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Customer Champions: speaking up for customers


The Customer Project, focused on relationship excellence, underpins the Group’s ambition of becoming the preferred bank among personal customers, businesses and corporates. It is structured around four pillars: managing relationship excellence together, becoming a benchmark digital bank, offering our customers a wide range of banking and non-banking services, and empowering our brands.

More specifically, managing relationship excellence together means:
- developing and ensuring buy-in to a CA service culture;
- optimising how we listen to customers and measure customer satisfaction;
- rolling out our new relationship model across the Group;
- rolling out “zero irritant” systems to achieve operational excellence. 


Chiffre 64

A total of 64 Customer Champions at Deputy CEO level have been appointed at various Group entities, Regional Banks, subsidiaries and Credit Agricole S.A. As well as leading transformation on customer-related issues within their entities, they are there to help the Group tease out new ideas and projects.

In concrete terms, each subsidiary and Regional Bank user department has committed to identify and resolve one or two major irritants in 2020, resulting in a total of 15 or so significant irritants to the customer experience being corrected across the Group in the short term. At the same time, a continuous improvement approach is to be implemented to ensure that irritants are resolved on a day-to-day basis.


"This aspect of relationship excellence is a key component that needs to be addressed at the highest levels. This is not just about fixing something that isn’t working; it’s about transforming how we do things. We all need to work together and share responsibility – hence the key role played by Customer Champions." Karine Bourguignon,  Director of Customer Relationships and Innovation, Crédit Agricole S.A.




Portrait de Laurent Pras

Interview with Laurent Pras, Deputy CEO of CA Payment Services and Payments Customer Champion 


You are the Payments Customer Champion for CA Payment Services. Could you give us an overview of this role, which is new to the Group? 

The Group has set itself the ambition of being the preferred bank among personal customers, businesses, farmers and corporates. This means, in particular, achieving the highest standards of relationship excellence – notably those standards we measure through the Customer Recommendation Index (CRI). It’s also why a range of mechanisms has been thought up, such as “hunting down” irritants and appointing Customer Champions in each Group business line/entity.
Customer Champions are one link in the chain towards achieving a collective ambition. If we had to summarise their role in a single phrase, it would be “to be the customer’s voice” and monitor the quality of the customer experience.
In reality, it’s much more than this: it’s about ensuring that the customer’s voice is heard and, above all, translated into concrete action. More broadly, it’s also about developing a culture that’s systematically and continuously focused on customers’ existing and future needs – not just what we think customers need, but what they actually need.

This requires real change in our behaviours and, probably, in our organisational structure. In concrete terms, one of my most visible responsibilities is to coordinate the effort to “hunt down” irritants so as to deliver a “zero irritant” customer experience. Doing this efficiently means cataloguing and analysing irritants and prioritising corrective action. This is a shared effort within our companies and right across the Group.


Can you tell us what irritants CAPS is committed to rooting out in 2020?

In the payments business, we’re right at the heart of our customers’ day-to-day lives. That’s why we’re committed to offering the best possible customer experience. Ours is a fast-changing business, and our investigations cover a huge scope.

Our priorities for 2020 include many initiatives to reduce irritants relating to bank cards. For example:

- Simplifying how limits are managed.The number of limits will be reduced from twelve to four in the first half of 2020. They will be managed in a personalised way to avoid customers finding their cards blocked without good reason.Customers will also be able to make even more adjustments to limits on a “self-care” basis.

- In digital payments, overhauling the “My Card” app. The new app will offer an augmented user experience and enhanced payment functionality. We’ll also be launching Apple Pay to enable customers with iPhones to make contactless mobile payments.

- We haven’t forgotten about business customers, with our new, more user-friendly e-commerce offering and shorter payment terminal troubleshooting times.

- We’re also boosting our after-sales service by extending “SOS Cards” to cover all our means of payment.

- Lastly, we will be continuing to shorten the time taken to issue customers with bank cards, and plan to offer an immediately available virtual card as soon as an account is opened.


How did you identify the irritants that determined your action plan?

The leading contributors to our effort to detect irritants are, of course, customers of CAPS – i.e. the Group’s banks and all the companies that make up the Payments business line. For example, “SOS Cards”, operated by AVEM, is a valuable source of learning.
Of course, we are also working as closely as possible with Crédit Agricole S.A., and more specifically with each of its market divisions. As an example, the NBQ project includes many improvements connected with the new subscription banking offering. I’m thinking, for example, of “preferred online cards”, which are cards that are systematically authorised and enable customers to be alerted to card transactions in real time; these have been made popular by neobanks, and some customers now see them as a standard requirement.

