ANZ Bank’s small- to medium-business customers are serviced by a team of business Relationship Managers. For five years prior to our study, traditional customer satisfaction research had been used to measure performance of the relationship team and, in turn, to determine their annual salary bonuses. The detailed results from the study were held within the head office Business Banking Leadership team and the State Mangers. There was no dissemination or actionability at a Relationship Manager level, beyond their bonus calculation. The original study used a paper-based mail-out survey. It required multivendor relationships to implement — the bank, research company, the printers, and mailing house — and was slow and complex to administer. Due to the limitation of physical space, the paper survey content was restricted to core metrics, such as customer satisfaction, and drivers of satisfaction. The response rate to the survey was just 4 percent. Even worse, the study took almost four months to administer from commencing field work to signing off the final report. Our team was asked by ANZ Bank to review this traditional study, which lacked stakeholder support, and to create a more useful tool for account management as well as support growth and strategic initiatives.
The challenge given to the ANZ and ORC International research team was to transform a traditional research study that lacked internal stakeholder support into a relevant, dynamic, and insightful account management tool — one that would ultimately enhance the customer experience. Our path was clear: we needed to target all Business Banking customers using an online data collection methodology and to feed selected “opted-in feedback” into the bank’s internal account management processes and programs. That way, the research would become interlocked with how relationship managers physically maintained their customer portfolios. Understanding the importance of establishing internal stakeholder support for the study, the team implemented a series of internal stakeholder workshops with random selection of relationship managers and their superiors. From these sessions we learned that the Global Financial Crisis had reduced access to funding and increased the pressure to retain existing customers. As a result the relationship managers wanted some sort of vehicle to improve the way they could identify customers with unmet needs or who were “at risk” of giving business to the bank’s competitors. In principle, they indicated that their future support for the project was dependent upon the research team’s ability to transform the study from its current state into an integrated program that would “engage” the customers at an account level.
Internally within the bank, the survey was re-positioned from being a “research tool” to an “information management tool” that could be used to tangibly improve the customer experience. The core survey was expanded to include a share of wallet questions, business confidence, and growth measures. Other simple (but strategically important) questions were incorporated to probe why dissatisfied customers felt that their Relationship Manager had failed in meeting their needs and/or customer experience expectations. By the end of the study, the collective efforts of the ANZ research managers and the consultants at ORC International had succeeded in gaining support for the new program from a grass-roots level right up to the Business Banking Leadership team. Because we integrated the study with existing metrics and program structures from within the bank, we could tangibly demonstrate a return on investment to the key internal business unit stakeholders who funded the project. The team is now looking forward to implementing the second wave of the study where we hope to give even more support to the business, which in turn, will help us move toward our ultimate goal of targeting all Business Banking small- to medium-business banking customers.