Last year was all about listening to customers and speed – two things that ING excelled in as other banks scrambled to respond to an emerging pandemic, said interim head of retail banking Glenn Gibson. He spoke to MPA about why the non-major came first in customer banking satisfaction for the second time and how 2021 will pose a different set of challenges for borrowers.
Gibson said it was very pleasing to see ING top the list of banks when it came to customer satisfaction in Roy Morgan’s recent survey. According to the findings, ING had the highest rating among home loan customers when it came to customer banking satisfaction from June to November last year, the bank earning a score of 94.4% - leagues above the 79.5% rating of the highest ranking major, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
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“This is the second time that we’ve come top of that research, so it was really very pleasing,” he said. “This comes down to consistency - we’ve always put the customer first.”
Any time ING wants to plan or build something, it always has the customer front of mind, he explained.
“In every part of our development in all our businesses, whether it be in our mortgages business, or our daily banking business, or our wealth business, we actually have a single specialist in every one of those businesses that just focuses on the customer and the customer experience,” he said. “It’s embedded in our DNA basically.”
The non-major stood out from other banks in 2020 because it combined this customer focus with speed to deliver a swift response to borrowers in need. Very early in the pandemic, the bank took a proactive approach to ensure its customers felt truly looked after.
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“We went out very, very early and very fast and said, ‘if I was a customer and I was in this circumstance, what would I want? How could my life be easier?’ And that came down to speed,” said Gibson. “We threw staff and resources and technology at our customers and our brokers especially through 2020 a lot faster than I think you’d see our competitors do.
“Even in our contact centre, we managed to get our entire staff on laptops and working from home - we’re talking about 500 laptops that we had to build to get everybody working from home in the space of about 20 days. We did that just so that customers didn’t have to wait, they wanted to talk to us, we were there.”
It’s important to note than when Gibson refers to customers, he doesn’t just mean ING borrowers. Brokers have always played an important role in the bank’s approach and 2020 was no exception. He said 2021 would be same. While the pandemic continues, the challenges that customers face will be different to those of last year and ING remains committed to supporting brokers and borrowers as it always has – by staying attuned.
“We listen to our customers,” said Gibson. “I can tell you just from my perspective, I’m on customer calls listening at least once every three weeks, so having all layers of management, leaders and customer-facing staff listening, hearing and then acting on what our customers are talking about and needing - that’s what 2021 is about for us, continuing that level of focus on our customers.”