Sit down and prepare to be shocked. I am about to praise my bank.
I have banked with Barclays for over 30 years and have what might be described as an ambivalent relationship with them for all that time. Not bad enough to leave and not good enough to recommend. A pretty sad state of affairs for a huge, global brand.
For some years now I have been a Premier Banking customer, a wonderful, ego massaging title that tends to over promise and under deliver. Over the last 15 years I must have had ten different Account Managers who I was only aware of when a letter advised me that a new one was taking over from the old one. Of course I never actually met either the new or the old one but I suppose it was good to know they existed.
Only one took the trouble to visit me and was genuinely helpful. However, she eventually moved and another introductory message was received, albeit this time by voicemail!
I have long held the belief that the Premier Account is merely a cover to sell me more financial products but I fixed up the meeting anyway. My expectations were low.
The experience, however, was fantastic. She went through all our accounts suggesting ways to consolidate, save costs and earn more interest. She also spotted that our home contents insurance looked high, something we were aware of but had not yet got round to sorting out. My friendly Account Manager noted the renewal date and promised to get a better deal.
You may think that this was the ‘selling’ opportunity I anticipated but the truth was that it was a Barclay’s policy but still in her opinion too high and she is going to get it reduced. Charges related to foreign currency transfers were also spotted and those costs reduced too.
Just as we were thinking that you can’t beat the personal touch, she set about making sure we knew how to use the very smart phone apps linked to personal banking, customer rewards and local offer alerts. It was a masterclass of integrating the human touch to the digital experience that is now part of our everyday interaction with the bank.
Despite my advancing years I have been online banking for years but now, not only are the routine transactions even more simple but I am constantly alerted to the other benefits of being a Barclay’s customer.
I hope I haven’t just struck lucky with an impressive individual and that this is the output of a well-designed, and beautifully implemented customer experience driven by a set of brand values. If it is this will surely build loyalty where there normally is only apathy.
The personal touch and an aligned digital experience. It’s the future.