Haysam Fahmy, Head of Digital Marketing & Performance at Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) & CBD Now speaks about the launch of CBD Now, UAE’s first digital bank, providing a complete banking solution to customers via mobile app. He also talks about raising the bar in customer experience by improving efficiency, cutting down response time, and establishing long standing customer relationships.
Q: How are you taking Customer Experience to the next level with your Digital Banking innovations?
Haysam Fahmy: I think the best way to answer that is to look at the brand mantra and what the brand represents. CBD Now is about ‘Now’, it’s about ‘instant’. It’s about getting what you want quickly, efficiently, in a way that allows you to make the most out of your time. That’s why the brand mantra is “Love the Moment,” because we want you to make the most out of the moment. We want you to enjoy life to the fullest. We want to take out all the hassles of banking, travelling in the heat to go to branches, being on hold at the call centers for hours, to be out of that equation when you’re dealing with your finances which are very important. So everything is about NOW and our strategy is all about real time. When it comes to customer service, one of the things we really emphasize on, although we haven’t fully launched yet, specifically on social: our response time for Customer Service and for commentary is within a 7 minute period which is pretty revolutionary for the industry. With a purely digital bank which is disrupting a 10,000 year old industry, you really have to revolutionize Customer Service as well and that’s what we are trying to do.
Within the app when it’s live, we will be able to have features that allow you to get instant customer service in our actions, priorities and servicing. We have a 24 hour guarantee of having your customer service issue resolved.
Q: What online customer support systems do you have in place to assist customers with online inquiries and concerns and are these systems in place 24/7?
Haysam Fahmy: Currently we’ve built a dedicated CRM component that allows us to streamline customer service related inquiries and issues that come in, in real time, and we have a process in place that ensures that things get escalated if not resolved. We have dedicated customer service teams with this portal that are able to follow up with customers and we realize that this is a critical element of this new type of banking that we’re offering. Banking is all about service. It’s about making sure you’re delivering a superior experience to customers and this is why we’re building a truly digital comprehensive experience that allows you to do everything from A-Z conveniently, quickly and instantly on your phone.
Q: In what ways do you ensure that Digital Banking is a safe and secure way for customers to bank?
Haysam Fahmy: I think security is probably the number one element that we’re focusing on and we have installed state of the art security measures that are in accordance with global standards to ensure that we are securing every single touch point of the customer experience. We have different types of authentication and confirmation experience elements. One of the things we really pride ourselves on, is being able to rigorously test security elements from A – Z. We have some of the best security specialists and IT specialists that have a strong focus just on this.
Q: What are your processes for assessing customer feedback and how do you cater to customer complaints?
Haysam Fahmy: We have heavy reliance on social media sentiment and we have a daily analysis with our assigned agencies to go through customer comments on a daily basis. We then follow up with weekly calls and tracking of customer sentiment. We’ve been pretty blessed so far to have a 95% positivity response rate and commentary rate from customers online, and that’s obviously followed up with a very rigorous process that our customer service team is following. We have a dedicated customer service line just for CBD Now apart from the Mother brand CBD, and that team is totally focused on real time, making sure they solve things quickly and efficiently.
Q: What methodologies do you use to educate customers with questions on how to use your Digital Banking services and features?
Haysam Fahmy: Though we’re building an app for the first digital bank in the UAE theoretically, although we like to look at it as first in the region, it really has to be self-explanatory and it has to be so seamless and so self-serving in a way that you don’t need much explanation. Although we will be featuring dedicated videos, animations and plenty of supporting content including FAQs and others, but we really don’t want customers to be reliant on those as opposed to building an app that takes care of the customer and takes care of the service for them automatically. I think customer service is always seen from the “What if things go wrong” perspective? What we’re trying to remove is essentially this concept of Customer Service where you are having an experience and you don’t need support. The app gives you everything you need from A-Z. That’s what we’re really doing. We’re transforming banking from people focused to technology reliant and really being something that you don’t need to hassle your time on.
Q: How do you cater to customers with special needs?
