Over the last week we have seen the banking sector take a fresh blow, with the current crisis in Cyprus and confusion across the EU as to how they will be affected leaving customer confidence at an all-time low.

The story has me fixated and not only because my family actually live in Cyprus, but because I keep wondering, how are the banks ever going to rebuild trust with their customers?

Now this is an extreme example and something that is out of the banks control, but just look at how many times banks have failed their customers recently…

– Technology failures within the RBS group

– Lloyds faster payments system problems

NatWest online banking issues

And those are just the ones we hear about, the list goes on and on.

Ernst & Young Customer Experience

A recent Ernst & Young report found that only 4% of customers think banks have a good understanding of customer experience (way below the industry average of 45%) and 62% of customers think that their banks don’t listen to feedback and take action.

So what can the banks do to ensure that if things go wrong, they will have built up such a level of advocacy that their customers will stick by their side?

Here are my top tips for doing so:

1) Start with the customer journey: When designing a journey make sure that you put the customer truly at the heart of what you do. Most banks use IVR’s because they are a massive cost saving but a recent poll showed that they are the single biggest reason why customers aren’t happy – customers are looking for ease of use, convenience and personal interaction and this should be reflected in the customer journey.

2) Be there for the moments that matter: There will be moments along the customer journey where customers will not only need you to listen but to take action as well – it is at these Moments of Truth where customers are won and lost.

3) Listen to the Voice of your Customers: Customers want to be heard and they don’t want to have to fill out a survey to let you know how they feel. They want to do it in their own words, at their own convenience, and immediately after they have had an interaction with you (when their emotions are at their highest). As a brand you need to ensure you identify the really important touchpoints and proactively ask a customer how they feel, whilst ensuring that you have active feedback capture channels open for customers to voice their opinions whenever they want to.

Customer Sentiment

I was recently lucky enough to hear a presentation from Mike Mullen, CEO of First Direct and I would like to leave you with a quote that really resonated with me:

“What drives us is our belief that the customer should be at the very heart of our business, at the centre of everything we do. We do the best for our customers and sometimes this isn’t always the best for us.”

I wonder how many other banks will buy into this belief and stop being so self-centred. It is only when they do this that their customers will start to trust them again.

What do you think – what do banks need to do to rebuild the trust with their customers?


Mark Mullen, CEO of First Direct will be presenting at European Customer Experience World (ECEW) on the 14th May in London, an event Rapide (www.rapide.co.uk) are proud to be sponsoring.

For more information on ECEW and how to attend visit: http://www.ecew.co.uk