that hold genuine importance, not just for the consumer, but also for the banks.

Maintaining customer intimacy at these times is therefore key. Banks should be aiming to do everything in their power to ensure these interactions are as painless and snag-free as possible. Labour intensive work associated with the loan process can be reduced dramatically with document management, workflow and process mining solutions. The bank gets a holistic view of all activity and instant access to all the information needed for each step, and the customer gets significantly reduced paperwork plus an increased level of service accruing from the streamlined process.

With rival banks aggressively wooing customers under the new regulations, minimising churn has never been more important. That rising premium on the in-bank experience, combined with the new account switching rules, means financial institutions need to invest in the right tools to ensure their client base stays happy and, most importantly, stays put. Differentiation through superior customer service is the key.

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