How to think customer-first

  • October 2, 2017

In today’s modern marketplace, few companies will succeed without putting the desires of their customers above all else. In a world that’s increasingly digital-led and multi-touchpoint, this means experience is everything. A frictionless interface is essential, easy onboarding is critical and joined-up systems and processes are vital. All of these are hard for any company to successfully pull off, but becoming customer-centric can happen if you follow this ‘three-point playbook’.

Optimise customer experience across all channels

Modern customers are all about convenience. Wherever they are in the world, they want access to their day-to-day banking, but more than this, they want the highest levels of support. PwC conducted research that looked at the obstacles involved with omni-channel banking. In other words, having multiple touchpoints for your customer, but also knowing how customers can optimise the use of these touchpoints. Banks need to take the approach of improving one customer experience model and ensure this is transferable and rolled out across all systems.

In other words, improving your website to have a strong, instant chat box when someone pops up on your website is great. However, this needs to be taken a step further: creating a more robust customer-centric experience means also having better call centres and branch experiences, while making ATMs smarter and improving the performance of the mobile banking app. Keeping this in mind across every platform through which a customer can engage with the bank will ensure this positive user experience is maintained across multiple touchpoints.

Always have your customer at the forefront of product development

When it comes to their banking, customers need to know that their feedback and best interests have been kept at the forefront of any changes, enabling them to have a seamless experience. PwC released findings from a survey, which revealed that 61% of bankers consider a customer-centric business model a crucial aspect of their organisational priorities. Yet, of those people surveyed, less than 20% said they were actually prepared for it.

With the recent leap to greater technology adoption, it’s evident that some banks are innovating for the sake of being able to call themselves “disrupters”, rather than actually innovating to improve their processes for the customer. They understand that change is imperative to stay ahead, but when it comes to product development, they’re leaving the customer out of the equation.

While technology is enabling banks to offer a richer experience, many forget how to couple the use of technology with the customer firmly in mind. What’s needed is the ability to adopt an artificial intelligence model that proves valuable to the customer; so they’re able to make better decisions as a result of technology that has helped to serve them better. Rather than seeing banks update their products that reflect a self-serving model, inwardly looking on advancements of their own product, they need customer buy-in. Customer buy-in will come from the ability of the technology to make the banking experience more efficient and more helpful.


It’s an age old adage, but listening goes a long way. When it comes to adopting the mindset of your customer, nothing says “understanding” quite like infusing your customer’s feedback into your day-to-day decisions. Learning from other industries, pooling insight from how consumers are adopting to their digital devices, will ultimately lend itself as a resource to KYC (know your customer).

Banks are learning that employees who are empowered on the frontline of client communication will be more likely to deliver better feedback on current customer needs. From the moment they walk through, a customer should feel a certain level of respect and understanding, but also feel free to speak their mind about what they want from their bank. In doing so, bankers will be able to provide more robust feedback that can’t be found elsewhere.

Rarely are service businesses given the opportunity to connect with a customer so frequently, so when given the chance, banks need to take the feedback onboard and do something with it.

The next time you have the inclination to limit your company’s growth to a one-track product mindset, step outside the box and appreciate the value of thinking outwardly first. By answering the questions, “What does the customer want?”, and “How do we get there?”, you will eventually enable banks to be better informed and deliver more on their promises, effectively putting the customer first.

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