In part one of my interview with Capitec Bank’s team, I spoke with Charl Nel and Shaun Ray about the bank’s customer-centric strategy and how they use social media to understand customers. Capitec has clearly been successful. Once the small challenger bank, Capitec continues to acquire customers and now has the second largest customer base among South African retail banks.
My 2017 research collaboration with the opinion mining firm, Brandseye, also shed light on how Capitec is differentiating itself through customer experience. For this research, we mapped social media commentary about the 5 largest banks in South Africa to my “Elements of Customer Experience” model, and Capitec far outperformed the other major banking brands, particularly when it came to living up to their brand promise and providing a value proposition that resonated with customers. In part 2 of my interview, I sat down with Shaun Ray to discuss what the Capitec customer experience team is doing differently.
A tale of simplicity
Capitec rose to prominence by offering just one product: Global One. Customers can use it as a transactional bank, to save and invest as well as, more recently, get a credit card.
This has handsomely paid off: Capitec now has 10-million customers, and continues to acquire 100 000 new customers a month! For comparison’s sake, the other Big 5 banks are Standard Bank (11,6-m), Nedbank (7,4-m), Absa (8,75) and FNB (7,7m).
In part one of my interview, Charl and Shaun emphasise simplicity as their number one motivation. Despite the rapid uptick in technology and new innovations and channels in the finance sector, they concede that they need to evolve with the times to remain relevant. Despite this, they will always keep it simple and engage the customer around their needs and in a language they understand – technology agnostic.
No delusions of grandeur
Despite widespread customer and non-customer support, Capitec isn’t resting on its laurels. They acknowledge that there is a lot of innovation happening in the banking industry and plenty of new communication channels are available for customers to engage with. This keeps the team on their toes as they know if they ever claim that “they’re arrived” it could be their death knell. They instead say, “we have never arrived”.
This humble attitude feeds through from the frontline all the way to the CEO. Everyone understands what the role of the customer is and believes understanding them, and meeting their needs is the bank’s no.1 priority. The CEO, Gerrie Fourie, even went so far as to say publicly at their recent AGM, that the customer always comes first at Capitec.
Shaun doesn’t shy away from the importance of customer centric culture. The CX team can’t be everywhere at once, and the last thing the CX team want is to become a bottleneck for customer experience innovation. Capitec has rather focused on empowering the entire organization to create and deliver great experiences.
The team also leverages technology and data to create personalized communication and identify where there are hurdles in the customer journey. Shaun highlighted the potential of AI and big data analytics, but also warned that these insights are only as good as how they are put to work.
For a Customer Experience Professional, this is music to my ears. But what I particularly like about Capitec is their willingness to accept that they don’t know it all, that their customers will teach them a thing or two and that they need to remain agile in an ever-evolving market. While they are considered the darling of the banking industry, it is an accolade that needs to be treated carefully, and respectfully. This can be done by listening to the customer and designing products and processes around their needs, not the banks.
Decoding the Customer is a customer experience podcast created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is one of Southern Africa’s foremost experts in Customer Experience Management. To see Julia’s banking industry research collaboration with Brandseye, click here. For more information about Julia’s services including her customer experience analysis methodologies, click here. To hear other episodes of Decoding the Customer, click here.