Good customer experience attracts new customers

How do you plan the conversation and procedure for opening a bank account at a branch to make the whole process simple and effective?
Scope: Customer experience design using design thinking
Industry: Finance, banking
Duration: 9 months

Executive summary

Challenge
  • For the bank, the strategic priority was to build a new customer base.
  • Growth could have been achieved by acquiring a smaller bank, but the client wanted to focus on organic growth.
  • They saw value and potential in providing customers with a better experience when opening an account at a Bank branch.
Actions
  • We identified key customer segments.
  • We created solutions and tested them to ascertain which best solves the customers' problems and at the same time meets the Bank's expectations.
  • We drew conclusions from the research to define design guidelines.
  • We created solutions and tested them to ascertain which best solves the customers' problems and at the same time meets the Bank's expectations.
Results
  • We developed a completely new process for opening an account in a branch.
  • We proposed 8 tools, including product cards to facilitate a conversation between a customer and an adviser about the Bank's offering.
  • Some of the tools we proposed have become an industry standard.
  • The Bank acquired 185,000 new active customers in less than two years, of which 60% of new customers were acquired through recommendations.

Our Client

In 2014, our client was Millennium Bank, focused on the individual banking sector. Millennium Bank distinguishes itself in the financial market with its approach to personalised banking services, offering a wide range of products and services aimed at individual customers. Known for its innovation and focus on technology, this bank strives to provide an exceptional banking experience that combines traditional service methods with modern digital solutions.

Winning customers through positive experiences

Since 2010, the Bank’s main objective has been to expand its new customer base. To this end, the Bank’s management considered two strategies: expansion by acquiring a smaller bank with their clientele or focusing on organic growth by attracting new customers.

Traditional methods of customer acquisition in the banking industry have often been based on offering attractive financial terms in exchange for opening an account. However, Millennium Bank’s management saw that there was significant potential in growing the customer base by offering a higher quality experience when interacting with the bank.

One of the key areas for improvement was the conversation when opening an account in a branch. Bank executives recognised that there was limited benefit from the process despite the high cost. When opening an account, advisers gave customers many leaflets that were costly for the Bank. Even so, customers still did not remember most of the information they received and the leaflets were often thrown away by them.

Our objectives in cooperation with Millennium Bank

As part of our collaboration with Millennium Bank, our main objectives focused on three key aspects:

  • The first was to ensure that the Bank account becomes the main account for daily banking, and this means that the customer’s salary is transferred to this account. It was crucial to highlight the benefits that this could bring, in a clear and convincing way.

  • The second objective was to match the amount of information provided to customers, to their level of interest and readiness to receive it, and to ensure that conversations were contextualised. Until now, every customer has received the same information, regardless of their needs. This approach was intended to simplify the account opening process, making it clearer and less burdensome for the customer.

  • The final, but equally important, point was to ensure that the new process benefited not only the clients, but also the consultants and the Bank itself. This meant creating a system that is efficient, increases customer satisfaction and at the same time improves productivity.

Research and innovative solutions – the key to customer and employee needs

Understanding the needs and expectations of the Bank and all stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, branch and head office staff, was key for us in carrying out this project. We undertook detailed qualitative research, including observations, interviews and workshops. Our aim in this process was to gain a thorough understanding of the needs and concerns of customers as well as bank branch staff.

In the course of this research, we discovered that the interview process when opening an account can sometimes be cumbersome for both the customer and the advisors. Until now, this conversation was often too complex and too full of new information. This meant that clients were unable to remember all the details, and the process itself involved asking a lot of questions ‘in public’, leading to uncomfortable situations.

We also learned that clients expect bank advisors to be able to adapt to individual situations, and we noticed that there were at least two types of clients: the self-sufficient, who are in a hurry and prepared, and those who are looking for support. Additionally, we understood that customers who open an account want to receive something tangible as physical proof of the account opening.

Based on the data collected and the prioritised problems to be solved, we developed seven key design guidelines. Then, we focused on creating solutions and testing them to ascertain which ones best met these guidelines. In this process, we considered both the benefits for the Bank, its employees and its customers. Our aim was to create solutions that would harmoniously address the needs of all these groups, creating an efficient and rewarding process for all involved.

Creating a simple and clear path using tools and Service Blueprint

The focus of our project was to design a new process that aimed to make the customer pathway simple, clear and understandable. A key element was to create a full Service Blueprint that allowed everyone to understand exactly what was happening at each point in the process, what the key areas to discuss with the client were and what tools were available to use.

From a range of tools, we selected eight that best addressed the concerns of clients and advisers, as well as meeting the Bank’s expectations. These included solutions such as the ‘Two Opening Questions’ to help start the conversation, the ‘Needs Cloud’ with icons symbolising bank products, the ‘Product Pack’ presenting account functionalities in one comprehensive set, cards presenting the offer, a letter to the employer, a summary of activities for the customer, the ‘Joker Card’ and the ‘Welcome Pack’.

Well-designed experiences support the customer acquisition process

After completing our work and implementing the solutions we proposed, the bank acquired 185,000 new active customers in less than two years. What is particularly significant is that 60% of the new customers were acquired through recommendations, demonstrating the high effectiveness of the designed process and tools. This revolutionary change in the approach to customer service not only helped to significantly increase the bank’s customer base, but also strengthened positive feedback and loyalty among new customers.

Together with Innovatika, we carried out the first project at Millennium Bank based on the Design Thinking approach. The involvement and experience of Innovatika’s experts allowed us to develop very simple and very effective changes to the way we conduct a conversation with a bank customer when opening an account. Thanks to a new line of dialogue and several tools to support the conversation, our customers feel that we understand their needs, our consultants are more comfortable working with them and measurable indicators are increasing. As many as 60 per cent of new customers come to us through recommendations, the bank’s active customer base grew by 85,000 in 2015 and we plan to add another 100,000 by the end of 2016. Innovatika was our first ‘teacher’, in the area of designing our customer experience.

Magdalena Macko
 | Quality Department, Millennium Bank

Why does customer experience matter so much?

customers. Such a process focuses not only on meeting basic expectations, but also on pushing the boundaries of traditional approaches to customer service. As a result, companies are able to create unique, personalised experiences that attract customers and encourage a longer relationship.

Today’s market is extremely competitive and customers are increasingly choosing those companies that offer more than just a standard service or product. Therefore, putting a premium on unique and customer-centric experiences is becoming crucial for any business that wants to stand out and build its edge in the market.

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