How focusing on customer service can boost a challenger brand

29th Dec 2015

Metro Bank is forging a new kind of relationship with customers – one in which clients (or “fans”, as chief executive Craig Donaldson deems them) not only actively transact with the bank, but actively believe in its ethos.

This shift is no doubt the result of a gap in the market for a bank that people feel they can trust; where the customer truly does come first. Here’s how this leading challenger bank is using its customer-centric strategies to set itself apart from competitors:

Focus on fans

In 2014, Metro Bank doubled in size because it found a whole new customer base through its existing fans. “They told their friends that they should be customers – and that’s how we build the bank,” Donaldson explains. “I would far rather we focused on creating fans, and continue to keep them, by doing great stuff for them than spend money on advertising and creating a clever ad line.”

All ears

Donaldson explains how he abandoned the one-size-fits-all proposition and instead sought to develop the bank by listening to customers. “You have to be able to adapt to what the customers want by listening and then taking action,” he explains. “Service is all about the individual and understanding how you deliver to them.”

Serving communities

Metro Bank moved onto the high street in 2010, just as other banks were exiting and placing more emphasis on customer contact through digital means. It might seem like a curious move, but Donaldson confirms that Metro Bank’s stores are there to connect the bank with the community.

The store-based model has some unique features to differentiate itself from more traditional bank branches, including welcoming children with lollipops, providing water and treats for dogs and, perhaps most significantly, no in-store barriers between customers and staff.

Multichannel approach

Of course, Metro Bank’s commitment to stores does not mean that it has sacrificed digital investment. The challenger bank also offers mobile app, telephone and online banking, and engages with customers through social media. Its call centre operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and only closes three days a year.

“We do all this because we want to be there for our customers,” Donaldson explains. “We win a lot of business and customers through the little things that matter; they are not gimmicks.”

Read the original version of this article, published in the June 2015 issue of Customer Focus magazine.  

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