Foolproof = Customerproof; Fool = Customer

Yesterday Krishnan wanted to download the ShikshaDaan bank statements for a couple of months, so he logged onto the Kotak Bank online portal. The portal prompted him to change his password and he did. Just when he entered the new password, twice, as asked the internet connection broke and the screen froze on that page. When he tried to re-use the password he was told he is locked out and needs to reset the password … So he went to re-generate the password page, answered several questions correctly and finally was told that the new password will be “MAILED” to the address on the account in “8” days ….. We thought we lived in 2015, in an era when nothing came in the mail but everything came on E-mail !!

Then started a 45 minute verbal duel with the “customer dis-service” folks on the phone … End result was still the same, we cannot send the one-time password to your email nor can we let you generate it online. It doesn’t matter that the customer is able to authenticate themselves several times over. What is the fear that the banks have ? And these are largely the Indian banks, will also talk about Citibank and the problem they have, but this crazy system of security that is a lift and shift of the old paper trail system just drives the customer up several walls :(.

I went through a similar situation with my ICICI Bank Personal account and that got sorted only after a senior executive intervened. I had posted on Linkedin that I was struggling with getting my password reset for my ICICI account and immediately got help. Everything at ICICI is linked to the debit card and your phone number … If you don’t use the card God help you. In Kotak, they told us yesterday that we hadn’t given an email id when we opened the account …then after the ruckus, another executive said there is an email id.  To cut the long story short, Krishnan tweeted to Uday Kotak, saying this was becoming really silly and very upsetting. Immediately, we got several calls and finally the one-time password has reached a Chennai branch :):):) because Krishnan said we will be in Chennai shortly. Now we are very appreciative of the fact that the password has been delivered within 24 hours, but what if we hadn’t tweeted to Uday Kotak ?

The Indian system if work seems to function better with escalation and complaints, and especially the banks need to rework their processes to make them customer centric, make it easy for a customer to transact !! Customer loyalty is increased when it’s easy to do business with you. 

Contrasting this with my favoritest customer service experience – the AMEX experience. I wanted to buy a phone and they had a scheme running where ?I could use my points on the Amex card. The vendor could not swipe the card and adjust the points because we had only Krishnan’s card with us at the time of purchase. I called up their customer service line and the person who picked up first wished me for my birthday and when I said this was the problem, he immediately said, just buy the product and you can adjust the points against it online. The line got cut, I got a callback confirming if everything was ok. Two days later I went online, adjusted the points against the purchase and I was done. They are so pleasant to do business with and they never ever make you as a customer sweat !!

Citibank on the other hand, treats me really well when I have a good balance in the account, but doesn’t even return the call when we wanted to setup the ShikshaDaan account. Their online banking system though is fantastic. 

Banks need to get customer centric, the Indian customer is getting smarter and learning new ways of how he/she can get great service – being stuck in old archaic ways of doing things won’t help. I was so upset yesterday that I said the bank’s foolproof security system is really Customerproof – they just substituted fool with customer because we ended up feeling really foolish yesterday dealing with Kotak Bank. 

2 thoughts on “Foolproof = Customerproof; Fool = Customer”

  1. I rated this 5 star just because I totally share your opinion about the AMEX experience. Whenver I get all grumpy about the fee they charge me yearly, I encounter an experience with them, which makes me forget that fee thing wholeheartedly.
    Where do they hire their staff?? and what do they pay them?? I really wonder, because so far it has never felt as if I was speaking to an uptight customer care executive in a seedy call center somewhere. They are just amazing. It is a bit irritating when several businesses refuse to accept AMEX and insist in VISA/Master.

    • Anand, they train extensively and pay very very well. I have hired several Customer service reps from them and have never been disappointed. It’s also about the company culture – Amex regularly features in the best places to work surveys and companies for leaders .. It’s no wonder they are so good. :):)


Leave a Reply