In 2016, Intesa Sanpaolo continued its strategy to innovate services, products and processes already started in 2015, aiming to radically change how it relates to customers, with a new concept of “design thinking”, that starts from listening to what customers want, to have their opinions and suggestions on different stages of the products/services life cycle and improve operating and commercial processes.

The strategy is divided into four stages, adopting a Test & Learn approach until the best customer experience for clients is achieved:

  • Needs' analysis: interviewing customers in order to identify their needs;
  • Service design: creating new products and services based on research evidence;
  • Detail design: aligning design with business requirements;
  • Customer tests and prototyping: repeating process to be in line with customer expectations.

After launching the strategy, engagement continued with fine tuning and measuring customer experience of all contact and customer relations areas (touchpoints); customer experience was systematically surveyed, results were analysed and corrective actions started to improve the service.

Needs' analysis surveys were conducted involving different customer segments from the Bank and customers of main competitors, using a number of techniques, from simple face to face interviews, interviews over the telephone, via the Internet and focus groups, to more complex ethnographic surveys, usability tests, creative workshops and conjoint analysis. During 2016 around 15 surveys were conducted on needs' analysis, mainly involving customers and in some cases managers and the Bank took part in more than 5 National Observatories.

In 2016, 480 mystery shopping interviews (and a further 475 telephone interviews) were conducted for retail and personal bank branches during surveys, with ratings of areas of behaviour identified by the Central Department and Network as part of the “Insieme per la Crescita” programme (see the section on Service Quality). The service level of the Online Branch was also monitored for customers contacting this branch by phone or Internet. Survey outcomes were important to start making changes to the service model.

Areas of action

Numerous areas were involved in this new method of working, including: the design of the new branch layout, a thorough review of Internet banking and the new mobile App, the definition of the new loan disbursement process and development of the proximity payment solution.

Processes were revised starting from services offered by the Bank to meet Customers' banking and non-banking needs in day-to-day transactions. The aim was to facilitate a quick and simple relationship between the customer and Bank, also through new digital channels and regardless of the originating Branch, while ensuring total security and ongoing assistance, as well as new customised business proposals.

Activities which started in 2015 in over 30 areas concerning current account and debit/credit card products continued during 2016, involving over 40 project segments, overseen by work teams involving numerous Bank functions.

14 of the initiatives launched in 2015 were released and will lead, among others, to a comprehensive review of the card shipment and delivery process, innovative procedures for card activation, new text messages and App notifications of transactions and improved customer experience in the case of fraud and demagnetised cards.

Actions were stepped up in 2016 (another 17 activities were identified, with design and development taking place in 2017), increasing the number of project segments underway to over 50.

Customer experience surveys

In 2016, customer experience surveys became systematic, regular and closely connected with processes being reviewed, to obtain feedback on critical pre-review aspects and continually monitor review effectiveness.

The surveys involved customers and Network colleagues that have direct contact with customers. Overall, 2,000,000 retail, personal and corporate customers were involved in 2016, at more than 20 touchpoints relative to the service provided by main customer contact channels (branches, the online branch, Internet banking, ATMs).

2014 surveys2015 surveys2016 surveys

E-mail surveys on branch sales (cards, accounts, mortgages, loans and small business loans) and advisory services to retail customers:

  • ƒ656,000 target customers
  • 83,000 opinions expressed
  • 6,400 customers contacted by the Contact Unit

E-mail and text message surveys on sales (cards, accounts, mortgages, loans and small business loans) and advisory services and cash transactions of retail customers:

  • ƒapproximately 6 m target customers;
  • ƒapproximately 450,000 opinions expressed

E-mail and text message surveys on sales (cards, accounts, mortgages, loans and small business loans) and advisory services and cash transactions of retail customers:

  • ƒƒƒapproximately 2 m target customers
  • ƒƒapproximately 250,000 opinions expressed

Net satisfaction index*: 38

Net satisfaction index: 41

Net satisfaction index: 45

* Net satisfaction index: Percentage of satisfied customers (a dark green emoticon for retail and personal customers), minus the percentage of dissatisfied customers (a dark red, red and yellow emoticon for retail and personal customers).

