Case Study

Big 4 Bank making it all about customers


Client need

To In an industry facing unprecedented regulation and competition from nontraditional players, while customer and community sentiment is at an all-time low, financial services providers are being challenged to navigate the way forward; balancing their ethical considerations whilst continuing to drive

Customer expectations have shifted and how customers engage with financial services providers is much more segmented than ever before. Services range from those that are considered hygiene in nature and demanded on a self-serve basis to the other end of the continuum, where highly personalised solutions are sought and customers are willing to pay due to their differentiated value.

Regulations have driven a focus on compliance behaviours, often at the expense of engagement with customers; leaving customers feeling unheard and disconnected from the service they seek. The overwhelming findings of the Royal Commission have also identified significant misconduct where
delivering for the shareholder has eclipsed the reasonable rights of other key stakeholders, particularly customers and the community.

There has been recognition of the need to bring greater focus to the customer for a number of years, but too often those initiatives have stopped short of fully aligning the organisation’s focus.

For one big 4 bank, their unwavering vision is to be recognised as one of the industries’ great service companies. They recognised that it was the actions of their people that would determine their success and that a fundamental shift in behaviour was needed to drive a service revolution. This would take time and require ongoing efforts to facilitate a mindset shift, together with top down leadership alignment to deliver on their vision.

The work they had been undertaking was certainly having an impact, but relied on the interpretation and application by each person. This resulted in variances in consistency and speed of change hampering the overall impact.

The solution

Recognising the need to accelerate an unconditional focus on the customer, their desire was to implement a conversational approach and operating cadence that would support the customer and equip their leaders, bankers and support teams with the requisite mindsets, capability and alignment to
execute. The customer oriented focus of conversation was paramount, with the premise being that doing the right thing by the customer would also deliver on its compliance obligations. Whilst there was recognition that many best practices existed in pockets of the business, this initiative was about one
unified way of engaging customers, not individual ways.

The approach aspired to deliver on the following four objectives:

  • Structured approach for all bankers to build relationships with their customers that would help them deliver on their business and personal priorities
  • Common and consistent customer experience across the bank
  • Conversation model that drove less variance in customer needs to meet and improve customer advocacy and NPS results

To support the bank through this major strategic initiative, BTS was chosen for our vast organisational knowledge, deep industry acumen, truly customer focused methodologies and track record in delivering to large audiences in compressed timeframes. The first phase, Immersion, included extensive
cross functional engagement to ensure that each customer touchpoint was well considered and addressed. The overwhelming consensus was that the conversation must be focused on the customer and what success looks like for them. Also, by adopting that focus of acting in their customers’ best interests, this would by design also meet their compliance obligations.

The immersion phase culminated in the conceptualisation of the journey and specific segment requirements.

The audience included 2,500 personnel in the Business and Corporate banking segments and incorporated Commercial, Agri, Regional banking, SME, Specialist segments and their support functions. All personnel, including the CEO, his leadership team, every leader and banker completed the journey to drive a consistent, repeatable and reliable customer experience.

The Design phase encompassed the development of segment specific scenarios and artefacts, to aid alignment and support the mindset shift whilst building capability.

The learner journey was a 5-stage approach that ran over an 8-week period:

  1. Readiness – Engagement of leaders and bankers in setting expectations, infield observation and assessment to inform current bench strength, aid awareness and build motivation
  2. 2-day workshop – Discovery based experiential workshop to unpack core customer conversational methodology and tool sets
  3. 1-day leader workshop – Focused in building conversation acumen mastery to role model, mentor and coach
  4. Go–Do’s – Business as Usual application of the skills with leader and peer assessment, and feedback
  5. 1-day simulation – Capstone event to consolidate the learnings and receive expert critique in a competitive team-based environment through interaction with simulated customers

Post-journey business as usual activities included:

  • Leader led skill building sessions and one-on-one coaching session incorporated into weekly operating cadence sessions
  • Joint field work
  • Quarterly in field observations
  • Annual leader certification

Customer perspective – “Trust based engagement where I feel heard and understood. There is a focus on what I’m trying to achieve from both a business and personal perspective, and how I can be supported. These conversations are different, the banker is prepared, shares relevant insights, the focus is on me, it is not about being sold to, nor transactional. They are in it for the long haul through the ups and downs. I have a consistent experience each time I interact, its repeatable and I can rely on what the team say and do. I tell my colleagues and friends about the experience and I’m happy to refer to

Banker perspective – “I enjoy spending time with my customers and supporting them to accelerate the results they seek. I am prepared, having reflected on prior conversations, crafting relevant insights so that I add value and meeting with me is seen as valuable. Where I meet customers with my colleagues
we follow a consistent process, we are clear on our roles and how we jointly bring value, and we welcome each other’s feedback. When compiling credit submissions, I’m able to provide a comprehensive account of the customer now and in the future, and the likely impact of future initiatives. It’s easier to
deliver for my customer and my approach is more sustainable for me from a business and personal perspective. My customers call me and seek me out for my expertise and experience. I’m part of their inner circle.”

Leader perspective – “I’m really clear on what great conversations sound like. I have a regular and consistent cadence with the team and I’ve been able to better understand my team and their bench strength. We have a shared understanding of what we are working towards and I am purposeful
and consistent with my coaching. When meeting customers with my team, I’m clear on my role and I support and enhance the banker’s value and our proposition.”

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