Discover what Patrick Kindt, Communication Director KBC, has to say about being Best Financial Services Brand and how to adapt communication in a state of global pandemic.
How will you maintain that leading position in 2021?
Patrick Kindt: In recent years, KBC’s strategy focussed heavily on customer experience and we will continue to focus on this. We are committed to to delivering a top-notch experience to our customers, across all touchpoints. An experience in which everything goes seamlessly, quickly and easily. We work on this every day. Since November 2020 we have addedanother layer in the form of Kate, our personal digital assistant in KBC Mobile, with whom our customers can chat 24/7. A great personal assistant to help them save time and money even more easily. This is unique in the Belgian financial community.
You have one of the highest brand trust scores. How do you maintain your consumer’s trust?
Patrick: Trust is not something you can market. You don’t create trust simply by communicating that you’re trustworthy. You create trust with the things you do. Essentially your priority is to not undermine the customer’s trust, in everything you do, in every interaction with your customers. In addition, you must also provide top-notch expertise. Obviously, being one of the strongest and most creditworthy financial players in Europe helps to earn a lot of trust. But we are also working hard towards creating a culture of responsible behaviour, which is one of the pillars of our sustainability policy. Moreover, KBC is deeply rooted in our Belgian home market. To quote a former advertising slogan, we are still a local bank (de bank van hier), a financial institution with a long tradition, which is perceived as being very close to customers and authentic.
You have a brand awareness score of 97%. How do you reach younger target groups?
Patrick: KBC has a (‘preternaturally’ high) market share among young people that is higher than its natural market share . Our innovations, our digital channels have definitely contributed to our good reputation in this segment. Our market surveys also reflect this: young people love our app. We’re also constantly adding new features and young people really embrace this fast-paced change. In addition, branding also plays a role to a certain extent. Our brand identity and our tone of voice appeal to young people. Our marketing communication is always a bit tongue in cheek, not in an over-the-top way, but we don’t mind a bit of humour. But our social media make all the difference. The style of the conversations that we engage in with our customers on social media is unique and second to none in our sector.
According to the Best Brands study, KBC offers the best brand experience. What do you do to optimise this experience?
Patrick: When we ask prospects why they became customers, they often tell us that their first experiences with KBC exceeded all their expectations. Clearly they are very satisfied with us for a reason, but it’s very difficult to pinpoint why. Internal That’s because this experience - in addition to all the processes that must run seamlessly - originates in the DNA ? of our own people. It is an exponent of our ‘Team Blue’ spirit, the desire to go the extra mile for customers time and again and to continue to work together even in difficult conditions. Customers also experience this connection within the company.
The Best Brands study shows that KBC is the brand that best meets its customers’ expectations. Have these expectations changed in the past year and, if so, how has KBC adapted to these new expectations?
Patrick: Customer expectations have definitely evolved but this is not a new development, nor is it specific to the financial sector. Consumers in general have changed, often based on their experience with companies such as Amazon, Bol.com or Coolblue. People expect the same great customer experience - no fuss, digital and fast processes - from KBC as well and so we must provide it. All the customer wants, is to be assisted in real time. They increasingly don’t care through which channel. At KBC, we have already increased our accessibility by ensuring that customers can contact us through KBC Live until 10 pm on weekdays as well as on Saturdays (until 5 pm) . With Kate we aim to meet their expectations even better. Kate will allow us to come up proactively with answers even before the question has been asked. In other words, she will anticipate future expectations. This is the next level. Yes, it all sounds very ambitious but, ultimately, that is what we want to achieve.
KBC ranked second for Share of Soul, just behind Argenta. What will you do to increase your score for these emotional parameters?
Patrick: This is a legitimate concern. Our strategic focus is ‘digital first’. As such, innovation is our priority. At the same time, we do have to make sure that the speed of these developments does not fuel the wrong perception that KBC is ‘digital only’. Because we definitely aren’t. At KBC, we still rely on our staff to provide a good customer experience, whether as branch employees or insurance agents or as a developer in head office who contributes to building our apps. Ultimately they all have the same goal: to provide even better service to customers. Our job is to do a good job in terms of communicating this ‘human’ story. Secondly, we also have to make sure that everyone is on board. While this is not a problem for young people, not everyone is equally digital-minded. So the change should not be too fast-paced. This is why we continue to invest in digital coaches and digital literacy. So that our customers can say that we want to bring everyone on board of the digital train ). And finally, we also play a role in society. We have an important responsibility when it comes to sustainability. As a company, we have already taken many initiatives to address climate change and we assist our customer-entrepreneurs with their transition.
What are your feelings about the new banks and how do you approach your competitors?
Patrick: It may sound like a platitude but we’re happy with the competition as it keeps everyone on their toes. These fintechs and other players like Google or Facebook that also offer financial services can build new services very quickly without a legacy, which is inspiring. Internal On the other hand, there also needs to be a level playing field. The financial sector is very strictly regulated but we have noticed that currently there is no real level playing field for everyone. So we do have mixed feelings about it.