Customer stories

The Impact of Customer-Centricity at Danske Bank

Danske Bank has strived to drive growth and development in society for over 150 years. The Danish multinational banking and financial services corporation aims to be the best possible bank for the benefit of its customers and the communities it is a part of.

One of the ways the corporation has tried to accomplish this is with the use of customer insights, which it has been doing for more than 10 years now.

But how does Danske Bank use the insights to truly resonate with its customers? Read on and find out.

Customer insights are “the secret ingredient”

John Pedersen is the Head of Customer Insights at Danske Bank. His passion is to get the voice of the customers spread out to the entire organisation, which he calls “the secret ingredient” to success.“

"Without having customer insights and customer centricity at the very top of the agenda, how do we still manage to bring good business decisions from human insights?” he asks rhetorically.

His team uses insights into customers’ needs, preferences and perceptions of the bank, which help push the agenda of customer-driven decisions in the company.

“We are working with insights from a tracking perspective and measuring customers’ perception of us, both on the immediate opinion of us, but also on the specific journeys and touchpoints,” John Pedersen explains.

They are using this to understand; “what’s going right, what’s going wrong, are we better than our competitors, and where can we improve?”

“We activate those insights one-to-one, so we feed the feedback to the advisor who owns the feedback. They can take action on it to watch the customers.”

Involving the customer provides expert knowledge

Danske Bank is placed organisation-wide in a close-to-business-unit strategy, so it is within personal customers and business customers. This means that they work with segmentation, value propositions and those types of insights, but also with tribes setup in digital development.

“We enable a DIY approach, but having 10-15 people across the teams working with insights is not enough for a big company like Danske Bank to push us in the right direction. We need to scale this out and get the voice of the customer in every corner of the bank. But that balance is hard because we can’t be all over the place. That is some of what we are dealing with in our daily work,” John admits.

When experiencing a knowledge gap in a certain area, they want to deep dive into it. For instance, what is important when buying a house? In these cases, they involve the customer to a great extent to be experts in the specific area. This enables Danske Bank to create superior solutions in the market.  

“Involving the customer is always going to be important because they are the makers of our business. The success of what we’re doing depends to some extent on how popular customer centricity is and that varies over time,” explains John Pedersen.

The circumstances affect the work when taking the customer in the development work of the business operations. They try to use the knowledge in as many business units as possible. For example, John and his team often look at insights from a designer’s perspective:

“Designers work with human insights in the design process. They are leading their surroundings by the way they work and I think we could all learn from that. Not necessarily change the whole customer centricity, but at least the surroundings. That is what we try to do at Danske Bank,” he states.

KPIs are a helpful shortcut – but never a human insight

These days KPIs have become a very central part of running a business. The correlation seems to be ‘the bigger the company, the more KPIs’.

But John looks at it a bit differently. KPIs are not human insights but “just numbers tracking some score up and down. That won’t bring us insights to improve our business”, he emphasises.

KPIs can be a valuable gateway to the voice of the customer – which you can then follow up with real insights and use to make decisions and learn from. John Pedersen says it works perfectly as a shortcut and resonates with many of the classical senior stakeholders' views on insights.

Sonar has been a great partner “in the engine room”

John gives a view into what he calls “the engine room” as he tells about their specific initiatives when working with digital development. For example, he sees the potential of having tons of different measurements in various flows and solutions.

Previously their measurements were too far from those digital touchpoints. This made them realise two things.

“First off the measurement needs to be closer to the experience of the customer to be relevant and bring us useful, continuous and actionable insights from the users to the product owners and the designers working with these solutions,” Pedersen says.

Besides that, they need a feedback component integrated into different flows, making it easy for the team to deploy. This should be combined with specific rules, so they don’t ask the customer 10 different effort score questions.

And then Danske Bank has some ad-hoc use of insights. It is a classic discipline where Sonar plays a great role with decentralised digital development teams testing prototypes and researching more exploratively about the user's needs and wants,”
states John Pedersen.

A key component is to have a scalable solution where Danske Bank is not the bottleneck in setting up the test and executing it.

“Sonar is an important part of the engine room as an execution machine and as a skill best practice advisory and sparring partner,” John Pedersen concludes.