Haysam Fahmy: At the moment, we are developing a strategy for how we target and develop an experience for those with special needs. At the moment, convenience is key. Those with special needs who are unable to travel or unable to move to certain places, the app is your bank. All that we need from you is just one signature to get you up and running, and open your bank account and that’s it. You can do anything and everything from the app including bill payments, transfer money, check on your balances and everything else. So the key of convenience is going to be important for those with special needs and for those who don’t have to travel anywhere to get banking services done.
Q: What recent developments have taken place at the bank to raise the bar in customer experience?
Haysam Fahmy: I think ability to cut our call time and our response time on email significantly, is a major significant achievement across the entire bank. We are very strong and I think we’ve received a recent report that showed that we are one of the top 5 banks in terms of customer service, specifically with our corporate clients with whom we have long standing relationships. I think it’s all about efficiency and speed, getting things resolved on time and as fast as possible, and that’s what we’ve made a lot of stride on, especially in the last year. With that same technology, methodology and approach, we are taking one step higher with CBD Now and really taking customer service into this whole real time realm.
Q: What loyalty and rewards programs do you have in place for customers?
Haysam Fahmy: In terms of loyalty, right now we are looking at several partners. I can tell you that and some of the biggest brands in the Middle East and the GCC are on board to make sure we are giving customers rewards across their favorite platforms.
Our very first ones who sign up for a co-founder account to help us build the bank, will automatically get some of these welcome experiences that we have to offer, and they are complimentary, including concert tickets: some of the biggest concerts in the Middle East, food expenses, some of the best sports experiences where you get to go jet skiing, scuba diving and a free game, as we realize gaming is very big. Our audiences really crave them and have asked for it. In terms of rewards and features in general, the methodology that we are using is, we basically ask the customers “What do you want?” “How do you want this bank to be?” And this is what we’ve been communicating for the past two months since we’ve launched. We’re helping build the bank with you. Thousands have replied saying, “We want these type of rewards. We want this type of experience.” And that’s what we’ve been responding to. Based on what customers say, we are delivering in terms of experience. Everything that you see now, based on these four platforms, is based on Customer Voice, and that’s a new level of customer service that’s unprecedented in the region.
Q: In your opinion, can customer loyalty and trust be achieved without human service?
Haysam Fahmy: I would prioritize dialogue with customers, and having a two way conversation. I think there have been so many brands historically that have just been pushing out things without getting customer input and they are playing it by ear. I think what really takes loyalty to the next level is to make customers front and center in developing products, services, benefits, everything, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re putting customers in the forefront and that automatically increases loyalty, affinity and love for the brand. And we’ve seen that. We haven’t even launched the product yet, and we’ve seen thousands sign up, millions engage with us online and people really giving their voice and that’s really what’s happening. The brand is really redefining the term ‘loyalty.’ Loyalty is always seen from the marketing perspective as the very end of the funnel. But now it’s going to be at the very beginning. Through peoples’ very strong engagement with us, we’ve developed that loyalty very fast although the brand has been out only for two months. So I think that’s the key to loyalty; continuous two way conversation and engagement.
Q: In terms of convenience and better service for customers, what are your plans for 2017?
Haysam Fahmy:I think this year you’re going to expect the banks to follow you instead of you following the bank and benefits that are relevant will follow you. So if you are walking in the mall, and we know that you are a big fan of Starbucks, you will be able to get a notification that is relevant to Starbucks as per your location. That’s what we’re trying to do in terms of convenience that instead of bombarding you with offers and things that you don’t need, we want to make things relevant and very seamless. So I think that’s one of the key things that will help us differentiate, aside from the convenience of having the bank in your pocket.
About Haysam Fahmy
Haysam Fahmy currently heads Digital Marketing & Performance for Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) & CBD Now, with over 16+ years of leading marketing, digital transformation and e-commerce in the U.S, France, Asia Pacific and Middle East, across 8 industries: Banking, Tech, Telco, Retail, e-Commerce, Entertainment, Hospitality and Real Estate.