SINGAPORE: Concise and clear collateral design is at the heart of customer experience for financial brands, according to a senior executive at a major Singapore bank.

OCBC Bank, the second largest financial group in South East Asia, has overhauled the design of its mail communications to clarify financial information and offer more confidence to customers, rather than confuse them with financial jargon.

According to Jin Kang Moller, VP of Experience Design at the bank, customer experience is one way to differentiate a bank in a category where many products and services are essentially the same. (For more, read WARC's exclusive report: OCBC Bank taps design for customer experience overhaul.)

After finding OCBC's customer experience lacking both in-branch and in its communications materials, Moller led the process to makeover the bank's customer experience.

That meant no more financial documents that customers couldn't understand, an easier in-branch experience, and more digital banking options.

"The process starts with understanding your customer. It's not about what the business wants. It's not about what the CEO wants. It's really about understanding the customer, then we get ideas from that insight," Moller said at the recent Chief Customer Officer event in Singapore.

"We prototype, we know whether this concept makes sense in the eyes of the customer… it's common sense, but it's not often practised in many organisations, at least seven years ago. So it wasn't the case for our bank," she said.

"We've been applying this kind of concept throughout… it's the same content, we simplified and redesigned it. But the main idea of doing this is because we wanted to convert this form-filling experience into a conversation. That's what design can do," Moller explained.

To win over senior executives, Moller suggested that senior stakeholders view interviews with customers directly. OCBC doesn't employ research agencies, as she prefers a more hands-on approach to customer feedback.

"When we expose customers – what they do or what they say – directly to our stakeholders, the kind of decision we make is really different from when we present, 'This is what we heard from our customers'," she said. "Having empathy, really feeling the customers pain directly – that's fuel for change."

Data sourced from WARC