In a world that is increasingly becoming dependent on virtual services, an outage of any particular service cannot be entirely ruled out. We are living in a time where banks claim to offer digital services that are becoming part of regular financial activities.
We have seen people turning their mobile devices into mini banks for regular financial activities.
The burden on banks has reduced in comparison to the times when for any financial activity a customer had to visit a bank physically to perform any financial activity.
In the last two decades, banking has witnessed a tremendous change with the advent of technology. There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of people becoming more dependent on e-financial activities.
People have become more self-reliant now. Mobile banking has revolutionised the whole banking industry.
With the growing number of people becoming dependent on e-financial activities, there are concerns about the regular outages in servers and the infrastructure that runs the system.
Although, we need to understand that Internet outages are no new phenomenon, there are technical glitches that take the system down. In recent years, software glitches in digital infrastructure have repeatedly brought down the internet. We have seen Facebook like giant platforms going down for hours.
More recently Instagram, WhatsApp, Amazon and many top giants were down due to some software glitches. Glitches are technically part of regular IT activities but a customer who has planned to pay his bill or fees lately will feel disappointed and outraged when the app goes down that very day.
Recently on an important occasion, something similar happened with the JKBank. The bank faced an outage of their mobile payment banking application.
The bank more often prides itself on offering internet-based services to customers through advertisements but unfortunately, they are marred by outages. The app that comes with the slogan “delight” left customers “un-delighted” on the eve of Eid-Ul-Fitr.
These are the special occasions when customers expect a smooth flow of digital services without any hindrance or problem from the bank side. Unfortunately, the bank has failed miserably.
The customers were perplexed upon accessing the mobile app as the app kept continuously giving error - “unable to connect to the server”. The customers were left with no way of making and accepting payments for at least three days.
What was more surprising, despite what had happened on a very important occasion, the bank justified the outage in their press release by saying the bank disbursed the amount in crores. Obviously, they had to disburse, that’s the very task of banking. A customer has every right to withdraw the amount he had saved in their accounts.
Since then, despite repeated complaints by customers on social media, the bank has taken no steps to address the glitches that are taking the app down. The app going down regularly has become a norm and often the server remains on maintenance mode, pushing thousands of customers to look for other options.
Customers are frustrated by the bank’s unwillingness to explain the problems. Rather than the bank issuing an apology to customers, its officials in a wanton attitude often justify the outage.
It’s the responsibility of JK Bank to address this issue, else it will prompt RBI to act if the customers complain to RBI. The bank has a responsibility to look into the issues that frustrate the customers as the primary concern of banking is to make customers satisfied. There is growing dissatisfaction among the locals who see JK Bank as one of the worst service providers. If these issues are not addressed on time, then the time is not far when we see JK Bank losing customers.
More recently, HDFC faced a similar issue. RBI was prompted to prohibit the bank from rolling out any new digital offerings as well as any new credit cards. I hope that does not happen with JK Bank. The bank is in no position to handle such a ban from the RBI. It’s high time for the bank to look into the capability of their infrastructure and look into the issues that commonly arise.
Yasir Altaf Zargar is currently working with a bank on Rural Self Employment.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.