Customers don’t want a “product”, they want investment in their business
Nick was already heavily involved in improving processes for ING’s customers in his previous roles as Principal Account Manager SME and Product Manager Business Loans. Today, his work revolves around making it as easy as possible for our customers to arrange all the necessary aspects of a business loan – whenever and wherever it suits them.
“I’ve always been interested in process optimisation, because you help to improve things for whole groups of customers rather than just individuals. And my current role as Customer Journey Expert gives me plenty of scope to do that.” Nick works in the Business Loans Service Tribe, as part of the Business Loans Online squad. “People today want to be able to do more and more things themselves at a time that suits them, and our business clients are no different. They don’t want to be restricted by office hours or the availability of our advisors. Our squad makes sure that customers can take care of their financial matters online. We provide guidance throughout the process so that they get their application right first time. This minimises the amount of work involved for our customers and they know what they can expect because the procedure is transparent.”
“Within the squads, we always work towards a clear goal that we’ve defined ourselves. That goal is aligned with the bigger objective of the tribe and the organisation, and the customer is always at the centre of it all. Over the past year, for example, our tribe has implemented a completely new way of providing service to business customers. My previous squad’s goal was to make the loan offering more transparent and easier to understand, plus to simplify our processes and make them more predictable. In my current squad we’re working to make everything a customer can do – either at a branch, by telephone or via an advisor – also available online. Nowadays, customers have complete insight into their loans online and can also submit online loan applications. We’re increasingly communicating with them online too. So we’re giving our customers more control. ”
“As a squad, we’re responsible for our product, or the ‘customer journey’, from start to finish. It’s also up to us to decide what we need to accomplish our goals. In my experience, that’s a pleasant and very effective way of working. We work in line with the agile methodology, in sprints of two or three weeks, so we know exactly what’s going well and where we need to alter our approach. We keep a close eye on whether we’re doing the right thing. If we aren’t, we stop. If we are, then we roll it out on a larger scale. As a result we can take very decisive action, plus we can be much more customer-centric than before. After all, we utilise direct customer feedback to improve our products and services. We ask them, visit them and call them, and feedback tools are built into all of our products. We also receive valuable input from local colleagues who have customer contact.
To be honest, customers don’t want a ‘product’; what they want is investment in their business so that they can move forwards – and that’s why they need our products. We enable them to accomplish their goal; we empower them. Rather than being dependent on an account manager, they can now do it themselves – it’s easy, efficient and they soon know where they stand.
Making that possible – and preferably staying a step ahead of our customers and continuing to surprise them – requires us to put our entrepreneurialism and creativity to good use. We take it on and make it happen!”
Nick studied hospitality management at Stenden University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. He worked part-time in bars and restaurants during and just after completing his degree. He opted for one of the more commercial tracks as an ING Sales Trainee for the corporate market. He worked as a Relationship Manager and Account Manager SME. He gained his Greenbelt and Blackbelt diplomas and became Product Manager Business Loans.
He recently moved, together with his girlfriend and young daughter, from the centre of Utrecht to a listed farmhouse in rural Brabant, so he will be spending all of his free time on DIY and renovation work for the next few months.