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Comment: Remember the human touch

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As we continue to implement new processes to ensure that we are protecting data in the right way, it is important to remember the end customer. We can’t afford to assume that one approach suits all and that if they are told to provide information in a firm way that they will automatically respond.

A recent example of this was provided by a friend of mine that I have known for many years. Having held a business bank account for over 15 years with the same bank, he recently received several letters asking him to go online and update the information held on him to safeguard against financial crime. The bank in question explained that it would take some time to complete the task but he could use the live chat facility to ask questions, or phone. In fairness that made sense to me, being well aware of the problem of financial crime. However, the letter went on to say that if he didn’t complete this within three months they would need to give notice to close his account.

As you can probably imagine, the individual involved in this matter wasn’t particularly happy with the threat of account closure after being a loyal business customer for over 15 years.

The letter arrived confirming their decision to close his account, and that they would not revisit the decision. He had two months to move to another bank and they offered to ensure a smooth transition with this!

He is choosing his new bank, not because he wasn’t prepared to provide the information, but he felt the explanation was more about the threat of closing his bank account rather than valuing him as a customer. I am not interested in naming the bank, as the letters were to the point, but I did feel they missed the opportunity to engage with the customer and make him feel valued after 15 years. Instead he felt his business was unimportant to them and that loyalty doesn’t pay, which is a reminder to all of us, that the way in which you look after your customers reflects the culture of the business.

Sally Laker is managing director of Mortgage Intelligence

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