Maja Vezmar Ristić, Customer Experience Manager, OTP Bank Serbia: Clients bring new value

If you give your client a good experience, they stay more loyal, buy more, understand your purpose more easily and most importantly, become ambassadors of your brand and recommend you to other people.

The pandemic has reshaped our reality in a relatively short period and put to the test the companies’ abilities to adapt to the new challenge. Strategic understanding of the importance of customer experience is a major link on the path to becoming a customer-centric company, so the role of top management is crucial in the early stages of developing this approach.

Maja Vezmar Ristić, Customer Experience Manager, OTP Bank Serbia

We are facing what could possibly be the biggest challenges when it comes to the relationship with consumers. How to win their heart in times of crisis?

In a situation where both you and your consumers are self-isolating, it was necessary to activate empathy and understand how to stay relevant to our clients and how to ensure that they remember us as a company that understood their needs.

We, at OTP Bank, have based our customer experience strategy, during a crisis which applies to both clients and employees, on three pillars: health care, support and timely communication. This specifically meant that we were committed to taking care of the health of our clients and employees, to increasing digital maturity and knowledge about the benefits of using digital services as well as to providing support through all available communication channels. In addition to the moratorium (on payment of loans), disbursement of pensions and delivery of payment cards to home addresses, our colleagues from IT support have managed to enable us to work from home in just a few days, so clients were able to fulfil all their banking needs without physically coming to the bank.

How to develop a customer experience strategy today and what is the role of digital in all this?

There is only one right way to develop a customer experience strategy, and that is to develop your business strategy around the customer perspective. Some of the world’s most successful companies today have based their entire business model on this principle and call themselves “customer-obsessed” organizations. In addition to being very successful, these market stakeholders also dictate the changes that are happening in the field of digital. Globalization has contributed to our consumers expecting the same level of experience when using a application of a bank, health care institutions, health care facilities, courier services or for instance, Amazon. The importance of applying customer experience methodologies such as service design or design thinking in digital is so great that today we do not even consider developing a particular service/product if we have not taken into account the user’s perspective and understand what value we will deliver to the user and by that, to our company.

Is it harder now than ever to hear a client’s voice and has this crisis perhaps accelerated the development of digital channels?

Anyone who wants to hear what their customers have to say can do so. However, the challenge lies in creating a system that will allow us to analyze the feedback on a particular experience and to learn and change from it. On the other hand, consumers have their needs that they show you even if you don’t ask them about it. For example, OTP Bank has increased its digital sales by 84% during the month and a half of the state of emergency. This was a clear signal that customers are ready to buy banking services online and that it was the right decision to invest in the development of our digital strategy.

“The customer experience strategy in OTP Bank relies on several important pillars and everything we do in the CX department, we do in the entire bank”

How important is it for a company to be customer-centric and what are you developing in OTP in terms of the department that you helm?

If we know that we define customer experience as a relation between expectations and what we actually get as an experience from a particular organization, then we must be very careful in the way we create and map the expectations of our users. Every day,  we all make a lot of decisions on a subconscious level, guided by how we or someone we know (even virtually) felt when we did something with a certain company. This is why our task is to empower the organization with the clients’ insights,  to create tools and methodologies that help us always keep in mind their needs, to follow metrics that show us how successful we are and together with the management and HR team, build a culture that nurtures and empowers good experiences.

Do you think that our market is ready for, let’s say, the omnichannel strategy, given digital literacy and level of development?

The level of digital literacy, even with baby boomers, is increasing every day and becoming our reality, which is great preparation for the demands that Generation Z will place on organizations. Customer experience strategy, like any other, gives tangible results in an average of 3 to 5 years, so we must start organizing companies as soon as possible in a way that will allow each team member to understand and think of their role in delivering outstanding customer experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.