Being “customer centric” is so popular across the broader bank workforce at the National Australia Bank that The staff are unable to get any work done because of the constant interruptions.
So said NAB’s head of customer experience design, Louise Long, who spoke yesterday at Forrester Research’s Summit for Marketing and Strategy Professionals held in Sydney.
While flattered and enthused that the ‘age of the customer’ was so pervasive throughout the bank, Long complained that she and her staff were constantly being asked out for a coffee so that someone from legal or risk management or IT or anywhere could “pick their brains about being customer centric”, it became impossible to get anything done.
The solution was to introduce a weekly two hour workshop on Thursday mornings from 9am to 11am called Bounce Thursdays. At these sessions anybody could come along and bounce their ideas of Long’s team and also learn what her team was up to.
Thus with the enthusiasm contained, Long was able to return to her day job, but not before observing that “legal and risk people can be some of the most customer centric people you can find”.
Long told the audience at the Forrester summit that “customers don’t want to buy products, they want relevant solutions to their problems”.
She also said that trying to control the customer experience was impossible because the customer experience took place in their heads. Instead you need to control the moments that a customer intersects with one of your products, like a credit card in her case.
She also said that to deal with customer experience effectively, you needed to step back from the statistics and look at your customers as human beings. “Don’t even refer to them as home loan customers or credit card customers . . . call them Brad or Cheryl.”
One of Long’s key takeaways was that because people deal with money emotionally, you need to find out about them emotionally. For her, that meant asking customers in study groups to draw their finances. She said that when people were able to express themselves creatively, the bank’s insights were sometimes startling.