During 2016, Network colleagues were involved in 12 on various issues mainly concerning managers and to a lesser extent, directors. A total of 40,000 questionnaires were sent and 18,675 replies were collected (47%).

Comments made by customers or colleagues compiling the questionnaires (around 312,000) were analysed using a semantic engine, Clarabridge. A taxonomy was created, identifying macro-topics and relative sub-topics most often referred to by customers.

Another survey area concerned Third sector customers. A comprehensive survey, comprising a fact-finding/exploratory stage and quantitative stage was carried out. 8 focus groups and 5 personal interviews were held, followed up by 2,000 telephone interviews of Third sector organisations.

Identifying the Net Promoter Score and benchmark Observatories

Starting from 2016, the Net Promoter Score1, which measures to what extent customers are willing to recommend a company, has been a part of the four areas comprising the synthetic indicator assessing branch excellence, and used in the Branch performance Assessment System (SEIok).  

Identifying the likelihood of recommending the Bank (NPS)

Retail customers and retail corporate customers: the survey contacted 3.9 million customers after considerable interaction with the Bank (5.5 million emails were sent, and 450 thousand ratings were received). 50,000 companies were also interviewed. Results at a single branch level were made available. Scores obtained:

  • NPS Retail: 8
  • NPS Businesses: 18

The NPS methodology lets customers have their say, and collects information about customer satisfaction, dissatisfaction and their suggestions. Customer comments made during each interview are analysed using semantic analysis tools and related to promotion and detraction factors, in order to assign the right value to opinions made and identify strengths and areas for improvement.

This analysis, along with an extensive plan involving the Network to raise awareness of the importance of customers' opinions, means that virtuous behaviour can be adopted on a continual basis and changes made to governance and management processes, so that each resource can help improve his/her area of influence.

The analysis and assessment of comments were combined with a structured, ongoing plan to get back in contact with customers, which involved retail and corporate customers in 2016. In particular, customers who agreed during NPS interviews were contacted again by their branch, in order to consolidate relations with advisors, encourage relations with borrowers and find out more about dissatisfaction in the case of detractor customers.

The system to reward Intesa Sanpaolo network staff confirmed the importance of the Synthetic Performance Indicator, which comprises seven key measurement factors (Profitability, Extendibility, Credit Quality, Sustainable Growth, Service Quality, Co-responsibility and Multi-channel strategies), with specific indicators to assess, among others, individual and team merit, also between different commercial areas, and sustainable performance in the short and medium term in different sectors.

The service quality indicator (Branch Excellence Indicator, which the NPS contributes to) is particularly important for determining the Synthetic Performance Indicator, accounting for 25% of the final score.

An excellence bonus is awarded for up to 20% of the best branches and for up to 30% of the best performing areas of each Commercial Segment provided that the following parameters are met:

  • the minimum score required for the Synthetic Performance Indicator (100);
  • 100% of the target assigned for the Operating Excellence KPI;
  • 100% of the target assigned for the Credit Excellence KPI.

This system confirms the significance of “Service Quality” indicators, where a 100% achievement of Operating Excellence objectives (indicating the conformity of branch operations) and Credit Excellence objectives are necessary in order to be considered for the Excellence award.

Specific benchmarking of Intesa Sanpaolo's competitive positioning vis-à-vis its competitors is also carried out, in terms of the NPS and related Satisfaction Indexes. In 2016, benchmarking was only carried out for corporate customers and was deferred for retail customers to a few months after the release of the new site and new Apps, so that digital customer experience can first be consolidated.

Corporate benchmarking

Benchmarking was carried out with 8,000 telephone interviews of companies operating throughout Italy, identifying their willingness to recommend the bank (NPS), promoter and detractor factors and level of satisfaction compared to their main Bank.

