Banking on Customer-centricity

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

To regain this lost trust, banks should take a new path, one 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 nonstop growth and above-average profitability through this 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 the presence of the Internet and social media as the 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 Group, we conducted studies that revealed there are six practices banks and financial institutions can follow to build customer centric communications.

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 out to and engage with customers everywhere in return of so little money compared to using print media.

Second comes consolidating 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 most pertinent to customer experience and describe an ideal experience that anticipates the kind of information a client is seeking at various points of engagement.

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

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

Fifth is to become pro-active. This means banks should 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.

Sixth is to be realistic about plans. This means 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 Group, we developed a short, three-week diagnostic tool about these questions to determine the answers using a sound fact base. Having this diagnosis tool in place could be the starting point to embark on both an exciting and profitable journey into the future.

The following figure clarifies the “Ten Timeless Tests”:

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