Magazine article Marketing

Why Banks Should Take Lessons from the Supermarkets

Magazine article Marketing

Why Banks Should Take Lessons from the Supermarkets

Article excerpt

Those readers - and I am sure there are many - who are convinced that all advances in technology are the work of the devil are about to have their prejudices confirmed. I don't like doing this, as I'm a bit of a big kid when it comes to flashing lights and whirring noises, but I'm left with no option. That's one surprise. The other is that I'm about to praise a clearing bank. Perhaps you'd like to sit down now.

Barclays was one of the first high street banks to get into telephone banking in a big way, with its Barclaycall service. Here at last was a bank working out what customers wanted and giving it to them at a price they could afford, which in my case means free. All I had to do was memorise a password and give the bank some other personal stuff only I would know. Then, whenever I called, I spoke to a friendly operator who 'took me through security' and then asked how he or she could help.

It was a splendid service. I could use it to pay bills, and the system would remember the account details so that, until recently, all I had to do was say "pay Orange [pounds]27.50", the operator would ask me which day, and that would be that. I ended up doing much of my banking from my car on the long, slow crawl into the office.

To me, this looked like a sign that the bank was finally putting consumers first - making banking easier, while simultaneously easing the strain on the branch network. Lately, there have been more signs of new thinking at Barclays: the Additions Account, and in particular the tie-up with Microsoft Money, itself a coup with long-term benefits that have yet to be realised. …

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