This survey, which was anonymous, confirmed Intesa Sanpaolo's market leader position in 2016, in terms of willingness to recommend the Bank and the satisfaction of business customers:

  • the Net Promoter Score for Intesa Sanpaolo was equal to 18 compared to a system average of 14;
  • the Net Satisfaction Index in terms of Intesa Sanpaolo customers' relationships with their Branch was equal to 28 compared to a system average of 23.

1 The Net Promoter score (NPS) is the percentage of satisfied customers promoters (a rating of 9-10 for companies, a dark green emoticon for retail and personal customers), minus the percentage of detractors (a rating of 0-6 for companies, a dark red, red and yellow emoticon for retail and personal customers).

The service quality monitoring system: SEIok

SElok is the tool that allows the Network and Department to monitor the Service Quality index on a monthly basis, investigating all the different items that make it up and making it possible to intervene effectively to solve critical issues.

SEIok provides a synthetic indicator that measures service quality and three families of indices to facilitate the identification of areas for improvement: Operating Excellence which provides an indication of compliance with the relevant rules on the conduct of the banking and brokerage business, management of conflicts of interest, transparency and consumer protection regulations; Service Excellence which indicates service efficiency and quality; Credit Excellence, which indicates professionalism in helping customers, often in difficult circumstances, and the Net Promoter Score which rates to what extent the customer would recommend the bank to family and friends.

In 2016, the SEIok was renewed, becoming an aggregator for branches and their excellence objective: service excellence alone allows to have such happy customers as to become the bank's promoters. For this reason, the Net Promoter Score, the index that represents the intensity of the relationship between the customer and the brand, plays a very important role in the Branch Excellence (weighing between 30% and 40%).

Large corporate customers

New customer satisfaction surveys were also held for Intesa Sanpaolo's large Italian corporate customers in 2016.

210 customers were involved in a survey on Cash Counting, Deposit and Procurement services, with the aim of identifying areas for improvement based on suggestions and feedback.

The online survey had a 24% response rate (in particular 34 respondents agreed in ratings being disclosed and 10 were willing to be contacted again). The Net Promoter Score (NPS) index is equal to 12% and the overall satisfaction index (CSI – Customer Satisfaction Index1) is equal to 79.5 out of 100.

Acquiring services were also analysed, a few months after Setefi's commercial structure was transferred to Intesa Sanpaolo, to have an overview of customer perception, identify strategies to adopt and improve service/product characteristics.

The survey involved 459 customers online and was a part of surveys on transactions, allowing for the constant monitoring of satisfaction trends over time.

The response rate was 19% (in particular 56 respondents agreed to disclose feedback and 16 to be contacted again). The Net Promoter Score index is equal to 19.5% and the overall satisfaction index (CSI – Customer Satisfaction Index) is equal to 80.4 out of 100.

1 Customer satisfaction index: The index was calculated using a structural equation model with latent variables, specifically PLS-PM (Partial Least Squares - Path modelling). Model outputs include the measurement, through a synthetic index, of the overall satisfaction level (CSI - Customer Satisfaction Index).

International Bank customers

Listening 100% activities at the Group's international banks resumed in 2016. Two surveys were conducted with telephone interviews on a sample of retail customers and two surveys of SME customers. For the first time, surveys of large corporate customers were also conducted, by telephone and the Internet.

Specifically, benchmarking of a sample of the population and retail bank customers was carried out involving five banks for a comparative survey (Banca Intesa Beograd, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Slovenia, CIB Bank, Privredna Banka Zagreb, VÚB Banka) and six banks for an internal customer survey (Banca Intesa Beograd, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Slovenia, CIB Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, Privredna Banka Zagreb, VÚB Banka). Around 16,000 retail customers were interviewed.

Benchmarking results showed customers are highly satisfied with reference to the countries and Group Banks monitored. In particular, international Group banks are nearly always ranked in leading positions or are close to their national competitors. For all countries involved, use of the physical network by most customers has decreased in favour of ATMs, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking Apps.

For SME and large corporate customers, Banca Intesa Beograd and CIB Bank were involved, with around 1,500 customer satisfaction interviews held.

