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Great expectations on our financial institutions

Great expectations on our financial institutions

Financial Services has its shining lights of customer experience excellence, but the industry in general has to understand the rapidly changing trends, and be prepared to transform to remain relevant.

Carmen Bekker

Partner in Charge, Customer, Brand & Marketing Advisory

KPMG Australia


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In KPMG’s Customer Experience Excellence Report 2018, Bendigo Bank, PayPal and ING outperformed Australia’s major banks in delivering customer experience excellence (CEE), according to Australian consumers.

Here we look at what set these three institutions apart, new trends in customer demand, and how the financial services sector must transform to meet these expectations.

Bendigo Bank

Bendigo Bank rated as the ‘best customer experience brand’ in the financial services industry across The Six Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence (Personalisation, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time and Effort, and Empathy), and the third across all industries. It ranked first for Resolution and Time and Effort, third for Empathy, and fourth for Integrity, Expectations and Personalisation, demonstrating that trust and CEE are inextricably linked in consumers’ minds.

The bank’s community model differentiates it from larger competitors, and is based on the belief that successful customers and successful communities create a successful bank. These values drive customer centricity – meaning all decisions and outcomes are achieved for the customer’s benefit. Minimal effort by the customer is key, through offering frictionless processes and an empowered workforce. It has removed barriers across the front, middle and back office, and given power to branch managers.


ING, the first digital-only bank in Australia, ranked ninth overall and third in the financial services industry. It offers a low-touch service based on low fees, competitive rates, and innovative products, differentiated through its digital experience. ING is innovating with the ability to check account balances using Siri, to save money based on completing chores or achieving step goals, and withdrawing money overseas with zero fees.


PayPal is another digital-only offering that ranked well in the CEE scores – second in the financial services industry and fourth overall. Offering quick and easy payments both locally and globally, PayPal makes it simple to pay for services in other countries, and offers a secure and trusted option to checkout when purchasing online.

Trends to watch

We anticipate the following customer expectations will impact the Australian financial services sector in the near future:

  • Real time: Consumers are demanding real-time payments and service, to better manage their budget and financial health. Real-time servicing can help with rapid resolution to problems.
  • Self-service: Customers want autonomous services for their day-to-day needs. Delivery of digital ‘mobile first’ solutions is key, with 24/7 access to banking and financial services anywhere.
  • Insights and alerts: Customers are looking to the financial services industry to deliver tools that can help them manage expenditure, provide insights to prevent reckless spending, and encourage savings habits.

Continual transformation

The industry can better compete with leading organisations by transforming towards efficient, personalised and authentic interactions. The following steps will be key:

  • Technology at scale: Adoption of emerging technologies to provide a better experience at scale. According to the report, Alipay achieved this by recognising that many of its customers travel abroad, with over 109 million Chinese travellers spending around US$229 billion each year. Alipay introduced an app that automatically recognises the location of the user, and provides details about restaurants, attractions, shopping destinations and payment options.
  • Delivering curated experiences: Harnessing data to know who your customers are, to understand them, and their preferences, is key to delivering. This enables personalisation that doesn’t disrupt privacy, but makes life easier. As Australia moves towards open banking through the New Payments Platform (NPP), there is more capability to deliver unique customer experiences.
  • Leading with trusted partnerships: Customers want institutions they can partner with to help them manage their finances and grow their wealth. This model of shared value creation can help build trust.

In summary

While the financial services industry in Australia has worked hard to increase CEE, it has a long way to go to improve perceptions, particularly following the Royal Commission into the sector.

However, by looking to organisations that are leaders in customer experience, being aware of changing customer expectations, and being willing to transform, there is an opportunity to deliver an authentic experience and to rebuild trust.

Trust matters to consumers, but it must be earned. Find out why it’s so vital in Integrity and trust matter to Australian consumers.

©2021 KPMG, an Australian partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved. The KPMG name and logo are trademarks used under license by the independent member firms of the KPMG global organisation.

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