CXM Interview with Paschalis Petalas from the First Gulf Bank

Written by: Fleming. Team

Paschalis Petalas
Head of Business Intelligence & CRM - Strategy & Planning
First Gulf Bank

1. How do you think the banking sector can gain insights from the customer experience of other industries?

Because of a number of reasons, banking is not an advanced industry sector in terms of customer experience. There are a lot of things banks can learn from the tech, retail and telecom sectors to improve the experience they provide to their customers. The customers of today – empowered with information – are in complete control of their options in terms of pricing and availability of alternative products/services. Therefore, they expect convenience, personalized service, omnichannel engagement and also demand the organization to predict their needs and behaviors – simply because Amazon, Facebook and Garanti Bank are doing it. It is therefore essential for banks to catch up with the other industries in terms of customer experience maturity, despite the special regulations existing in banking. The best way to do this is to imitate the experience other sectors are already providing in terms of personalized service as well as engagement in customer’s channels of preference. Learn more:

2. In your opinion, how can customer experience drive business value and profits?

Good customer experience drives customer loyalty. In other words, companies that deliver a better customer experience tend to retain more of their customers, get more incremental purchases from their customers, and attract more new customers through positive word of mouth. Taking into account that banking customers today have freedom of choice, providing a differentiated experience is key to attracting new customers. When customers don't see a meaningful difference in the customer experience that competitors provide – such as with traditional banks – they have no motivation to switch that's based purely on customer experience. But when companies offer significantly differentiated customer experience, poor customer experience provides a powerful reason to defect, and superior customer experience provides a compelling reason to stay.

3. HR strategies required to promote customer experience culture in a bank – Your views.

Targeted HR strategies can help a lot in promoting a culture for customer experience in the organization. Firstly, a “customer-focused” attitude can be one of the primary criteria in recruitment processes, as it can act as a filter to have the right skillsets in the organization. Secondly, training on customer centricity principles especially for client-facing resources can help instill the right behaviors in the organization. Last but not least, rewards and recognition are necessary to ensure the right customer-centric KPIs are monitored and the respective behaviors recognized in public.

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Middle East Finance

The Bankers' Customer Experience Summit

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4. How do you think the banking industry can learn from FinTechs?

FinTechs are digital disruptors, which today grab headlines by their impressive growth in customers or assets under management. Based on innovative digital platforms, they meet an unmet customer need or generate new customer value, thus disrupting the banking ecosystem. They are usually startups with small size, agility and a nimble culture – characteristics that typical conventional banks are lacking. What can banks learn from the FinTechs’ success? If a FinTech has found a genuine, legal and scalable solution to a customer problem, the banks need to work out how something similar would help them target new customer segments or improve existing services. How can the banks do that? By either partnering with the FinTech, buying it or even developing the same capability internally. BBVA’s acquisition of Simple and BlackRock’s of FutureAdvisor are typical acquisition examples while Mastercard’s partnership with Kabbage is an example of banks taking specific actions towards acquiring FinTech capabilities.

5. How do you think the participants can benefit from this conference?

Attending a Summit with a focus on customer experience will enable the participants to familiarize themselves with initiatives, best practices and ideas from experts on customer centricity and engagement. In my view, the Summit will also help the participants learn from the successes and failures of other organizations and potentially apply the learnings to their own organizations.