Csilla Ihász, Chairwoman Of The Management Board, UniCredit Bank Serbia:

Clients Come First

UniCredit Bank has done something no other bank has previously done – it launched the initiative Uchange, listening to the complaints, wishes and needs of clients in order to offer them the kinds of products and services they want

The banking sector, perhaps more than any other, must constantly change and meet the needs of increasingly demanding clients. UniCredit Bank realised this on time and entrusted its clients with the main role of creating offers and introducing novelties. Speaking to CorD about this is UniCredit Bank Serbia Management Board Chairman Csilla Ihász.

UChange is something unique on the Serbian banking market. How did you get the idea?

– When was the last time you went shopping for daily groceries; one of those most mundane, let’s say transactional purchases you can do? Yet, you somehow felt engaged. Valued. Something happened that made you feel understood, appreciated. Even respected. It touched you emotionally and you somehow felt special. We all have moments like this. But unfortunately they seldom happen in banking. So, at UniCredit Bank Serbia we decided to embark on an exciting journey to understand more about our customers, their feelings and behaviour. We at UniCredit Bank realised that if we want to make a difference we need to walk in the shoes of our clients in order to understand what they really care about. With the aim of winning over the hearts of the people, we launched the UChange initiative.

You invited clients to lead changes aimed at improving their own experience. That is not common in the banking world. What did you do specifically and how did they react?

– When we decided to change the way of doing banking, the only thing that was clear from the very beginning was that we had to give the main role to the clients. We asked ourselves who better than them could know what could we do to improve their experience in a branch? And that was a major milestone in our UChange initiative. Together with 50 existing, prospective and former clients, we reshaped the way they feel in our branches. Colleagues presented them with potential solutions, which they tested and then suggest changes. It was nothing extraordinary for us when we sent invitations for the UClient event. But when I met the guests I realised that we had done something unexpected. They told us that this was the first time any bank had sought their opinion in this way. Even though they were sceptical about their role, once workshops started they soon realised that we really need them to make a change. This was a breakthrough. I have to say that energy and engagement peaked. When I saw how different groups defended their standpoints – with lots of passion – I was convinced that we had done the right thing.

Everything in banking is about the people and, thus, they will continue playing the main role in transforming our business

What are the next steps? Is this actually just the beginning of creating an excellent customer experience?

– This very unique initiative, UChange, was made through different preparatory phases. First we listened to our customers through various communication channels in order to find out what bothers them about the way we do banking. We put all this data together and analysed the customer experience, clustered major pain points and observed them in three areas – space, people and service. Then we invited guests who, after a very productive all-day discussion, agreed upon three quick solutions that will be piloted in several branches in the months ahead. We decided that all those engaged in creating an excellent customer experience at UniCredit branches will be the first to test the solutions. That’s because everything in banking is about the people and, thus, they will continue playing the main role in transforming our business.