The Business Times

Maybank tops bank sector in remarkable turnaround

Published Tue, Apr 12, 2016 · 09:50 PM

MAYBANK has jumped to the top position in customer satisfaction among all banks in Singapore, according to the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG) findings for 2015. Its score came in at 71.9 points, ahead of OCBC and DBS, both of which were at 71.6. The national average score was 71.1.

Its 2015 performance is a remarkable turnaround for Maybank, as just the year before, it had been placed at the bottom.

"While is it always nice to be ranked first, to us, it is about wanting to do what is right for our customers," says Allen Ng, deputy CEO of Maybank Singapore.

"The significant improvement in our score is a recognition of the effort of all of our staff who have worked very hard to exemplify our service values. It also means that our customers have noticed the changes we put in place, as we fervently place our customers first in our service design approach. Singapore is an important market for Maybank and for us, ensuring that our customers are satisfied is part of our commitment to them."

Maybank says that it has taken many steps in recent years to raise customer satisfaction. To identify the issues, it did a gap-analysis and also listened to customers through all channels to ensure their feedback was captured.

"We then benchmarked ourselves against other organisations from both within the banking and service sectors. We did a root and branch analysis and embarked on a customer experience transformation journey. Targets were set and measurements were taken scrupulously across several areas such as ATM, multi-function machines (MFM), internet and mobile banking, waiting time at branches, contact centre, and down to the ambience of the branch," says Mr Ng.

"But we also realised that it was not enough to have hard metrics set upon our touch points. We needed our staff to 'internalise' this service culture before they could 'externalise' it. Therefore we had to engage them in this transformation journey, so that they understood why the bank was doing this and to inspire them to truly serve from the heart."

The bank recognises that branches are at the heart of the action and often face certain pain points. It has looked at processes that could be streamlined and ways in which branches can be empowered to serve customers better.

Maybank started an initiative which involved branch visits by the senior management and customer experience team. The management acted as mentors to the branches while the customer experience team would share insight on customer service and issues on the ground so as to provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to better serve customers, as well as to engage them on the service culture and mindset that was envisioned for the bank.

Touch points were also empowered to be able to resolve certain issues for customers, thereby providing customers with a faster resolution process. Through these initiatives, the bank also enjoyed productivity gains.

"Underscoring these were also several digital initiatives such as the ability to open an account remotely to provide convenience to customers beyond our physical presence," says Mr Ng.

"Naturally, once all these initiatives were put into place, we needed to track it. We undertook a rigorous monitoring and tracking process to gauge the effectiveness through the customer experience indicators which were tracked monthly at the bank's Customer Experience and Service Innovation Council chaired by the CEO.

"Additionally, we felt that not only did we have to make the changes, we also needed to ensure that our customers were informed about it. To that end, we introduced new communications initiatives such as a quarterly e-newsletter to provide customers with the latest updates from the bank."

Customer satisfaction is very important for an organisation such as Maybank, says Mr Ng.

"As a relatively smaller player in Singapore and faced with a society where banking services have become somewhat commoditised, we recognise that customer satisfaction can be a strategic differentiator for us and a driver of customer loyalty and growth.

"In the past, customers looked for trust and reliability in their banking partner. Now, not only do they look out for these factors, they also want speed to deliver what they want, and the freedom to do it anywhere. We can have the best product but if it does not live up to our customers' satisfaction, then all our efforts would have come to nought. Therefore, customer satisfaction is crucial."

Mr Ng says that for Maybank, "our biggest competitor is also ourselves. We want to continue to outdo our 'personal best' and continue to aim for improvements in our score. Additionally, customer satisfaction is an aspect that is tracked at the group-level and also is part of the bank scorecard".

"So while we continue to ensure that our core service delivery is done well, our next focus is on expanding our digital banking offerings and leverage our group's strengths to bring the best that the bank has to offer to customers in Singapore."

Maybank also plans to expand the user-centric approach through customer journey mapping to have an outside-in perspective when designing new products, branches or processes.

The plan is to also continue leveraging the business excellence framework to sharpen strengths and close gaps. In terms of product knowledge, the bank will be making further investments in its mobile customer relationship management solution to better equip staff to engage customers and recommend products based on customer feedback.

"Most importantly, our people also play an important part in keeping customer satisfaction high. Thus, we will ensure that we continue to engage them, look out for their needs to ensure that they can do their best, and invest in training and up skilling them," says Mr Ng.

Maybank Singapore is one of the group's largest overseas operations. As at December 2015, Maybank's total assets in Singapore were S$61 billion. The bank has 22 branches here - the largest number of branches among foreign banks in Singapore - with 1,800 employees.

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