Incorporating Customer Experience in your Bank's Customer Strategy

The inside of the bank was the size of a metro station, it was dotted with people making transactions or interacting with the staff. The snake-like queue meandered ahead of me and seemed never ending. I tried counting the heads – around 26 people, some with documents in their hands and others with cheques. I focused my eyes on a clock some feet away, watching the hand move every sixty seconds. The lady in the admissions office had said without empathy, “Ma'am, you must submit the bank draft and other documentation by 1 o'clock, otherwise, we will offer the seat to a student on the second list”.

I had shifted to this city three months ago with my family from a distant metro, it was imperative that I admit my son to one of the best schools here, but, it begun to look like just a dream. If I did not get the bank draft issued in the next twenty minutes from this bank and rush to the school with it - my son's admission to the city's most renowned school would be negated!

All the counters seemed to have endless lines of people hoping to wrap-up their work before the bank closed in about 45 minutes. I considered leaving the queue and asking for directions to a Platinum Customers' counter, but, felt that it might just lengthen the whole process if they did not have one for this branch, I would have to get back at the end of the growing queue again.
A sharp dressed person in a typical banker’s dark suit and tie caught my eye as he passed within a few feet. I reached for my cheque book and waved it impolitely close to his face. “Excuse me! I'm a Platinum Customer who urgently needs a bank draft - it's for my son’s school admission," I said loudly from the queue, people turned around to look at me. “This is my first visit to this branch and we shifted to this city recently, I really need this draft to be issued in fifteen minutes or the school will reject my form!"

I remember leaving the bank 11 minutes later with a smile from ear-to-ear. This was no ordinary bank, Mr. Dutt, as I found out later, quickly typed my name and account number which I shared with him into his mobile phone. A minute later, a voice at the other end of his phone verified I was the account holder with a few typical security questions. The agent asked me to hand over all the relevant details for the draft to Mr.Dutt after filling and signing the form a peon brought a few seconds later.
“Please wait in our lounge for a few minutes, we have already started the process of issuing a draft, I’ll just submit these documents and be back,” Mr.Dutt had said politely, collecting all the relevant details from me as directed by the agent on the phone.

As I drove to the school through several traffic jams, honking like a mad person, I couldn't help but appreciate how quickly the bank had acted by simply verifying I was a customer who had a long history with their bank and quickly informed the relevant department at the branch. They had coordinated between several employees to deliver my draft on time and ensure I leave with a positive experience, they knew this would be my 'first impression' of their services on a tense day.

Before I left the bank, Mr. Dutt had ensured me someone would call the following day to share details of the closest branch to my home and the office. Though, I insisted to always bank at this particular branch, "That won't be necessary, I'm confident I'll always prefer to visit your branch, thanks again for your excellent service. My son will start school from the 17th of next month.." I said smiling.

For any of my friends who read my Tweets the next day, they would agree I was mesmerized by the service I received after several hours of anxiety about the chances of my son being rejected by the new school. This was a bank that truly cared about 'customer experience management', the top management knew that though optimal customer relationship management was expensive and complex, it had robust long term benefits including customer loyalty and a progressive competitive advantage.