Getting customer experience right is key to success

Getting customer experience right is key to success

OTP Bank Moldova aims to expand its market presence. As a first step, the bank launched a review of its retail strategy alongside experts from OTP Bank Hungary and OTP Group. We asked András Becsei, OTP Bank Hungary’s Retail Deputy CEO, about this joint work, and the trends and opportunities in retail banking.

An experienced banking professional with a career spanning over a decade, Mr. Becsei has been with OTP Group through the years of its ascension to one of Central and Eastern Europe’s leading financial institutions. Currently, he is spearheading strategic thinking on retail for OTP Bank Hungary and overseeing the Group’s retail operation in 12 countries. With 17 million customers and market leadership positions in Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia, OTP Group’s team, and Mr. Becsei in particular, represent proven growth expertise and a wealth of regional knowledge.

OTP Bank Moldova (OBM): Working with subsidiaries across CEE you have a good vantage point to assess macroeconomic trends. What is your view on the current economic climate?

AB: I believe we are seeing a certain normalization. If, in previous years, the focus was on efficiency and optimization, more recently signs of recovery have appeared: financial institutions are moving towards ecosystems that offer an ever more widening range of solutions. We are optimistic about growth prospects in retail. However, the inflationary pressures have left us with a high interest environment resulting in a highly competitive market.

OBM: What trends and opportunities is OTP Group looking to address?

AB: One of the key trends we see continuing is the combined use of digital and branch-based services. I have a habit of working once a month as a branch teller and often see young customers coming to us despite enjoying the mobile application. So the need for a physical presence remains. Our physical network relies on three major pillars: customer service, advisory services (investment, mortgage, SMEs) and digital education. When it comes to advisory services we support clients by offering customized investment, mortgage and business solutions. Digital education will continue to be a major part of our approach. In my personal experience, if you can solve these three in an efficient way, there will be room for customer success.

OBM: You mentioned the three pillars: customer service, advisory services and digital education. Can you tell us a little bit more about how they work together to ensure a competitive advantage?

AB: We are constantly improving operations, but my belief is that good customer experience is key to overall success. If you can easily solve a client’s problem, you create space for supporting their other financial goals. For instance, if someone comes to the bank looking for a mortgage, we discuss her goals in depth to offer a solution that best fits her needs. This establishes trust and, when the same client is looking for investment options, she is more likely to return to us. At which point we will do a more in-depth assessment to offer an investment portfolio that best matches her goals and risk profile. This ethos of knowing our customer well, of caring for their wellbeing makes us the best-positioned partner in achieving their financial goals. Our retail strategy envisions developing three major customer service and customer success channels: branch, mobile banking app and contact center (call-based or chat-based). We are currently developing the mobile banking app in most countries in the region. One challenge for middle-sized banking institutions, like some of our subsidiaries, is lack of resources to develop all channels equally, and this is something we are currently addressing.

OBM: You have mentioned being optimistic about regional retail market growth, including Moldova. Having met the local team, what developments are you most impressed by? What synergies have the two teams developed?

AB: We have been impressed by OTP Bank Moldova’s success in increasing operational efficiency for the past two years, which has allowed them to offer competitive rates in a high-interest environment. We are currently working on supporting Moldovan colleagues in diversifying their retail portfolio. This involves analyzing and adapting best practices form other Group members, such as product pricing and conditions, currently on mortgages and loans. On behalf of the Group I would like to thank the Moldovan team for their achievements. I would also like to highlight the contribution of Maria Bologan, Chief of OTP Bank Moldova’s Retail Management Department, who is on an experience exchange at headquarters in Budapest, bringing her considerable expertise to other Group members. As you can see, experience exchange is mutual.

OBM: What do the next few years hold in store for OTP Group?

AB: The prospect looks exciting. We will be focusing on customer service channels, streamlining our portfolio to provide more accessible and easy-to-use solutions and diversifying transaction services products. Continuously implementing the latest technologies remains a priority. For instance, we are currently working on AI prototypes in three major areas: data analysis, chatbots and CS efficiency, meaning that a branch teller can access the latest supporting documentation, best customer success approaches in real time. Once these are tested, we are planning to roll them out regionally. We will continue to build on the two essential sides of banking: human expertise and technology, so that they continuously enhance and reinforce each other. That is the future.

OTP Bank Moldova, a subsidiary of OTP Group since 2019, is an integrated and universal provider of financial services. With an approach defined by responsibility, commitment and professionalism, OTP Bank understands the needs of customers and the current market context, and is a reliable financial partner in the provision of financial services. OTP Bank ranks third, by assets, in the ranking of banking institutions in Moldova, according to NBM data.

OTP Group is one of the fastest growing banking groups and one of the leaders in the Central and Eastern European region, with an outstanding profitability indicator and a stable capital and liquidity position. With more than 41,000 employees currently in 12 countries in the CEE and Central Asia region, the Group provides universal financial services to 17 million customers. As the most active banking integrator in the Central and Eastern Europe region, the Group has successfully acquired and integrated 23 banks since the early 2000s to date. The bank is the market leader in Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia. OTP Group is headquartered in Hungary and has a diversified and transparent shareholding structure. The banking group has been listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange since 1995.

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