Cooperative customer service 2016 requires a more effective organisation

Based on the need to respond more quickly to the changing behaviour and expectations of Rabobank customers across the Netherlands, the Vision 2016 programme seeks to make the necessary changes to Rabobank’s organisation and procedures. These changes will inevitably affect the employees in various ways.

Customer behaviour and customer expectations are shaped by trends in the economy and society and advances in technology. Rabobank has created the Vision 2016 programme to step up preparations in the Netherlands for the ‘reality of 2016’. Rabobank is investing in cooperative customer service through the following measures:

  • Digitising financial services (virtualisation)
  • Providing personalised advice to customers across a variety of channels (advice)
  • Taking part in networks in order to strengthen customers’ living and working environment (participation)

At the same time, the bank also needs to improve its efficiency if it is to remain a solid bank trusted by its customers. What is required of our organisation and our employees in this context?

Increasing ICT investments

With the recent digitisation of its processes and services, Rabobank must strongly scale up its investments in ICT, systems and new customer applications for tablets, smartphones and PCs. While these investments are made at the head office, it is the local Rabobank customers that stand to benefit the most.

Increasing the number of users of online services

It is important that customers actually start using any new features that are added. The idea that users will flock to your product if it is good enough may be true – arguably even more so online – but a little marketing never hurts. In an effort to promote new features among customers when they are first introduced, Rabobank will be enlisting the talents of its employees through so-called acceleration activities to help increase the number of fully satisfied users in a short space of time.

Reducing costs

With customers using a growing number of digital services, the use of traditional channels – including visits to bank branches, automated cash withdrawals (ATMs) and submission of printed transfer slips to the bank – is on the wane. From a business and financial perspective, it is simply irresponsible to accumulate costs of both online services – which a growing number of customers rely on – and the bank’s physical facilities, for which there is increasingly less demand. This inevitably involves making the right choices.

‘Always nearby’

Although the number of physical bank branches and ATMs will be further reduced as part of the Vision 2016 programme, Rabobank will continue to have the widest network of any major Dutch bank in 2016 and beyond. The bank  will be as nearby for its customers as ever through their smartphones and tablets.

Simplifying our range

Driven by customer needs and the demands of digitisation, Rabobank has decided to radically simplify its basic range of products and services as part of its Vision 2016 programme. These changes also extend to adjacent processes related to transactions, services, advice and purchases. By 2016, the basic range of Rabobank products and services will be clear and user-friendly, making it easy for customers to do banking online. One advantage of this simplified range is that our advisers need to have knowledge about a smaller pool of products, while the reduced variety also helps automate administrative processes and make them more efficient and cost-effective.

Loss of jobs

All these changes will inevitably affect the Rabobank workforce: between 2013 and 2016, the number of employees at local Rabobanks in the Netherlands will be reduced by approximately 8,000. A number of positions will be cut at our mid-offices, where we are aligning our administrative processes.

These job cuts are necessary because there is simply less need for bank branches and support positions. Another roughly 1,240 positions will be eliminated during the same period at Rabobank, the support organisation for local Rabobanks. At the same time, employees will also interact differently with customers in 2016 and beyond: they will be expected to become more actively involved in networks which are relevant to customers and their environment. We expect them to always ask themselves the question: ‘What business services can the bank provide to contribute to its customers’ success?’

Actively supporting employees

Rabobank will expect its employees to become more flexible: as well as being available to meet with customers outside regular office hours, they should also possess a skill set that enables them to operate successfully at various areas of the organisation. A financial adviser, for example, should also be able to provide advice to customers by chat or phone at one of our expertise centres. Rabobank makes a point of actively supporting its people, so as to prepare them for a future at the bank or another organisation. This support may take on various forms, ranging from training, education and career orientation to job counselling for employees who lost their positions.

Read more