martes, 13 de marzo de 2012

INGdirect or the customer expectations fiasco

I have been customer of ING Direct in Spain for almost a year. Actually, I might have been their customer from two to three years before. They had my data in a application I had sent to them, I had my account number and they were just missing to complete the opening the last step to activate the account. This detail should have warned me against activate it.

Although I am not totally ignorant of companies statistical evaluation systems between services and costs, usually I give more importance to their "intent" a company has in reference to the customer. At least I hope they meet the expectations created, that is the minimum in the customer view, and they know it.

As a customer service consultant, I should be billing at least 300 pounds per hour. But as I have spent so many hours of my time these last days trying to help them solving problems they have caused me, I will offer this text as a tip.

First of all I would like to clarify that these comments have nothing to do with your staff, at least not with the ones the client deals directly, they are good professionals and offer a correct service. Is your system, which in my opinion, is wrong. As a professional in this field, I find it outrageous that a company of its caliber, belonging to a leading international corporation fails (consciously or unconsciously) to a basic level.

Failures on custumer service basics:

- What is promised it must be delivered. The consumer expectations are set in our created expectations to commitment on services/products. With less they will be disappointed.

- In any industry, communication with customers is essential. As per online services, this goes as far as to be the basis of the business. Information and communication can not fail. If we lose confidence, we lose the customer.

- If we are in social networks, the interaction level is already stablished by the network (but for blogs) and it should be immediate. Facebook, Twitter, require immediate answers and the information cycle must be permanent. With less we will be below the customer expectations.

- Online Banking = online communication
It makes no sense that an online banking first communication option offered is a main phone line. And when the phone line does not resolve the issues raised, chaos is guaranteed. Another point that should have made my alarm ring.

- The customer is not always right, but if they are, we have to give in, fix the problem and consider if any compensation is necessary. If they are not, we need to explain why and make sure they understand it.

- The answers/solutions must be offered within a reasonable time. What the customer expects from online banking is an immediate or near-immediate solution (which is not the same than an authomated reply). With less they will be disappointed.

- If the IT system fails, you should be the first to know it and take the initiative in communication. Anticipation is your advantage and what the customers expect. Talk to them, you have the tools and they just want to know.

In short, ING service does not meet the standards offered to their customers. If your numbers work, that is fine, just make sure you are doing the right calculations.

You should expect you have reasonable customers, customers that when receiving a slightly more interesting rate offer will try their luck with another entity (Without a Paddle). Ah, maybe you have heard something about the idea that getting a new customer costs at least 5 times more than retaining a current one.

If you are interested in their customers to stop talking and listen to them.

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