Have you ever heard of a bank that’s as popular with its customers as Amazon is with Amazon’s customers?

Me neither – at least not until we ran our Customer Experience Index study in Germany this year. That’s when I found out about ING-DiBa.

So what does ING-DiBA do that makes it so special? Attendees of Forrester’s Forum for Customer Experience Professionals EMEA are going to find out in London on November 17 and 18 because that’s when Roland Boekhout, CEO of ING-DiBa, is going to tell us.

Personally, I can’t wait. Which is why I’m delighted to offer up Roland’s answers to some of our pressing questions – right now.

I hope you enjoy what he has to say and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on the customer experience?Why?

It is always important to us that our customer experiences DiBa in the way that we promise it. We want to turn our customers into fans, and this is something that we work on everyday – for over 8 million customers. We would like to make satisfied customers feel inspired, and unsatisfied customers inspired once again.

This year, we have established a Customer Experience Management Team for the coordination of all activities. The team ensures the creation of a better overview of what motivates a customer, and thereby supports the formation of better customer-related processes. Rolling evaluations of customer feedback and market opportunities forge some insight that we then incorporate into the customer processes.

Also, ING-DiBa’s customer dialogue has always been aware of the customer experience. We have been measuring our quality through the use of external companies since 2003. S.W.I. for mystery calls (since 2003) and forum! Mainz for customer experience recalls (since 2007). An excellent level of quality for the customer experience is in the DNA of our customer dialogue. That’s why we are always focusing on customer experience.

Q: How do you determine what aspects of the customer experience you must try to excel at?

We have been creating an overview of the rolling customer feedback surveys for years, concerning just how the customer experiences us. Now, we would like to know more clearly: We enquire about the expectations and experiences regarding the individual products and the respective touch points. Currently, we are concentrating on the processes involved in a product launch, the updating of customer data, individual enquiries and the blocking of access data. From that, we determine the relevant gaps and identify the pain-and-gain points, with particular regard to the customer’s emotional situation.

Together with our two external companies, we constantly develop the focus on our quality and customer experience. All questions for the customer are discussed in advance. All results are presented in a professional way, both for the management and the agents.

Q: How do you measure the success of your customer experience improvement efforts (e.g., higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, lower costs)?And have you seen progress over time?

The success lies, of course, in the experience of the customer – and with that, with every moment of customer contact. The recommendation is important to us, and the NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a decisive indicator. We have continuously risen above our competition. We simply want to ensure that our customers experience us in a straightforward and uncomplicated fashion. In this regard, we have recently started measuring the Customer Effort Score. We let the customer assess just how much effort they put in regarding their last request.

We are proud when we achieve the top spot in a ranking through customer feedback and independent evaluations. For this reason, we have been voted “The most popular bank“ in Germany for the eighth time in a row.

We also measure using a fan-quote index because the fans have the highest impact on customer satisfaction, emotional customer retention and increasing revenues. As mentioned above, we have seen great progress.

Q: Where do you think your industry will be with regards to customer experience quality in five years? Will it be a race to the top, on average about the same, big winners and big losers, or…?

Within the context of a continuous development of the retail sector and digitalisation, the customer experience and service is becoming ever more important. We, as a direct bank, are already in a very good position with a few products and an excellent standard of service. And banking should be straightforward and convenient, in every situation, regardless of whether through personal contact or by mobile.

Established high street banks will have a tough time with this, as their business models will have to adjust even more so to the changes in customer requirements.