Unique Model Gives BOQ Customer Edge in Tough Market

Tuesday, 23/09/2008

A focus on relationship banking and a unique business model appears to have given Bank of Queensland an edge in servicing business customers, as it retains the number one spot in the fourth East & Partners Sentiment Index1 in a row.

East and Partners again found that BOQ’s customers were the most loyal of any bank and most likely to recommend their bank to colleagues and business associates.

While BOQ’s business banking operation is concentrated in its home state, it has significant and growing customer bases in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth which recorded similar satisfaction levels in the East & Partners survey.

Managing Director David Liddy said BOQ’s relatively small size gave it greater flexibility and intimacy to deal with small customers the way they wanted to be dealt with.

“Although we offer businesses remote channels for their convenience, such as Internet Banking and customer contact centres, we made a conscious decision and effort to make sure their primary point of contact is a person,” Mr Liddy said.

“We have the capacity to do this and to actually know our business customers.

“In particular, we leverage our most significant business asset, the unique, service-focused Owner-Managed Branch (OMB) model, to add an additional level of service to that provided by our personal Business Banking Managers and equipment, debtor and trade finance specialists.

“Our OMBs have had a considerable impact on the satisfaction of our retail customers, which according to Roy Morgan research2 is still the second highest of any Bank, so it’s natural they would have a similar effect on our business customers.

“After all, who understands a small business better than another small business owner?”

“Many of our small business customers are managed on a day-to-day level by an Owner-Manager who has a vested interest in providing them with a blue ribbon level of service.

“SMEs, where we’re focusing our efforts, have much more in common with consumers than big business in terms of their needs and service expectations.”

Mr Liddy described BOQ’s service philosophy as “straightforward”.

“Businesses need their bank to do the simple things really well. They appreciate things like their bank following up, taking ownership of their issues, being responsive to them and not passing the buck,” he said.

“We see ourselves as THE bank for SMEs – they can benefit most from our customer-centric service model and focus on relationship banking.”

1. Source: East & Partners – Australian Business Banking Sentiment Index, August 2008.
2. Source: Roy Morgan Research - July 2008 Australian Population aged 14+.