When Worlds Collide: Customer Expectations Meet Mainframe Experience
The quick pace of change in technology is hard for any institution to keep up with, particularly as customers become more reliant on mobile devices. Bank infrastructure is built to be secure and reliable, to process billions of transactions without a single error. Unfortunately, there was a tradeoff when building it. Banks cannot respond to changes as quickly as we’d like.
An interesting case study is the increasing pace of data breaches. Banks can now handle huge breaches in batch. How else could they replace millions of cards in response to large retail breaches and other major incidents of fraud? Customers though, are individuals, not used to being treated as a batch when their personal needs don’t fit the parameters of their grouping.
Efficiency is the Enemy of Experience
One of my cards at a top-three bank was recently compromised. While checking the balance in preparation for a trip, I noticed a second card listed on my account. I called customer service immediately to see if I was a victim of identity theft. They shared that my credit card had been flagged for fraud the day before and the second card listed was the replacement that would be issued to me.
The customer service representative (CSR) explained that it would take a couple of business days for my new credit card to be issued, then another five to seven business days to be mailed. I explained that I would be traveling and needed the card sooner. Thankfully, she was able to expedite the process to deliver my new card two days later.
I requested fraud alerts via text message during my call, but this was apparently not an option, though I never learned why.
My account was already signed up for an email notifications, but that notification arrived two days after my card had been flagged for fraud—the same day my expedited credit card came in the mail. Three days later I received an email stating a replacement card had been shipped to my billing address.
Managing Volume While Caring for Individuals
The bank’s inability to incorporate the batch replacement process into their existing communication channels was discouraging. Frankly, I was concerned by the inability of the CSR and the card issuing departments to work collaboratively. They couldn’t communicate between silos or change each other’s process based on new information. It was a mix of communication and technology limitations. Not only did this cost the bank extra time and money, but it resulted in an unsatisfactory customer experience.
A good customer experience would have been to send an email notice right away about the compromised card and the plans to replace it. An even better experience would be to interact with mobile customers via their app and allow text message alerts for customers who prefer immediate notification. Based on experiences with other companies, most consumers would consider that reasonable.
Surviving the Collision
Advancements in technology have changed consumer behavior; they now expect instantaneous results in every part of their life—including banking. The pace of regulatory changes and breaches also continues to quicken. It is clear that our current approach to keeping up isn’t succeeding. A new model is needed.
Consumers want banks to monitor their finances and act immediately when a threat occurs, but they also want the bank to be a partner who provides financial well-being and peace of mind. New technologies will be as important as new processes to meet these expectations.
A glimmer of hope can be seen at institutions that are embracing innovation centers to experiment with new approaches. This is just one way to encourage innovation and enable institutions to succeed.
Those financial institutions that haven’t embraced a new approach to getting ahead of change are in for the ride of their lives. Consumer patience is shortening and the number of outside forces determined to break bank processes is growing. As our nation’s chief executive recently said, “You don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.”