I recently overheard a frustrated Lean specialist lamenting that her employer, a large Canadian bank, will never support the level of change that Lean requires. Given the recent behavior of the Canadian retail banking industry, I’m wondering if the root cause is not ignorance, as often assumed, but a lack of commitment to customer value.
Survey results seem to bear this out. “Record profits for retail banks in Canada are being achieved at the expense of customer satisfaction as customers report increased fees and reduced levels of service in the branch and on the phone,” says the J.D Power 2015 Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, which was released last July.
According to the study, the average wait time to see a teller jumped in the past 12 months from 3.8 to 5.7 minutes, and the average wait time to talk to a phone rep increased from 3.7 minutes to 6.5 minutes. All the while, fees were going up.
Lean is a long, difficult quest to improve the value that customers willingly pay for. It’s no wonder that the Lean specialist’s superiors have no appetite for this.