Barclays, not so Digital eagles
So I had the rare activity of paying in a cheque today. For those of you that haven’t visited a Barclays Bank for a while, they have taken a very positive and what I think brave route of having less/no cashiers and more portals to conduct your every day banking activities. I support the use of technology to streamline activities and make life easier for the customer. However, and this is my gripe, that changes should not be at the expense of customer experience.
The old way was to complete a paying-in slip and give that to a cashier who would check it and process it and they would also ask you if there was anything else they could help you with. This then moved to completing a paying-in slip and putting it in the safety box in the wall. However, the latter, as I was told today, led to lots of mistakes and no way of proving that the money had been paid in.
The new process is to use your card to identify you, insert the cheque into the scanner and then deposit the cheque. All great ideas, except it takes longer to do this than completing a paying-in slip! Three of the portals out of the four portals were not working today, yet I was still encouraged to queue up. Being in a hurry I decided to complete the paying-in slip using method two – the result was me leaving with a smug smile on my face as the queue had not moved.
Technology that works for the customer
Onto a positive experience of using my Tesco card recently when re-fuelling my car. Opting to pay at the pump I was asked for my loyalty card and then asked if I wanted to use my 4p off a litre offer. Most certainly was my response, leading to a substantial saving and encouraged me to revisit Tesco again for fuel. I still had the option to interact with a cashier if I needed or wanted to but what I had was choice.
So I’m not against automation of services, but I don’t think it should apply to all customer interactions. Each company needs to work out what is best for their customers and then apply a process that provides a positive experience every time. Which led me onto thinking how else new tech can be used to improve customer experience.
iBeacons in retail
Another way of improving the customer experience is via iBeacons. iBeacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to connect with the customers smartphone to trigger an action on the device such as a check-in on or a push notification to promote an in-store offer. The information pushed to the customer is contextually relevant to the physical space occupied by the beacon. Interactions with the customer can be logged and recorded to provide businesses with a wealth of micro-location based analytics.
Retailers are leading the way on using iBeacons with Macy’s having more than 4,000 devices planned to power engagement and marketing efforts throughout the department store chain. Macy’s is providing information such as personalised department-level deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards.
JetBlue airline improving customer experience via tech
The airline industry suffers from a poor customer experience in the airports. Where else would you make a customer queue to check in a product they had already brought, walk a distance to then be scanned, searched (some times belt/shoes off some times not) then walk another long distance to actually get to the product they bought, the actual flight. Former CEO of InterContinental Hotels, Andrew Cosslett, bought this issue up back in 2007 and yet still we have an archaic system.
So its good to see an airline that is trying to make this experience better. JetBlue has taken big steps in this area starting with their Auto Check-In process, where customers are automatically checked into their flight 24 hours before departing, assigned a seat based on previous preferences and sent a boarding pass – all without logging into a computer or the mobile app. They introduced their own wifi called Fly-Fi which allows customers to use the internet whilst Flight attendants use it to see seat allocation and customer information as well removing hard copy inflight manuals.
Author: Henry Sanford
Henry is an experienced online communications consultant who has worked with a number of FTSE 100/250 companies, helping them to communicate with their key stakeholders whilst maximising their use of data to generate informed decisions and increased engagement with customers. He heads up our Digital and Corporate Reporting teams, and is interested in all gadgets that make life simpler. Recent projects include an international product launch across Europe, Middle East & Africa as well as leading a large data integration project in the UK.
A fan of all sports, he is often seen supporting the Exeter Chiefs most weekends but without the headdress and tomahawk!