CommBank Exec: We've Lost The Deep Connections We Once Had With Customers

Getty/ Cameron Spencer

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has brought in writers, scientists and yogis from around the world in hopes of inspiring staff to solve the fundamental problem of building intimate relationships at scale.

The bank has a huge share of the Australian banking market and about 50,000 staff. About 500-600 people attended its Wired for Wonder conference in Sydney today; attendees estimated that about 200 were bank staff.

CBA chief information officer Michael Harte urged staff to take inspiration from the arts and sciences and apply those ideas to its banking business.

Here’s what he said:

Our customers have very different needs, from monthly spending to saving for future goals dreams, whether it’s as simple as getting a dream home or putting your children into the school you’ve always wanted for them, forming a new business, getting involved in philanthropy.

We’re supposed to be there in a deep, intimate, respectful relationship, and as the world got bigger and faster and everybody wanted to do things through smaller and smaller devices, anytime, anywhere, we lost that intimacy that we used to have – that deep relationship [where we would have] meaningful conversations about our day to day needs, our long-term dreams and aspirations.

We have people at work every single day thinking about how they bring back that relationship, how they restore that trust and increasingly try and personalise all the interactions we have with everyone on a daily basis – to personalise the exact needs and help facilitate the growth and dreams of families and communities.

CBA has been working on personalising its services for some time, allowing online banking customers to customise their NetBank homepages in 2009, and bringing in “big data” experts to work on customising financial products like loans and credit cards.

Now read: Where Australia’s Big 4 Banks Are Recruiting Staff From And How It Reflects Their Priorities

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