Is this the end of personalized business banking ?
I just found out that RBS, one of the largest UK based banks, is phasing out its Business Banking Relationship Managers in favour of directing all business customers to a ‘Business Hub’. In an angry post on Facebook, Keith Paton, a business customer, takes the RBS Group to task stating;
As a shareholder in RBS, I am very frustrated. As a customer of RBS I am very very angry. They are phasing out Business Relationship Managers with no warning of the change. I now have to contact the Business Hub for my area, who have no direct telephone number and don’t answer anyway when a “trained adviser” tries to put me through. I have spoken to 4 trained advisers today and none of them could put me through to anyone who could actually deal with my enquiry. All means of contacting my Relationship Manager (with whom I have built up a very good relationship over the last 4 years) have been rerouted to a call centre, including email.
I know they haven’t sat down and properly transferred that knowledge. How can you have a business relationship with your bank when every time you call them, a different person answers? RBS will be getting an invoice for every minute I spend repeating myself on the phone. I will also be recording all of my calls with them from now on for reference. 😦
Business needs a personal touch
In an economy where businesses are in need of personalized attention and advice from someone who understands them, this move by a major bank is ludicrous and is actually a damning statement and example of where operational streamlining and cost saving goes very wrong. In it’s heyday, banking was all about building relationships; you were greeted personally, known personally, dealt with personally.
Now the only reason your name is known is because an automated call-centre script is displayed in front of an advisor because you entered your account number. Cost reduction and continuous improvement exercises have started to focus on removing all human interaction in favour of more rapid customer service. Indeed, with the focus on ‘social’ customer experiences it’s becoming less social and certainly no experience to write home about.
For a consumer banking market this may be relevant given we are all in a hurry these days and just want the basics at our fingertips but not for a business whose challenges are far more complex. A working knowledge of the business and its people is critical. As Keith goes on to state;
2 years ago, they sent our manager in to the office to spend the day with us learning about our business. Not just any app development business, but ours specifically. I thought this was fantastic and it really helped us establish a good working relationship. That is something you just can’t pass on to a call centre.
No trust, no business
Banks have suffered a constant battering of late, deservedly so, because they are no longer a trusted industry. But trust is a two-way street and earning trust means building a relationship. Removing the ability to create that relationship means losing the ability to build trust. And with no relationship or trust, what place is there to ask for advice for a business ?
For Keith and his business it seems that there’s little trust left with RBS.