Danske Bank

Positive challenging is serving the client

Danske Bank fine-tuned its network to challenge the customer with new views.

Business impact:

  • The new way of working showed its benefits already in the development phase
  • Customer experience has improved significally
  • Customer satisfaction after encounters with Danske Bank experts increased over 0,5 units in a scale of 1 to 10 due to the new way of working

“One person should be able to channel the expertise of our entire organization towards the customer so that we can provide the best perspectives we have as a bank”, summarizes Rami Tättilä, Head of Business Development, Personal Customers Finland, Danske Bank, regarding an important aspect of the change process the bank started a few years ago.

The principle is simple, but modernizing the operations of an entire organization is not. “We wanted a more extensive change in the operational culture and not just new ways to encounter the customer”, says Business Manager Asko Mikkonen from Danske Bank.

That’s why Danske Bank didn’t just settle for sales training in the development project but, instead, started to develop the entire value chain with a large group of people. People who support customer service and produce, e.g., customer data and marketing
information participated in the process.

It says a lot about the new take on things that the bank has also requested customers to join the training events intended for specialists. In these situations, the customers are free to tweet or even stream to Periscope. “We can do things this way, since everything we do should be justifiable by customer needs. Nothing competes with the customer’s interests”, says Mikkonen

Customers expect personalized service

Digitality has in many ways altered both the expectations of customers and the bank’s opportunities to meet those expectations. Traditionally, in the meeting of a specialist and a customer, much time has been spent on collecting background information. The customer may have found it odd that the bank clerk asked things they should already know. ”

Now we can process the existing information even better, so that our specialists can provide perspectives that are relevant precisely to the customer in question”, says Tättilä.

It is precisely in this moment that the importance of the entire value chain is emphasized, as the specialist requires a lot of data and the interpretation of it to be able to meet the customer’s expectations. Personalized customer service is an important competitive tool at a time when customers themselves know ever more about financing. Producing value-added services is also important because customers are increasingly ready to change service providers regardless of the field. This is the case particularly when competing for investor customers, as the international competitors that operate solely online are looking to get a foothold in the market.

A new mode for the whole system

Danske Bank started to develop a new customer encounter model in collaboration with Talent Vectia. The development project included identifying the prerequisites for challenging customers in a positive way, conducting an internal Sales Fit test, observing real customer situations, and interviewing customers. The entire value chain, and not just individual specialists, were under constant scrutiny.

The model for preparing for customer encounters was updated to support positive and constructive challenging. During the implementation stage, all the specialists who work in private customer business and their managers, which is almost 800 people in total, participated in the training. “I have to admit that changing the strong sales-oriented culture was rather difficult”, says Mikkonen.

In order to reform the corporate culture, many discussions were conducted on why it is important for the customer to receive useful information from the bank and why that also benefits the bank. The new objectives were realized in practice and in a reward system. Concrete anchors are important for the maintenance of a new operational model, as otherwise it is too easy to fall back into old habits.

Talent Vectia provided valuable support during this challenging journey.

We knew the objectives, but had not yet created the path that led to achieving them. Talent Vectia brought fresh insight to the table based on their previous experience, but were also willing to look for new information when necessary. We were not about to go easy on them either’, says Mikkonen.

The challenging path has produced results. Customers gave much more positive feedback on the new operational model than the old. This was apparent as early as the development stage when the bank canvassed customer experiences concerning both the new and the old operational model. Both the customers and the bank’s personnel answered the preliminary questionnaire blindly in a way, as they did not know what its objectives were.

The bank has also made clear progress according to the standard customer experience questionnaires. According to a customer satisfaction report produced by an external survey institute, due to the development of the operational model, satisfaction towards customer encounters was increased by over 0.5 units on a scale of 1 to 10. ‘

The best feedback is, however, the oral feedback from the customers saying things like “I am glad you brought that up”’, says Tättilä. At that point, at the latest, the personnel also feel that offering their expertise is more meaningful work than mere product presentation.