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How do you become customer-centric?

Paul Jennekens

Manager Marketing

6 October 2020

How do you become customer-centric?

Customer-centricity has been a popular theme at Sibos in recent years. It is now clear to everyone in the financial world that creating a positive experience for the customer is key for those who want to be competitive in the future. But how do you become customer-centric? This single question contains several answers, as was shown during the digital Spotlight session at Sibos. Three experts each give a hint on how you can understand your customers better.

“Find a balance between unique regional needs and still deliver on a global promise.” 

Gonca Latif-Schmitt, Global Head of Commercial Cards at Citi

Latif-Schmitt: “Customers are regionally different with a common demand for global reach. For decades, we have been truly focused on globalization. In the global economy, we see a strong desire for consistency that drives the organizational need to invest in platforms capable of reaching the entire world. The rise of globalization is increasingly influencing the global mentality but cannot be seen in isolation from regional sensitivities.

We believe in a global strategy where platforms are global but pay attention to regional differences. We see that it is important to shape products that have a local taste and preference. Customers want regional nuance, not just from a regulatory perspective. One of our challenges is to strike a balance between truly unique regional needs and still deliver on our global promise. Especially in countries where cash is still king.”

“Talent plays a key role in the future, because they define the new customer experience.”

Marie Chinnici-Everitt, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer at DTCC

Chinnici-Everitt: “Despite all its unlimited possibilities, technology is still only an enabler of strategy. It is the people who develop the strategy, engage personally with the customers, oversee their needs and meet their expectations. People own the customer experience. You can’t replace the human touch. Talent plays a key role in the future, because it is the talented people defining the new customer experience.

There are three areas in which human talent can make a difference. The first one is diversity and inclusion. Understanding a customer on a very personal level will help to obtain unique perspectives to solve complex business challenges. Second is organizational agility. The ability of any organization to move quickly, to pivot as needs evolve, and to continue to deliver value throughout the development cycle will play a critical role in the future. Point three is collaboration. The customer of the future understands that working together is more effective than doing things alone, but you need the right talent to make it happen.”

“The trust factor is more important than you think.”

Charles McManus, CEO at ClearBank

McManus: “The trust factor is more important than you think. I recently saw an interesting study looking at the generation between 5 and 25 years old. The question was: would you bank with bigtechs or would you rather do it through a recognized bank? Interestingly, two thirds of the population said, they wanted a proper bank account and certainly would not use Google or Facebook for banking purposes. The reason why? Trustworthiness. They wanted a reliable partner.

When fintechs disappear due to a crisis, everyone returns to a bank to try to get their funding or services back. We still believe that trust is a fundamental part of banking and customer service. Trust is at the core of banking activities.”