It’s one of those strange things about my world – every time I criticise a company or Government department the next day they’re nominated for an award (or even actually win something).

It happened with Statistics NZ and the Online Census and now it has happened with Kiwibank.

Kiwibank wins 2006 Sunday Star-Times Cannex Banking Awards
“Kiwibank takes the cake when it comes to providing customers with the best value banking products”

Of course this mentions nothing about the customer experience – value means nothing when you can’t actually get an account with Kiwibank in the first place.

After my last sounding off about my appalling customer experience with Kiwibank (applying online for a credit card) I thought I’d give the  BankDirect website a try…

…at about 4pm I applied online

…within minutes I received an email

…that evening I had a phone call (they had a few questions)

…I had pre-approval by 10am the following morning

You can compare my customer experience roadmap below  – ‘BankDirect vs Kiwibank’.

It’s interesting to note that EVEN if my experience with Kiwibank had gone smoothly, they still would have been a week or two behind their competitor.

Later that day I did get a phone call from the manager of New Business at Kiwibank (who had seen my blog).

He admitted flaws in their system, which included a badly worded letter and “symptoms of a young company” – which for me meant interacting with Kiwibank representatives who acted as though Kiwibank had nothing to do with them (a cultural hangover from the NZ Post employees who are now also banking consultants?).

So “big ups” to Kiwibank for actually listening – I look forward to improvements next time I deal with you! (and yes, I will try again when my mortgage comes up for renewal).

All this made me wonder WHY BankDirect has such an well-oiled machine.

My theory is, it’s because they don’t have branches – ALL their dealings with customers are conducted online, via email, the phone or postage – they HAVE to get it right!

My dealings with the people at BankDirect has been nothing but supreme – not once have I felt as though I was dealing with a ‘system’ or a ‘machine’ – infact I’ve been dealing with the same banking consultant most of the time.

However, BankDirect still have room for improvement.

Their online application forms, while a few years ago would have been leading-edge, are now clunky usability-wise. They are also flakey on Safari and Firefox – some JavaScript issues.

Kiwibank, on the other hand, has more modern web-forms – they’re a lot slicker and cross-browser compliant.

Another criticism is the ridiculous security measures at BankDirect where I’m forced to create multiple passwords in certain combinations and lengths. Like most people who conduct their business online – the fascination with passwords at every corner drives me NUTS.

Applying online for a credit card…
BankDirect vs Kiwibank

 

bdvskbNote: The above diagram and commentary are a representation of my own customer experience, and do not necessarily represent the experiences of other people.