Human or machine? What First Direct can teach Lloyds

And convenient please ...

And convenient please …

I am mid-way through refurbishing my home and paying lots of bills for all the services and materials I need. For this I rely on two banks to help me, First Direct and Lloyds. One treats me like a human being, the other part of their big business machine. There’s no need to guess which is which. Here’s what I experience:

First Direct – setting up a new payee online is an important service to me right now and with First Direct it is a breeze. Once logged on, three clicks is all that it takes from end to end and I know that money will be in the account of the payee two hours later. I like the ease, the simplicity, and above all, the convenience to me the customer

Lloyds Banking Group – doing the same thing takes considerably longer and involves more steps and more processes (in the name of security). For example, after setting up a new payee, I receive an automated call (would prefer a human if it’s strictly necessary) and I am taken through a quick identity check. At this point (and only if you are around to take the call straight away) is your payment confirmed and ready to be processed

These different experiences make me wonder though if I am a fool putting my convenience ahead of security? Having checked the security statistics though of both organisations, I see that both have similar track records and nothing much sets them apart. So that suggests that First Direct worries about my needs as a customer and that Lloyd’s driver is their own. That’s not good for customer relations or for building long term relationships. It just confirms to me that it’s time to take up First Direct’s bank account switching service and see if it is easy to do as their marketing material suggests.

Another time I phoned First Direct for some help and got through to Craig who talked me through a couple of options for paying for my holiday in Euros. He highlighted the pros and cons of paying either in Euros or in GBPs. He didn’t have to but I found it valuable information that also saved me money. It is a simple example of just how easy it is to deliver good service. I’ve made similar transactions through Lloyds in the past, although the experience always feels like I am being taken through their script, which ends up with a sales pitch for a product I don’t want.

What this shows is how easily my belief in and support for an organisation is reduced or expanded. How about you? Have you any experiences of businesses who get it right and treat you as a human being rather than a faceless buyer?



About Terri Lucas

Partner and Director of Marketing Strategy @hymansrobertson. Frustrated by lack of innovation and creativity in B2B marketing. Passionate about changing that. Otherwise I am a snapper, book worm, foodie, music lover and traveler. These views are my own.
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