OCBC: Differentiation will come through simplification


Banks can no longer compete by simply providing better prices and more products according to OCBC’s VP, Experience Design, Group Customer Experience. To differentiate and remain competitive, the only way forward is to “provide a better customer experience“.

Speaking at FST Media’s 9th annual Technology & Innovation – The Future of Banking and Financial Services conference, Jin Zwicky suggested that not only will the desirable Gen Y customer not tolerate complexity, but neither will high value wealth management customers.

“In the domain of wealth management where complexity is so common, simplicity can be perceived as a value-add, and even a luxury,” she said.

Jin Zwicky told the audience that simplicity is the responsibility of everyone within a financial services organisation.

Contrary to popular belief, she suggested that simplicity is not natural, “we need deliberate intent to make it happen for a bank,” she said.

“In order to design something simple, we have to work backwards from peoples’ perception and their needs.”

Jin Zwicky showed the audience several examples of the benefits of simplifying, including empowering front-end staff to have better conversations with customers by reducing the number of pages, and re-defining the role of forms – essentially ensuring it becomes a document that supports the conversation rather than scare the customer away.

She also pointed to cost-reduction resulting from simplifying the bank’s website, which reached 12,000 pages at its peak, “we reduced our website from 12,000 to 600 pages, saving half a million per year in maintenance costs.”

According to Jin Zwicky, simplicity is important to financial services because it changes people’s behaviour, however through market and customer research, making things simple has also changed the banks’ behaviour in understanding their customer from within, and providing a tool for change.

“We do not outsource research, empathy has to come from within the organisation,” she said.