The only way to regain that belief in institutions is through a cultural change that puts customers at the heart of the business and by investing into IT to deliver better service.
So says Anthony Thomson, chairman of Metrobank and chairman of the Financial Services Forum, a talking shop for marketers in that industry which celebrated its tenth anniversary last Friday. “One of the big things from looking back is seeing how the industry has not managed its customer relationships well, which ultimately led to customers distrusting many financial institutions,” he says.
Thomson points out that, “banks don’t have the infrastructure in place to give good service.” But he also identifies a Catch-22 situation for many of the high street banks in resolving this problem: “They don’t have the funds to invest in that infrastructure. Which is good news for us at Metrobank.”
The critical point of comparison for banks is with other high street brands. “They have met the demand for good service in every other aspect of the consumer’s life. If you couldn’t buy your groceries in Sainsbury’s on a Sunday, or buy your TV in John Lewis on a Saturday, you would be up in arms. That is the challenge for banks,” he says.