Feeling & Finishing, The Key to Banking UX

Those who know me, have witnessed my tug of war with the banking system here in Singapore. As a country with a conservative culture and known as a nation of structure, it has created a number of frustrations in the delivery of banking services for both my business life and personal life. I boldly claimed a few months ago that I was saying goodbye to Standard Chartered after 5 years as a loyal customer, and champion of their efforts in digital. But an ever growing chasm of service segmentation has resulted in my strong desire to find somewhere else to bank. In the same period I've become friendly with DBS, a bank who have attracted some top-shelf talent in recent years. So while working with DBS developing their Innovation program and 'Dragon's Den' for internal ideas, I got a chance to meet a few people that would sway my frustration and convince me to move. But...

Forced to a branch to move business account from @stanchart to @dbsbank. Hope they are better

A photo posted by Scott Bales (@scottebales) on

What is the biggest hurdle to moving banks in Singapore? It needs me to go to a branch, and I hate going to a branch. Although a turn of events triggered action. Yesterday I was with my business services company, Future Books, who mentioned I could complete the SME Account application for DBS online, yes apply online. Woo hoo. That night I sat down for five minutes, completed the necessary application and booked an appointment for the next day at 2pm.


Fail #1. Even with an appointment, I have to take a queue number. #firstimpression


A photo posted by Scott Bales (@scottebales) on

Arriving with excitement, hoping this would run smoothly, I was quickly disappointed. Despite arriving early, I was still given a queue number from the machine. Why the appointment then? We started to slide down a slippery slope, as I looked at my watch 2:25 pm. What would you say if someone was 25 minutes late for a business meeting? I was frustrated! And about to walk out.

Luckily, as I stood to leave, my number was called and I met Eileen. I probably scared her, as she met a frustrated Ang Mo short on time. I had to be out by 3pm.

What happened next turned everything around. Eileen made me feel important, more importantly she took the initiative to push hard through the procedure she had to go through to open the business account. Her drive was electric.

The thing that made everything smooth was I was able to prepare all the documentation they needed online at home the previous night. So the only additional thing she needed was my Articles and Memorandum, which I didn't have. Quick call to Future Books, and they were emailed over. We were back on track.

Despite starting only at 2:27, Eileen had my business account opened by 2:54. That has to be some sort of a record. Earlier in the process, we had already agreed we didn't have enough time to complete my personal account opening, but Eileen still had me complete the necessary paperwork while waiting for the business account. So at 2:55, she says, "I think I can get this open in ten minutes, should we do it?". With excitement and nerves, I agreed.

She didn't disappoint. At 3:07 pm, I left with an active debit card, token for Internet Banking, all linked to my newly opened account. I wanted to high five her, I should have taken a selfie with her. Eileen at DBS' Great World City branch deserves praise.

The process wasn't flawless, but Eileen made me feel engaged throughout. High five to DBS.

DBS started bad, but like anything in life, what matters is how you make the customer feel, and how you finish.

A few recommendations for DBS:

1. I can apply online for an SME account, but not a personal account. The SME process was a delight, use the same for personal accounts.

2. Throughout the application process I need to provide supporting documentations like passport, employment pass and company articles. It would have been even more efficient if I could have uploaded those myself while completing the application. While we are there, do the same for personal account opening.

My offer to DBS:

As a business and personal customer, it's in my interest for you to have better products. I'd happily help with the customer journey mapping to drive the improvement of account opening. You all know me, just give me a call.

If your banking would love explore world of digital and innovation, you can reach me through the contact me at scott@s3b.co