Even with its market-leading position, the company wasn't content.
KBC becomes latest to cut mortgage rates in boost for borrowers
It wanted to build sustainable, profitable, long-term relationships with his customers. KBC is sure it will reach that goal by building on the value of its customer base. Here, KBC Belgium General Manager Rudi Peeters explains how the company has weathered economic uncertainty with its unwavering commitment to its customer strategy. Customer Strategist: How is the customer landscape changing within the banking industry? Rudi Peeters: Customers are more critical, less loyal, and more informed.
Therefore, you need a client-centric strategy and approach more than ever. That's the only answer. A product or price approach is not enough anymore to get loyal customers and long-term relationships. Eve ryone, not only in the banking industry, is aware that being client-centric is the way to go to get more efficient, more profitable, and more loyal customers. That propelled KBC's decision to be more customer-focused.
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We don't want to be a bank competing on price; we want to have a long-term relationship with our customers. The only way to do it is to have a client-centric approach. CS: What customer-focused initiatives have you put in place to achieve that vision? RP: We started in because we saw that customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention were all important issues.
At that time we were more focusing on ourselves, our profitability, and our growth than we were focusing on our customers.
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In we started by creating a department called Client Focus. We appointed a general manager in charge of client focus and we installed that organization next to the marketing department, which at that time was a very good approach because marketing was focusing more on profitability for the group than on long-term relationships with the customers. In the beginning we started small. We fixed [broken processes], paid more attention to complaints, and these sorts of things, until we came to the conclusion that our segmentation strategy should be changed.
The most important result of that client-centric approach is that we finalized a plan for an end-to-end customer-centric strategy.
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That's not only segmentation, it's the distribution model, the remuneration model, it's target setting, and everything around it. So we launched a huge program in , where we tried to cover all client-central issues, end-to-end, in one program. It's an ongoing program that will take a few years. We will start implementation of the program at the branch level by the end of CS: How will the new program affect your customers?
RP: My hope is that they will feel its benefits. Also, I believe that trust is not something that you communicate about. It's something you have to earn, something you have to deserve, and something you have to do.
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Then customers will communicate about it. That's more or less the approach we're going for. CS: What does the program roadmap look like? RP: We made the choice to create customer centricity with a high-density network.
We've studied a lot at headquarters: We've done intensive cost-benefit analysis; we've done a strategic analysis of all the alternatives we can choose. Then we [put a great deal of] effort into getting everyone within management on board and moving in the same direction.
That was the first phase, which is already done. Now we are in the phase where we roll the program down to the branch managers in the network. The next step will be to roll it out to all employees in the branches. The goals are to figure out what branches will be which kind of branches, and what will each employee's role be in the branch. It's quite a huge communication program, change management program, and implementation program. We make it very clear that we start from the customer's point of view. We start analyzing from the client, then to the branches, then to the regions, then to headquarters, then to management.
If the branches should be organized in one way, headquarters should also be organized to match.
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