With a strong purpose that considers the needs of all stakeholders, and continual investment in the right technology, this Australian bank is showing larger organisations how customer centricity is done.
Australian consumers have rated Bendigo Bank as the leading Australian organisation and the best performing financial institution according to KPMG’s Customer Experience Excellence 2018 Report.
With its Community Bank® model, Bendigo Bank embarked on a customer-centred strategy 20 years ago. Today, its value of striving for a closer connection to the community and its customers is what unites its employees across its decentralised network of branches.
Customers rate Bendigo Bank’s performance strongly across The Six Pillars of customer experience excellence (CEE) – Personalisation, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time and Effort, and Empathy. When it comes to Resolution and Time and Effort, no company is ranked higher. A survey respondent said: “Each and every time I go there, I am greeted as a friend and nothing is too much trouble.”
Bendigo Bank ranks third for Empathy and fourth for Integrity, Expectations and Personalisation. Annalise Hewitt, Branch Manager, Bendigo Bank, Ormond/McKinnon, says these ratings come as no surprise, as each bank manager has a lot of control over processes and decision making.
“My mobile phone number is printed on our marketing materials,” she says. “If a customer has an issue they can call me directly and I can make a decision. When a customer applies for a home loan, we process their application in our branch. This means we have ownership over the length of processing time, can set expectations, and deliver on them.”
Currently, Bendigo Bank provides services to more than 1.6 million customers across over 500 branches. More than 300 of these branches are built on Bendigo Bank’s Community Bank® model. This model was implemented in the late ‘90s as the main point of differentiation from its four larger competitors. It allows metropolitan and rural communities to invest in their local branch with profits being used to fund local projects – totalling more than $205 million since inception.
Ian Jackman, Head of Customer Voice, Bendigo Bank, says the model is based on, “the belief that successful customers and successful communities create a successful bank – in that order”.
Hewitt shares one example of how she brings this motto to life: “Every 3 months I call my home loan customers to ensure they have the best rate.”
It is something the bank’s customers appear to appreciate and remember, with one survey respondent stating: "They contacted me with information about changing my account to one with a better return for me.”
Jackman says: “Even if the Community Bank® model is what we are known for, what truly differentiates us is underneath that model. We have a culture that is based on shared value across all our stakeholders including customers, staff, communities and shareholders.”
Jeanine Reyneke, Chair of the Board, Bendigo Bank, Ormond/McKinnon, says that every employee of the branch is also a volunteer in the local community, spending a lot of time with local groups and clubs.
“We are more than community sponsors, we are community partners.”
However, the flipside of Bendigo Bank’s differentiating strategy is ensuring a highly personalised customer experience is delivered no matter where a customer is, what channel they use to engage the Bank, and what time of day it is. Jackman says customer expectations are only increasing, with people demanding 24/7 service through many and varied channels.
“The challenge is now, how do we translate this relationship-focused model into the always accessible and highly personalised omni-channel world? How can we provide the same level of connectivity and personalisation to our customers as if they were walking into a branch regardless of the channel they chose?" he says.
To deliver the required shift, the bank is investing into technology to build its digital capability.
“We invested in a single view of the customer 10 years ago. Now we are actively extending our digital platform. We see our bank as an enabler of financial wellbeing, and recognise that we are one important part of a customer's journey to fulfil a need, not the destination in itself. To be the enabler and value creator we need to deeply understand our customers and what is important to them. The new platform will enable us to better leverage data and build out our digital offering to meet our customer needs in their channel of choice, and do so with personalised and intelligent content,” Jackman says.
Find out more about how other Australian organisations rated in our Customer Experience Excellence Report 2018.