Thursday, October 09, 2003

ABN AMRO: pilot or operations first?

Today ABN AMRO released this press release explaning that it is teaming up with Douwe Egbert (DE, a coffee label here in the Netherlands) to open a Café DE in a brand new ABN AMRO bankshop in the centre of Enschede on 20 December 2003. The pilot represents a next step in the further development of their bankshop concept.

By adding Café DE to our bankshop, we hope to make the bank even more inviting for our customers. It also gives us a chance to discuss the customer's banking needs in a more informal setting.


The bankshop will have the same opening hours as the surrounding shops, which means that it stays open longer and will also be open on late-night shopping days and Saturdays.

The announcement comes at an interesting time. Right now I am on the receiving end of payment from an ABN AMRO customer. This customer informs me that at this very moment no payments can be made. Customer service of ABN AMRO informs him to try again tomorrow. Apparently the systems are down since yesterday evening when this customer first tried to arrange for the credit-transfer by phone.

So if we generalize these two events, we can draw up an important lesson from payments industry. Pilots are a very good thing to test the waters. But pilots should never stand in the way of the continuity of core operations such as payments.