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Banking on customer centricity
Banking customers everywhere are feeling distressed, despairing at terms of contracts they cannot understand, taken aback by hidden costs, and fumble at negligence of their complaints. More and more people are viewing the industry as self-centered and greedy, decreasing customer confidence even further.

To regain this lost trust, banks should take a new path, a path that focuses mostly on the customers, making them the core of all the bank’s activities. Other industries achieve huge success, dedicating their whole work towards their customers (i.e. customer centricity) and therefore banks have a chance to boost customer satisfaction and establish real trust based on mutual benefit, and thus, achieve a nonstop growth and above-average profitability by such customer-centric transformation.
  
It is hard to find tailored services and products and most banks barely understand the actual needs of their customers. There are constant complaints on poor advice, high interest rates, or customer support issues, and they are spread all over the news and media outlets in a depressing rate, especially with presence of the internet and social media as basic tools of this era. 

Banks must understand that there is no room left to develop services and products without heeding customer needs and demands, and that the future belongs to banks that apply customer centricity in their business model.

At Imagine Grp, we conducted studies that revealed there are six practices banks and financial institutions can follow to build customer centric communications.

The first is a multi-channel perspective that uses the internet, mobile apps, and social media, and depends less on print-based communication outlets. This approach enables a bank or any other kind of company to reach and engage with customers everywhere in return for so little money compared to using print media.

Second, you must consolidate data that could be in the call center, in sales and transactions or on web portals across the entire customer lifecycle with the ability to capture and integrate the data that is most pertinent to the customer experience and describe an ideal experience that anticipates the kind of information a client is seeking at various points of engagement.

The third is developing a customer-centric focus that looks at all aspects of the customer journey, making sure that there is nothing internally, either culturally or technically, that could hinder any process.

The fourth is to empower the employees closest to the customers, the ones who understand most what customers need; sometimes that requires a whole cultural shift within an organization.

Fifth, becoming proactive; which means a bank can rapidly update messages as business needs change, unhindered by technology. The proactive approach requires communication creation, management and delivery tools that are integrated in the business processes so stakeholders can easily design and execute campaigns.

The sixth and final practice is to be realistic in regard to plans, building a fluid strategy that copes with the market and customer needs as they constantly change.

The following figure explains the difference between banks that follow the previous six steps and banks that follow the traditional model:



Successful transformation towards a customer-centric company starts with a diagnosis of the status quo. The transformation framework can provide a first grid for a thorough assessment. The "10 timeless tests of customer centricity" can serve as an objective discussion platform for such an endeavor. The answers provide clear indications of the bank’s current status on the way to its customers’ hearts and minds. At Imagine Grp, we developed a short three-week diagnostic tool about these questions to determine the answers using a sound fact base. Having this diagnostic in place could be the starting shot to embarking on a both exciting and profitable journey into the future.

The following figure clarifies the “Ten Timeless Tests” :