How to address customer pain points in banking

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A pain point is anything that causes a customer to harbor negative attitude towards a business, product or service. For banks, pain points can negatively affect reputation and subsequently the revenue and bottom line.

Alternatively, they can be used as avenues to identify areas that require attention; where changes need to be made. They help come up with better customer solutions.

The question therefore remains whether banks are able to give customers what they want. Also, how they want it and where they want it. Gone are the days when banks dictated rigid terms and conditions,  even for something as simple as opening a bank account. Customer focus has changed the industry.

Research shows that customers are happiest when they get great omni-channel experiences from their banks. The channels should be interconnected and easy to use. Customers feel frustrated when they have to start over between these channels.

Lack of personalized customer experiences in the branches is another pain point. If addressed appropriately, this can turn around the numbers. Branch staff need to be highly trained on customer service. One aspect of this is in dealing with pressure that comes with the job of being ‘nice and helpful’ to everyone.

Customers want customized solutions

Many customers, through general feedback, usually have a suggestion or two on changes that they need made. Unfortunately, a lot of them turn to social media to air their grievances. They believe that this is the only way to get any attention to their issues. Customers want the option to customize their own solutions via the various channels offered.

This could be a far reach. But with advances made every day in digital banking, it could be a reality in years to come. Banks need to however have stable systems that do not cause embarrassments and inconveniences to customers

A good example is the payment channel using ATM cards. Sometimes when systems are not stable, the machines act up and transactions are declined. Customers then have to have cash ‘backup’ just so to proceed with whatever transaction they were completing. This could be pointed out as one of the greatest of pain points for customers. Addressing the stability and reliability of payment systems, like ATMs, could be a key to customer retention.

High fees are also a pain for customers. This is especially the case in digital banking. This may be due to the reliance on third parties to provide such services. However, some banks in Kenya have led the way in thinking out of the box to own the platforms. This could be seen as a game changer. Although, few banks are willing to deep their feet in those waters, choosing to watch and learn.

READ: WHAT CAN BANKS DO TO MEET THE FINANCIAL NEEDS OF WOMEN?

A bad habit by banks, that I must mention, is constantly messaging irrelevant information. They should instead use the amounts of data they hold to improve product and service suggestions. Banks should not only send you messages of your dormant account that needs activation. Instead, they could curate data that shows you relevant information. An example is when you pay using your card. Banks can send you messages on how to keep your card safe.

Unfortunately, research shows that banks are placing more importance on cross-selling and brand awareness. This suggests that many of them are ignoring the major pain points afflicting customers.

Banks in Kenya need to change and be proactive. This means identifying issues before they arise and making the needed changes. Customer issues should not be secondary to marketing demands. This can only be ensured through constant engagement with the customers and providing well curated products. Bundling products that are irrelevant, to a customer, causes mistrust and results in the break of relationship goodwill.

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Winnie is a freelance writer specializing across a broad range of topics. She is also a full time banker at Co-operative Bank of Kenya.

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