In both surveys, customers welcomed the new initiatives, which considerably involved relationship managers as promoters of customer engagement.

Claims management

Careful and prompt claims management is important, to specifically identify causes of dissatisfaction. From this, corrective actions can be taken to reduce operational, reputational and legal risks and enhance bank/customer relations.

As part of Customer Experience surveys, customers who had filed complaints were also interviewed. The aim was to investigate their customer experience, as regards the clarity, timeliness and transparency of responses.

56,558 claims, complaints and appeals were received during 2016, in Italy, broken down as follows:

claims 2016

  • Loans: accounting for 59% of the total. These mainly concern claims filed by customers or former customers, in relation to the early repayment of loans with repayment from their salary, who demanded the pro-rata return of charges and/or expenses paid when the loan was disbursed, and to a lesser extent, claims concerning processing errors or delays (which also refer to the management of requests to cancel mortgages and the portability of loans and/or subrogation), conditions or procedures for their adoption (including alleged usury and the alleged unlawfulness of compound interest effects), problems related to credit ratings and errors in reporting to the Central Credit Register.
  • Payment systems: accounting for 13% of the total. Claims mainly concern fraud, failure to de-recognise payment card transactions, errors or delays in transactions, POS equipment failures and service conditions.
  • Organisational issues and website management and functions: accounting for 11% of the total. These mainly refer to information and communication errors by the Bank, chiefly due to a failure to provide or a delay in providing requested documents, personnel behaviour, bank counter shut-downs, opening times, queues and waiting times.
  • Insurance products: accounting for 9% of the total. The most frequent causes of complaints refer to liquidation (the conduct of adjusters, the payment of insurance cover), and problems associated with administrative aspects (customer service, times and the content of disclosure during the relationship); the number of claims concerning out-of-court appeals to settle disputes for compensation for the transit of vehicles or vessels was significant.
  • Current accounts, deposits, securities portfolios and investments: accounting for 4% and 3% respectively of the total. Generally, claims relating to current accounts concerned alleged errors or delays in carrying out customer instructions or account conditions, while claims relating to investments concerned in particular the negative trend of financial markets, with results not in line with investment fund, asset management and financial policy expectations

The above data include 1,420 requests for clarification from the Regulatory Authorities, after customer complaints were sent to them, and 2,752 appeals filed with alternative dispute settlement bodies. The most frequent requests for clarification from the Regulatory Authorities concerned loans and organisational problems.

During 2016, a total of 54,020 claims were processed, of which 20,274 were upheld.

Average claim processing times for Italy were lower than requirements of applicable regulations.

155 customer complaints concerning infringement of the personal data protection act and 7 claims from the Data Protection Authority were received during 2016.

39,738 claims, complaints and appeals were received during 2016, for the international area, broken down as follows:

claims 2016

Payment systems (approximately 50% of the total) recorded the highest number of claims, mainly referring to legal disputes concerning the use of cards (16% in total), due in particular to ATM failures.

The category Organisation, Internet and Other accounted for 19% of all claims received. These mainly concern the Croatian subsidiary Privredna Banka Zagreb and problems with access to remote banking.

Claims concerning loans (personal loans and mortgages) account for 16% of the total, decreasing after the settlement of claims concerning foreign currency loans and unilateral changes to interest rates to the detriment of customers of the Hungarian subsidiary CIB Bank and loans in Swiss francs concerning the subsidiary Privredna Banka Zagreb.

Claims relative to Current Accounts, Deposits and Securities were limited (14% of the total), while claims concerning insurance products (0.5% of the total) and investment services (0.3% of the total) were negligible, in line with the relative business sectors of individual subsidiaries.

During 2016, a total of 39,517 cases were processed, of which 17,624 were upheld.

Average processing times vary depending on the subsidiaries and are generally in line with requirements of local regulations.

As concerns alleged infringements of the data protection act, figures are not provided for 2016, as alignment is still ongoing, to make reporting at a Group level uniform.