8 October 2012

Brilliant basics are essential in good service: a study of a banking failure

Is the key to banking customer service being “socially useful?”


This was the question posed last week by the new Chief Executive of one of the UK’s leading – and most complained about – banks, Barclays.

BBC News (4/10/12) reported Mr. Antony Jenkins as saying "I do believe that Barclays has a significant job to rebuild trust - but I'm also confident that we can," Mr. Jenkins is reported as saying "It goes back to what we do: if we serve customers and clients in a way that is socially useful, then we will rebuild that trust."
I have some news for Mr. Jenkins. It’s not a battle with social usefulness that lies at the heart of Barclays problems with customer trust.  It’s more likely to be a lack of performance in the basic essentials of delivering a competent banking service. Forget the social humble pie as a route to mitigating Barclays culpability in the LIBOR rate fiasco, try repeating “brilliant basics” until the concept has hit home.

A harsh assessment?  Let’s use a recent complaint from my own experience to illustrate why "brilliant basics" matter in customer service, and why Barclays are missing the mark on the simple stuff.