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Discovering Customer-Centric Approaches in the Financial Sector

According to Deloitte, being customer-centric can make businesses up to 60% more profitable. But what is ‘customer centricity’? It is commonly known as a business strategy whereby the customer is at the heart and resides in the first place of the organization for the purpose of a positive experience and building long-term relationships.

Customer centricity is the ability of the organization's workforce to grasp the customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. The customer should be at the center of all decisions related to delivering products, services, and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. This strategy is focused on providing a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, enhance customer loyalty, and improve business growth. However, being a customer-centric organization involves more than just providing exceptional customer service.

Customer centricity is important because encouraging a customer-centric environment can grow customer satisfaction and loyalty. This results in stronger relationships with customers, higher retention rates, and an increase in customer referrals. Offering a positive and excellent customer experience allows the firms to stand out from competitors, leading to repeat business.

One of the biggest challenges is digital transformation. It shifts competitive positions acquired with great effort, erases the existing business models, and also offers opportunities to be the leader in digital competition.

Customer expectations are always high, and FinTech players are awaiting the right moment to seize market share. It’s mandatory that the financial sector dedicate itself to understanding its customers on an intuitive level and fascinating them on each occasion. Although technology can help to achieve these goals, without a customer-centric strategy, it is difficult to act.

Anticipating the customers' expectations of the future is a fantastic opportunity for a firm to stay ahead of the digital competition. To achieve that, the customers are involved in the company’s business process at an early stage. Such an approach allows the firm to view the value added to its customers.

Figure 1: Customer Centricity. Source: SuperOffice

Customer-Centric Culture

Brands with customer-centric cultures prioritize approaches and practices that create positive experiences for their customers through their communications, products, and services. Very often, brand loyalty is recorded as the result of customer-centric cultures.

Renata Siwiec
Renata Siwiec

Customer-centricity is more than just asking customers what they want. Customer-centricity requires banks to review what they know about their clients and understand who they are, what interests them, what they value, and what drives them. It is about developing a connection with consumers that is more meaningful than the transactional one that banks have historically had with them. It is a relationship that looks more like a partnership and is responsive to the customer's demands.

Data lies at the heart of this type of relationship. Financial organizations acquire large amounts of data during the client experience, such as throughout the sales cycle, onboarding, customer support questions, and so on. This data, despite having endless

potential, is of little use if it isn’t constantly processed and analyzed.

The Business Model

According to the report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 88% of survey respondents mention that it is important to have a complete and consistent view of their clients across their sales, service, and support channels and platforms. Yet only 31% indicate that they have such an incorporated view. Customer centricity signifies the future of business model innovation, but organizations need a blueprint to integrate CX insights with a combined engagement model.

As per Renata Siwiec, Director, Customer Experience CX Strategy Office at Santander Bank Polska, the best strategy for customer-centric is to involve the customers from the very beginning.

To align the business strategy with customer centricity, the leadership model should be analyzed. Leadership is one of the most essential aspects of creating a customer-centric, customer-focused culture. According to Gabor Bujaki, the Lead Field Payment Sales Consultant of OTP Bank, it is the main responsibility of the leaders to handle and manage the understanding gaps. While a leader cannot build a strong culture on his own, he may disrupt one by rewarding goals and objectives that are not in line with cultural norms.

Gabor Bujaki
Gabor Bujaki

Over the past years, businesses have recorded a drastic change in their sales activities. In today’s business environment, the head of sales is required to be very attentive to details with their customers. An approach is used to not only close a sale but to create a relationship that will generate repeat business. Banks also established international payment networks for both the micro and macro segments. This payment network enables customers to receive payments in any currency to and from any place in the world. Hence, it is significant to collect feedback from high-level customers since the strengths and weaknesses of each bank are not the same. The feedback allows the sales department to better generate their communication.

To summarize, creating a customer-centric organization begins with knowing people and leveraging technology to expand connections with shared value. It's also about leveraging digital platforms to connect with consumers, become more human and relatable, build trust, and stand for something that offers a positive impact not only on relationships and markets but also on society.




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