• Check the ICICI bank facebook page and you will not find a single consumer complaint. Now isn’t that fishy?
• Axis bank facebook page do have a lot of consumer complaints with no response. Only ‘kind words’ are responded to.
• Axis bank corporate banking user interface online has been so badly designed. For the first time user it is frustrating
• HDFC bank has 16 boards 29 followers and 370 pins on Pinterest. What is it doing on Pinterest? Does it need to be there?
• Go to Axis Bank, JM Road branch in Pune. The security guard is chewing mawa most of the time and spitting it into the spindly leafless potted plants at the entrance. The interiors are smelly and forever crowded. Chairs wobble and are stained beyond recognition.
Using a bank prior to the advent of private banks was like entering a government office. Transactions were painful, time consuming and frustrating. A tall glass partition separated the customer and the bank. We just accepted it. As customers we had no expectations either, and those banks did not create any. Neither did they spend much money on brand building. In many ways they were honest and straightforward.
Then came the private banks with their slick packaging. Gracious spaces with relationship managers and all the frills. Using every tool, every platform to create the most warm and emotional image of being perfectly trustworthy and honest. A lot of us got captivated and opened accounts. In their quest to add numbers, they would go out of their way to open accounts. Gone were the glass partitions. Instead there were lounges, tea and coffee served etc. The honeymoon had begun.
It has been more than 10 years now. Some of the private banks have become huge. In their greed for big money, one has seen a distinct change in the way they function. The relationship officers are most of the time peddling gold coins, mutual funds and insurance policies where they stand to gain. There is no sincere financial advice. Also gone is the small talk, tea coffee madam? Instead small customers are classified as cattle class, and they are brazenly unapologetic for their attitude towards them. Other touch points have been worn off their sheen and gloss. They have taken their bigness for granted.
What is most surprising is that there is no integration of customer database to provide value to their existing customers. For instance, if you are a HDFC home loan user, HDFC bank has no clue about it.
Being on various platforms of social media and conducting promotions does not mean that these brands are engaging with their customers.
Recently some of the banks were in the news for wrong reasons. Their corporate communications department immediately issued pretentious statements instead of being frank and admitting to their mistake.
As net banking becomes popular, it would commoditise banking. How do they intend to differentiate and live up to a brand promise.
So what is it that ails these brands?
• Brand’s core values remain on paper
• No brand differentiation
• They are not communicated well internally.
• The brand does not walk the talk.
• Bottomline driven and not customer driven.
• Growth towards volume and not value
• Transactional rather than engagement
• No differentiated strategy for ORM (Online Reputation Management)