Kiwibank’s Secret Formula?

For the last six weeks I’ve been working as an undercover agent – posing as a new customer for Kiwibank – New Zealand’s big little bank.

Secret Spy Profile

Having been a customer of several other banks in previous occupations, at first I found this assignment a cinch. The undercover role was surprisingly similar to my own life – that of a 30-something year old male, with a mortgage, two kids and an overdrawn credit-card with a crippling interest rate of over 19%. I also happened to like the colour green – so this assignment was right up my alley.

My Mission

Short Term Goals

  • To experience Kiwibank customer service
  • To reduce my credit card interest rate
  • To transfer my credit card to Kiwibank

Long Term Goals

  • Transition to becoming a full Kiwibank customer
  • To move over all my accounts over to Kiwibank
  • To transfer my home loan to Kiwibank

WEEK ONE

To get familiar with what I’d be up against I investigated Kiwibanks mortal enemies.

The one in blue seemed harmless, but the one in black was enthralling with tempting offers and upfront attitude. I admit, I nearly turned to the dark side. But NO. I remembered my mission, my undercover persona – and I like green – stay with the green…

To ensure my cover wouldn’t be blown I trailed the web network to access the bank’s online application for credit card transfers.

It was all too easy – the electronic door was wide open – I was in!

15 minutes later my application was complete… Now I just had to sit back and wait for the card to arrive in the mail.

WEEK TWO

Anxiously and with some excitement I checked my letter box daily.

By week’s end – still nothing. Were they onto me already?

WEEK THREE

At last! A letter!

Using my special polypropylene gloves I opened the letter to reveal a request for information… it went something like this:

To be able to continue with your application we need some more information from you. Please provide us with the following:

Bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account.

kbank  

Ah, tricksters! They are testing me right? OK – I can play their game.

Doning a convincing customer persona I visited Kiwibank in Manners Mall, Wellington, clutching my bank statement   no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account.

There’s a long queue of people and signs everywhere saying “postal transactions only”.

Eventually I approach the lonely counter with a Kiwibank logo. A grumpy face greets me as I hand over the bank’s letter and my bank statement.

“What’s this for?”

“It’s explained in the letter – the bank has asked for bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into my account”.

The customer service looks confused.

“We don’t deal with these here”.

“Oh?” I reply. “Where am I supposed to take it?”.

“…I suppose I’ll have to send it away”.

I ask if they can photocopy my bank statement. Grudgingly the face of customer service goes out the back while irritated looking customers queue up behind me.

WEEK FOUR

Anxiously and with some excitement I checked my letter box daily.

WEEK FIVE

At last! A letter!

Using my special polypropylene gloves I opened the letter to reveal another request for information… it went something like this:

To be able to continue with your application we need some more information from you. Please provide us with the following:

Bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account.

Ah, tricksters!

They are really are testing me right? (or trying to get rid of me…?)

I’m feeling the pressure now.

I ring the bank… it went something like this:

“Our normal business hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm”

So, I email the bank…

A few days later I get a phone call.

“It says here that you need to provide us with the following – bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account”.

“I’ve already done this – I took it to the Manner Street branch two weeks ago”

“Oh – it’s not showing up here…”

“Kiwibank took a photocopy of my account statements”

“Oh – actually, it says here that we DID get them …but that we need further information…”

“What information do you need?”

“It says here that you need to provide us with bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account”.

“But I’ve already done this”

“Can you do it again?”

“Actually, I’d rather not, I’m very busy and besides, you ALREADY have a copy of my bank statements no older than 3 months showing wages/salary going into my account”

“Oh – OK… I’ll tell them we already have it”

WEEK SIX

Anxiously and with some excitement I checked my letter box daily…

I phone Kiwibank during normal business, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

“It says here that you need to   provide us with the following – bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account”.

“I’ve already done this – I took it to the Manner Street branch several weeks ago”

“It says here that we did get them but that we need further information…”

“What information do you need?”

“It says here that you need to   provide us with bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account”.

“But I’ve already done this!”

“Can you do it again?”

“OK OK! I don’t see the point since you ALREADY HAVE WHAT YOU ASKED FOR – but I’ll do it AGAIN”

YESTERDAY

Doning a convincing customer persona I visit a Kiwibank in Panama Street, Wellington, clutching my bank statement   no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account, AS PER THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE LETTER.

I hand over the bank’s letter and my bank statement.

“What’s this for?”.

“It’s in the letter – the bank has asked for bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account”.

“I’ll have to send it away”.

Ah, that old trick. I ask if they can photocopy my bank statement. Irritated looking customers queue up behind me.

Customer Service returns.

“Now, I’m not sure if the bank will accept this”.

“Why?”

“Well, although the bank HAS asked for bank statements no older than 3 mths showing wages/salary going into account… …this is a JOINT account. We need an account with JUST your name on it.”

I’m thrown – they’ve got me this time.

“So what am I supposed to do, close my
joint account and open a new account then get my wages put into it?”

“I’ll ring the bank…”

On hold for at least five minutes (this is the bank calling themselves!). Irritated looking customers queue up behind me and are almost spilling onto the street.

“We need an account with just your name on it. You need to prove these are your wages, even though these wages are going into your account. Problem is, it’s a joint account”.

Dumbfounded silence and fuming.

“Is there anything else I can provide? Like a wages slip or something?”

Customer Service consults Customer Service on the phone.

“Yes, they’ll take a wages slip – so long as it has your name on it. Can you bring this in?”.

Yes, but…

By now they’d broken me – they win – I quit!

I QUIT! YOU WIN!

Flabbergasted I wove past the irritated looking customers who had queued up behind me and were spilling onto the street.

Back at the secret hideaway I pondered my past few weeks of the Kiwibank customer experience – and then it dawned on me – I had cracked it! The Kiwibank secret formula for CRM (Customer Relationship Management)!

And here it is, in public, for the first time:

crm

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