Our approach to customer satisfaction
Connecting happy customers to the right products and services is at the heart of any successful business – so it’s not surprising that delivering the right products to customers and sustaining customer satisfaction have been top ranking issues in BOQ’s sustainability survey since its inception in 2015.
Delivering the right products to key customer segments
BOQ's strategy is to focus on segments where customers value an intimate relationship. Through a combination of direct interactions, data analytics and market research we aim to know our customers better so we can offer them the right product at the right time through the right channel.
Over the past few years, we've continued to refine our product offering to our customer base to better meet their needs. Ways we've done this include:
- introducing Clear Path Home Loan in response to demand for a simple transparent home loan. Clear Path now accounts for almost $6 billion of our mortgage portfolio
- launching Virgin Money Reward Me home loan which has a unique customer reward program attached to an iconic global brand
- offering home loans through BOQ Specialist (BOQS) which focuses on lending to the medical, dental and accounting sectors. BOQS originated loans now account for almost $4 billion of our mortgage portfolio.
We've continued this trend during our 2017 financial year, launching a kids' transaction account that has proved exceptionally popular with customers. We also re-launched Virgin Money's superannuation offering in partnership with Mercer Financial Services, giving customers significantly lower member fees and an improved offering with leading online and digital account management and member engagement. With its unique brand appeal and digital and third party distribution, Virgin Money gives customers a distinctive offering that sets it apart from competitors. We've also expanded our offering to niche business segments through our new BOQ Finance Cashflow Finance business. Each of these products and services provides added value for customer segments that are strategically important.
While we've made progress, we also recognise the opportunity that technology presents to improve our data analytics so we can better understand customers' needs and deliver greater value through more tailored product offerings. Building on this capability will be a priority for us over the next few years. It will drive our future product offerings and allow us to make more integrated risk and pricing decisions.
Looking ahead, we'll support our niche business strategy by building on our BOQ Finance expertise in the agricultural and medical industries. We'll also introduce new financial market risk management solutions for interest rate, trade finance and foreign exchange, as well as a new customer credit insurance product.
We ensure we're connecting customers with the right products by diligently applying our responsible lending obligations so that we:
• develop lending products and supporting documentation and processes to ensure we lend only what our customers can afford to repay
• market our products and services responsibly and transparently
• help improve our customers' financial understanding and literacy.
Our conservative approach to regulatory compliance has seen us become early adopters for a range of regulatory guidelines. We've continued to evolve our lending criteria and policies for retail and commercial loans which, together with a program of regular credit policy review and improvement, ensures we have a responsive approach to market trends and stakeholder expectations. We have maintained conservative risk settings in a number of areas including lending to foreign borrowers, loan-to-value ratios for lending in areas heavily reliant on the mining industry, and more conservative lending for certain types of property development. Our conservative approach also drove our decision to validate all home loan applications through a centralised process.
We've continued to improve the quality of our loan portfolio as demonstrated through lower loan impairment expense, impaired asset balances and arrears. Further details are available in our 2017 financial results information.
While we are confident we're managing our lending portfolio well, we will continue to adapt our approach to meet changing stakeholder expectations and macroeconomic conditions. In the coming years, we will strengthen risk profiling by implementing a consistent and more granular risk grading methodology across the Group. We'll also continue to improve our data analytics capability by integrating risk and pricing information across the Group to build out the efficiency and quality of credit decisions.
Customer satisfaction, engagement and advocacy
At the heart of our strategy is our close relationships with customers. Our brand positioning unites our people with a shared goal to prove ‘It's Possible to Love a Bank'. This, together with our vision to be Australia's most loved bank, ensures customer satisfaction, engagement and advocacy are key focus areas for BOQ.
We strive to provide exceptional customer service, but recognise that sometimes things don't go as well as they should. Customers can provide feedback through our website, any of our branches or our Customer Contact Centre. We try to resolve any complaints immediately, and when that is not possible we let the person know the next steps for escalating the complaint. Most complaints can be resolved within five business days. We act fairly and ethically in resolving all complaints and have a dedicated Customer Relations Team to support the resolution process.
In 2016, we began integrating customer feedback through a new team whose primary focus is to help us understand, prioritise and drive initiatives that improve the experience of being a BOQ customer. During 2017, we appointed a Customer Advocate to enhance our complaints handling process and improve customer experience. This appointment has made it easier for customers when things go wrong and has helped us resolve issues more effectively. In our 2018 financial year our customers' voices will be amplified as we look at how we integrate and analyse all customer feedback avenues through one central source to help us capture and respond to feedback better.
Complaints that cannot be resolved to the customer's satisfaction can be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service for an independent review. More information on our complaint handling processes is available on our website. Our complaint management figures are available on our non-financial performance table.
Customer in charge
One of our key strategic pillars is putting our customers in charge of when, where and how they interact with us. We aim to create an experience our customers love by improving our customer service across all our service points.
A crucial part of this strategic pillar has been improving our digital service offering – this has been a priority for us the past few years. A number of technology issues rated highly on this year's sustainability survey. It's one of our major sustainability themes for the year ahead, and you can find out more about how we're using technology to improve our customer experience on our 'changes in technology' page.
As well as improving the customer experience through our digital channels we've also been empowering customers to bank ‘their way' through our branch network. Over the past few years we've progressively introduced new-look branches that use open-plan design and a range of self-service and semi self-service technology options so customers can choose the level of support they want from branch staff.
Some customers prefer to use brokers, so we've continued to make ourselves more accessible by expanding our broker presence. After just four years, we now have 7,000 accredited brokers selling products from across the BOQ Group.
Lifting customer satisfaction
We have made significant progress over the past few years but our aspiration to be Australia's most loved bank means there is more to do to improve customer experience.
In 2016, we partnered with RFi Group, one of Australia's leading market research and business intelligence companies. We will use this research to find out more about what drives our customer satisfaction scores and how we can improve customer satisfaction. You can find out more about how we're putting customers at the heart of everything we do on our customer sustainability webpage.
We're empowering our customers to bank their way by building out our customer channels and gaining a better understanding of customers' needs through market research and our own data analytics. However, there's another major area of customer satisfaction we continue to invest in – our people. It's our people and their passion to prove ‘It's Possible to Love a Bank' that continues to drive our fan base. We support our people with training and personal development programs that equip them with the best skills to give customers an experience they will love.
In the year ahead we'll help them deliver an even more loveable service to customers through more personalised, proactive and practical on-the-job training for new starters in retail banking divisions. We will also deliver a new training program to frontline and support staff focused on improving our customers' experience and building loyalty. The program will focus on meeting more customer needs, implementing a consistent approach to service excellence and increasing the quality of coaching provided to our people. You can find out more about how we're attracting and retaining our talented employees on our People and Culture sustainability webpage. We also have a range of customer, people, community and environmental performance measures outlined in our non-financial performance table.