A day in the life…
Jessica is about to get married. No, not a big event, just friends & family. White dress, yes, for sure. She dreamt about that when she was a kid. Henry, no, he would not dare to bring his new girlfriend.
I don’t know Jessica or Henry. But some chatter just invades your ear and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot ignore it. I am standing in line and wait to be served. The two elderly women are talking at such a volume that it is impossible to not get to know their whole family stories and their plans for the future.
I am balancing on my toes to get a slightly better view on the queue. At least six people in front of me. Turning my head, I look into the faces of four more people standing behind me. Poor souls, you can see it in their eyes that they are not looking forward to this.
But I am not happy either, the queue is moving at a very slow pace and I am already waiting for more then 15 minutes. This will for sure take some time. Is waiting a good customer experience, no, it is not. For work I deal with the broader topic of “Customer Experience” every day, helping companies to overachieve their goals in this regard. But here, waiting in line with others at a bank, not sure what to improve. Sure, an app helps with the execution of a lot of tasks from home (or anywhere else), but a least mine requires showing documents in person. Some of the elderly customers could potentially fulfill some of their requirements online already. On the other hand, you cannot expect that everyone has access and/or the skills to do so.
One thing immediately catches my attention, the lady, two spots behind me is discussing with her neighbor if she needs to wait as well, she only wants to hand in a transfer document. That is usually done by putting the document into a mailbox, that is not accessible as the Corona guidelines forbid direct access to the “showroom”.
If an employee of the bank would go out regularly and, first of all, answer those questions, or even better, take those items and hand them in, that would help. This person could as well give an update about estimated waiting time and help that people stick to the Covid regulations. In my 45 minutes waiting in line, I saw people arguing about wearing masks and stuff, as this is on the premise of that company, they have a responsibility as well.
For sure, waiting in line is not pleasant, but the moment when you can go to the counter is a great moment in your “customer journey”, especially after waiting for such a long time. In my case I am struck with disappointment: there is an issue that the employee cannot solve, although I had gotten a different statement when talking to an employee in a different branch the other day. That means that I have to leave the bank after approximately 50 minutes with nothing than a big disappointment. I had even begged the employee to call that other person to check with him the statement I had gotten earlier. Person not reachable, I was kindly asked to try to talk that person again.
This is not how you want to get treated as a customer, it leaves you with a feeling that is, at least for me, purely negative. I am not questioning that the employees tried their best but pushing the task back to the customer is not acceptable. They could have helped sorting out the issue directly, within their network and contact the customer as soon as they have a solution.
What can I do, so I leave, drive home, and then write a bitter email to the first employee that had given me a different statement. Within minutes that person calls me on my mobile and is very sorry for the experience I just had. He affirms me that his previous statement is correct and he can handle my request. The downside was that I had to drive to this branch, but the customer experience here was saving the whole experience. It comes down to the employees that execute the strategies that have been called out by the management.
Can all of this be enhanced? Yes, I believe there is always room to improve the customer experience, but for the moment I just want to wish Jessica all the best and that her wedding turns out to be the one she dreamt for her whole life!