CAPS already had a continuous improvement plan – Transformaction. It made sense for this plan, managed by each director and coordinated at senior management level, to be included within the “zero irritant” approach. After all, relationship excellence and operational excellence are everyone’s business.

We’ve also implemented a programme within CAPS named Tous clients, tous vigies (“Everyone a customer; everyone on the lookout”). We’re asking volunteer employees of the company to test not only our own offerings but also those of our competitors! The idea is to use payment services available in the market as a customer and then share one’s experience within the company. The aim is to improve our services as well as spotting competitors’ good ideas and practices. These are often a source of inspiration and are always a source of motivation to go further. This different perspective also plays a part in helping us eradicate irritants.


In your opinion, what are the critical success factors for this approach?

The number one success factor is awareness and a desire to take action together! This is a demanding exercise that requires us to revisit our processes, practices and habits and sometimes means making changes to our organisational structures. If you want to completely remove an irritant, working across organisational boundaries is often the only way to succeed! A cross-functional approach is the key.

Everyone has to see the approach as a step forward, not a constraint. So it’s first and foremost about a state of mind before it’s an organisational issue. Customer Champions have to help change people’s mindset. That’s my aim. 

Of course, this approach and this project are intended to serve our customers, but they also serve a business purpose: attracting more customers, achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction and having more loyal customers. Avoiding or resolving an irritant creates customer satisfaction, improves the CRI and thereby fosters growth in business and revenue.

I also see this project as a powerful driver of employee engagement. Customer satisfaction is also a form of recognition of our work and, all in all, something for all staff to be proud of.




Portrait de Jean Meplomb

We hear from Jean Méplomb, Head of Compliance for the for the Crédit Agricole S.A. Trades and Business Expertise Centres, and Compliance Customer Champion. 


“Compliance is an operational issue that affects all of the Group’s businesses and employees. It’s very closely connected with customer relationships, and thus with business relationships.
Because compliance is not yet fully integrated into information systems, it’s still not as seamless as it should be. We’re working to transform compliance to make it more embedded into our processes; at the same time, we’re a stakeholder in solving day-to-day problems and are committed to this effort to “hunt down” irritants.
It’s critical to attack these customer irritants at the very highest levels of the Group and each of its entities so as to drive the movement forward and facilitate their eradication." 


Group Compliance’s “Zero irritant” action plans for 2020 are structured around three key areas.


1. Sharing KYC* information between Group entities, which is both a financial security issue and a customer knowledge issue.

Customer irritant identified: “It’s you who advised me to work with your subsidiary Indosuez. Why do I have to provide the same documents all over again?”

2020 commitment: arrange for customer information to be shared between Regional Banks and CA Indosuez Wealth Management to streamline customer relationships. The approach will then be extended to all Group entities.

Additional action: Compliance has already published standards clarifying each party’s obligations. Example: for minors, if parents’ KYC information is fully compliant, their children’s is also considered compliant.

* Know your customer

 "KYC is our number one priority for 2020." Jean Meplomb


2. Clarifying customer communications

Customer irritant identified: “I’ve received a letter from my bank that’s absolutely incomprehensible.”

2020 commitment: 100% of regulatory communications approved by Group Compliance will be drafted jointly with customers.


3. Semantic analysis of customer complaints

This project, currently being designed with Crédit Agricole S.A.’s Customer Development and Innovation Data Lab, aims in particular to systematically and automatically analyse customer complaints to identify key irritants so corrective action can be taken.
Affected entities – Regional Banks and subsidiaries – will be able to benefit from this diagnostic information and from learning in relation to the customer journey, customer relationships and the service offering.
The approach, currently being tested by the Centre-est Regional Bank, should be available sometime in the second quarter of 2020.


"Beyond this 2020 action plan, the role of the Customer Champion is to cultivate this culture of relationship excellence within each business line and entity by communicating, raising awareness and motivating staff to commit to this strategic goal." Jean MEPLOMB



Would you like to know more about these topics?
- Watch the videos “Academy for Relationship Excellence: customers talk to us about excellence”
- (Re-)read the feature “Customer relationship, the 5 key steps"
- (Re-)read the feature “Smart compliance”

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