-Anthony Ryman, brand consultant, for an op-ed in the Edge Magazine, a local business publication, about the state of Qatar’s banking services.
Citing recently released research, Ryman argues that because many Qatar residents are not happy with their banks, companies should rethink their strategies for wooing customers.
According to technology company Sungard, less than half of customers recently surveyed in Qatar feel that their banks understand their needs, even though some 95 percent still visit their branches regularly.
About half also said mobile and online services need improvement. And more than a quarter of customers surveyed said they were dissatisfied with how a complaint with their banks was resolved.
Ryman doesn’t cite examples, but a good case in point would be the lack of communication and transparency HSBC customers experienced earlier this month.
A few weekends ago, thousands of customers in Qatar and other GCC nations found themselves unable to use their debit cards after a “technical problem” hit the bank’s electronic network.
No alerts were sent out to these customers about the problem, or its subsequent resolution, prompting complaints from residents about the inconvenience and threats to move to other banks.
There are certainly many other choices. According to Ryman, Qatar, which is home to 2 million people, has 18 different banking institutions. But it’s very hard for residents to distinguish between them:
“We are overbanked…I urge you to try putting your finger over the logo on a (banking) advertisement and then guessing which bank it is, as the ubiquitous family photo with a smiling child in a perfect family setting beams out at you.”
To stand out from the pack, Ryman suggests banks concentrate on improving the customer experience. He urges companies to move beyond the “functional,” such as credit card and loan offers, instead cultivating “relationships,” in the context of customers’ financial futures.
His advice for greater transparency and relevance seems like it could to many other industries in Qatar, for which customer service is key.