Towards a digital culture

8 November 2021

‘ABN AMRO is working towards becoming a ’personal bank’ in a digital age. Digitalisation gives us unprecedented opportunities to make our service highly personalised and to tailor it to the individual wishes of the customer. At the same time, it allows us to reconfigure our processes to give customers access to these services 24/7 and to ensure that we are always there for each other. The biggest challenge this poses for our team is the need to satisfy both customers who want an increasingly online, client-friendly service and those who have difficulty with this concept. We are after all a bank for everyone, and want to do the best for all our customers.’

Mao-Fa Yeh is Online Service Specialist in ABN AMRO's E-Commerce and Engagement department. After gaining a degree in Strategic Management at Tilburg University, he spent many years gaining experience with the online retailer Coolblue. During this time, he learned how to run a webshop where turnover and customer satisfaction go hand in hand. ‘At the moment, my responsibility and challenge lies primarily in increasing the self-reliance of our customers. In other words, directing customer journeys so that they are happier managing their own banking affairs than calling customer service or going to a branch. It’s a subtle interplay which means carefully listening to and understanding what the customer wants.’


‘Bank-wide teamwork is crucial to this. While we all want to do our best for the customer in our own way, a superior online service can’t be achieved without feedback from advisers at our branches and in customer service. I use this feedback to improve processes and communication which the advisers can then refer to in their discussions with the customer. We thus improve the processes together and in so doing, help the customer to make the ‘switch to digital’.
A good example is the onboarding of customers, a time-consuming process which until recently required face-to-face contact, partly because there was no way to identify yourself online. By resolving this issue, we’ve made it easier for the customer to do business with ABN AMRO. 


As a traditional retail bank, we also have a duty of care to loyal customers who have banked with us for years but who may (as yet) be less comfortable with online banking. For me, the big challenge is to encourage these individuals to do more of their banking online, although of course we can’t oblige them to do so. Take the annual financial summary, which always gave rise to lots of questions. Customers didn’t know when it was available, where to find it or how to download it. As a result, we’d be inundated with phone calls in February and March. But by improving the way the process was organised and communicated, and by sending the paper-based version to specific target groups in advance, we’ve managed to reduce the number of calls in the run-up to the publication date by several thousand.
However, the online environment still isn’t perhaps the best place to deal with issues that customers may be emotional about. Which is why we sometimes opt straightaway for personal contact in certain processes, such as registering complaints or the death of a customer. But we’re also looking at ways of increasing our online capacity to demonstrate empathy in other processes too. For example, by switching from ‘dry text’ to a chatbot or very likely soon, from a chatbot to direct voice communication. We’re therefore using everything at our disposal to make banking as personal and user-friendly as possible. Online where we can, and live if it's more appropriate. 


‘It's not just ABN AMRO that's going digital, but also society as a whole. That’s precisely why I love working here so much. You feel a real sense of responsibility in getting everyone on board, ready to make the journey towards progress. I help both the customer and the bank to take steps to adapt to the new reality - and that makes me feel good.’

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