RBS bottom ranking comes as no surprise!

Management & Growth, News,

RBS has come bottom of the bank league tables for both personal and business banking in a report published by the BBC today. Categories surveyed include customer service, online and mobile banking, overdrafts and services in branches. Less than half of RBS customers said they would recommend the bank to their family and friends. We would agree, having had an urgent conversation with their call centre this week, around a situation that would have been entirely avoidable with a little forethought!

We’d received a letter from RBS, confirming our Direct Debit had been put in place to clear the monthly bill on our RBS credit card. That all made perfect sense, as we’ve had that facility in place for several years. What confused us though, was why they were writing now, as we hadn’t changed anything. On checking the credit card number quoted though, it didn’t match the one on either card.

Had someone obtained our bank details and set up a direct debit to their own card account?

Were we going to be the victims of some strange kind of card fraud?

A call to the RBS helpline explained that we were going to get new cards, and that the direct debt had been seamlessly transferred, so there were no delays in the balance being paid off.

How efficient! 

It would have helped though, and kept our stress levels far lower, if RBS had seen fit to make that the first line of their letter! We knew nothing about new cards, and yet their representative on the phones had already dealt with a number of calls from similarly concerned customers.

Why would a business of that size not think this through from a customer perspective?

Why did someone not consider the impact of receiving a letter like this in the modern environment?

The results of the survey published today become entirely understandable in this context. I understand entirely that RBS have been in a period of flux for years now, and morale must be at rock bottom given the false starts that have been experienced, but this is basic!

The problem is that it’s very easy to lose sight of the impact of your own business decisions on your clients. Decisions made internally will always have an external effect, and clear communication is paramount for your customers to understand the benefits to them.

If RBS had made the first line of their letter an explanation that we would be receiving new credit cards and that they had transferred the mandate to save us the trouble, that would have been a positive for us. Instead we were left with a really negative impression.

Before you send anything out to your clients or customers, read it or listen to it from their perspective. Check it tells them everything they need to know before you send it, and fill any gaps you might find.

Let’s hope the call centres provide RBS with some feedback so that someone can add an extra line to the rest of the letters they’re sending out. Then they may start to rise up the league tables!