Standard Chartered Prioritizes Relationship

Standard Chartered sees itself more than a bank, it wants to be your financial services partner. BENCHMARK examines the key initiatives that are driving this commitment.


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Although becoming customer-focused is not unique, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (SCBHK) prides itself in aligning its entire business on building and maintaining strong relationship with customers. This is encapsulated in “Here for good” – a brand promise that has seen it do well in the Brand of the Year category at the BENCHMARK Wealth Management Awards 2011 and lays the underlying foundation for its continued success.

“Our customer-focused strategy enables our staff to offer tailored solutions from a wide range of products and services and thus build stronger relationships with our customers,” said Basker Rangachari, Chief Marketing Officer, Hong Kong & North East Asia, Consumer Banking, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.

The bank’s efforts to be customerfocused include the expansion of the bank’s branch network, recruitment of different financial product professionals, IT enhancement and optimization of day-to-day service with service guarantees.

Redefining Credit Relationships

The strategy is aptly described in SCBHK’s recent credit card campaign that saw it do well in the Campaign of the Year category.

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The disruptive marketing campaign included a series of 15% cash rebate campaigns focusing on top merchant categories / brands – as well as a themed merchant platform (named Rewards You Everyday Everywhere) supported by various year-round merchant discount offers – which overwhelmed Hong Kong’s stagnant card market, said S. Ramakrishnan, Regional Head, Retail Banking Products, North East Asia, Consumer Banking, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.

With the success of its 15% rebate campaign, the bank extended its focus from disruptive promotions to hero product – Standard Chartered Platinum Credit Card, introducing the “Best of Both Worlds. Rewards. Rebates. Why Choose?” to redefine its customers proposition, enabling customers to enjoy hassle free experience and maximize benefit of both rewards and rebates.

“Customer Satisfaction was significantly uplifted according to our research. Net Promoter Score for Credit Card climbed to +17 at Q1 2011; this is a historical high record tracked since 2009,” said Ramakrishnan, citing customer satisfaction surveys and internal business performance tracking reports.

The campaign raised the bar of credit card advertising while achieving 76% ad awareness and outperforming the industry benchmark by 77%.

Consistent Experience

SCBHK knows customer experience is equally important for raising customer loyalty. So it reviewed and summarized years of accumulated research to understand the underlying values of our customers and identify their needs, said Daniel Chow, General Manager, Sales and Distribution, Consumer Banking, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.

From this, the bank formulated its customer-focused service strategy focusing on three key areas that customers expected their bank to offer:

Friendly, fast and accurate service
Solutions to suit their individual needs
Recognition of their overall relationship with the bank

SCBHK monitored these three areas with weekly customer satisfaction telephone surveys with immediate service recovery action; face-to-face interviews by branch managers; and service performance analysis.

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As a result, the bank introduced a number of initiatives that have strengthened customer relationships. “Our first-in﹣market 8-minute Service Pledge aims to minimise waiting time – from the time the customer enters the branch to the time they are served at the counter. In cases where this service pledge is not met, SCBHK will make a donation to the Seeing is Believing Charity Fund,” said Chow.

In addition, SCBHK designed its Central flagship branch in Lan Kwai Fong that sets new service standards for the industry. It showcases highend AV equipment such as an extralarge TV wall, a new queuing system, a unique open teller counter system, and a lounge area for customers.

The bank is also redefining its relationship with the next younger generation using online and mobile initiatives. “The enhancement of our remote channels is a major part of our success in servicing the younger generation. Making our online banking platform more user-friendly, we have successfully built and launched ‘Breeze’ which is tailored for mobile banking experience, with virtual cheque-issuing feature,” said Chow.

Being ‘Here’ Matters

SCBHK believes that its strong focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships will help it plays a leading role in the financial services industry. It also goes beyond raising awareness, and offers a promise to customers of the bank’s commitment to their needs. In a volatile and uncertain market, this speaks volumes.

“’Here for Good’ is our brand promise. Though in reality, it’s our oldest belief. It’s what we’ve been doing for the past 150 years, and will continue doing. To be here for people; here for progress; here for the long run; and here for good,” said Rangachari. BM