It’s seven p.m. and you have just signed off from work. But you still need to go to the bank. Bummer, it’s closed already... Unless you are a client of Equa bank – in bigger cities with large shopping centres, such as Prague’s Chodov and Ostrava’s Avion, Equa bank branches stay open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
ne of the youngest banks on the Czech market, established in 2011, currently catering to about 350 thousand clients, Equa bank lives by the saying “The customer is king”. “It’s important to make it convenient for clients to get what they want and not push them into what the bank wants,” says the CEO Petr Řehák about the unconventional opening hours at high-profile branches. And this philosophy goes even further. “We don’t bombard our clients with offers of products and services too often – that would only bother them. We want to respect their comfort zone,” adds Řehák.
These are just some of the myriad of steps any bank must take today to keep its customers happy. That’s because they are now much better informed and, consequently, much more demanding. “Customers have better understanding of what financial institutions have to offer, compare rates and prices and are more likely to look for better conditions. Their decisions are increasingly based on how openly and quickly the bank is able to communicate,” observes Řehák.
“We don’t bombard our clients with offers of products and services too often – that would only bother them. We want to respect their comfort zone.”Tomáš Kratochvíl CEO of Equa bank
Řehák believes in five years’ time banks will be modern digital institutions responding to clients’ requests in real time. They will offer first-rate internet and mobile banking platforms and actively integrate many other channels. At the same time, they will retain enough brick-and-mortar branches to cater to clients who will still prefer personal contact to a screen. High-quality products and open communication will be an absolute must for all.
Equa bank has already set out in this direction, following the company claim “Equa bank – More Than You Expect”. Its clients can administer most of the services from home and most of the basic services are free. The bank’s employees are trained to try to find the most suitable product for any client. “We are well aware that there is no such thing as a universal or average client,” says Petr Řehák.
Customer satisfaction with the bank’s services and their use is regularly monitored through surveys. To optimize customer experience, Equa bank also uses tools that anonymously track users’ behaviour on its websites. As a result, looking for the right product online is becoming easier and more user-friendly. The company carefully analyses people’s reactions on social media and uses mystery shopping, having fictitious customers buy products to check if everything is running smoothly throughout the sales process. The management is provided with detailed results of customer satisfaction surveys once a month. Additionally, they receive daily reports regarding any problems encountered with the bank’s services online or at any of the branches.