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Voice of the Customer: A Listening Ear for Clients

Credit Suisse's Digital Private Banking capabilities have been developed in close collaboration with clients. Anita Binder-Schäfer of the Voice of Customer Lab (VoC) is making sure clients are heard. A look at her typical workday.

Voice of the Customer: A Listening Ear for Clients

"If I were to describe what I do in a single sentence, I'd say 'I listen to the client.' I've been a project manager for the Voice of Customer Lab (VoC) within the Digital Private Banking (DPB) organization since March 2014. As the name suggests, the VoC makes sure that clients' voices are heard and sounds them out about their expectations and preferences. Basically we employ a market research technique to create a 'wish list' based on client input which we rank, prioritize and assign to specific DPB teams. Ultimately, this input feeds into the final product.

Clients Are Involved from the Outset

We really focus on the client! Clients are involved throughout the development process. We engage them in testing the first digital prototypes and integrate their feedback until the product is ready to be launched in the market. We also work with innovation researchers at the University of St. Gallen to make sure that we incorporate a neutral, evidence-based perspective.

In preparing for the launch of our DPB capabilities, we first concentrated on our wealthiest clients in Asia, along with their families and friends. We found that our clients in Asia are particularly tech-savvy: In fact, many of them have made their money through IT startups, and as such are specialists in the field and know exactly what we're talking about. They challenge us to make sure we produce the best possible product – at a meeting, for example, they might put eight devices on the table and ask us which ones our tool is compatible with. We've learned an enormous amount from them. Some clients have not only suggested improvements, but also explained how we can implement them.

Traditional Client Segments Aren't Suitable

This project changed the way I think about client segments. Rather than focusing on wealth, age, or region, their behavior may be more telling. There are wealthy self-made 60-year-olds in China who know a great deal about technology, and wealthy European 30-somethings who have no interest in the field. We have to be able to offer solutions tailored to our clients' behavior.

A key mission for us is to create something that works for everyone. This requires us to keep sight of the overall picture, while also taking into account regional differences. I like my job because I finally have everything that I've always wanted: a role that is both academic and strategic, one that involves marketing and relies heavily on human interactions. Freedom to me is also a very important factor, and I have the freedom to shape my job by trying new ideas. Of course, some ideas are more successful than others – not every kernel of corn becomes popcorn.

I've worked for Credit Suisse since 2002 – with some breaks in between – and I've been with the Online & Mobile Banking team since 2011. The past year was extremely labor-intensive, but I can see the hard work paying off. We have a lot planned for this year, and I'm pleased that Corinne Züger has joined the team as a project manager; she has already been a valuable sparring partner and an enormous help!

Put the Kids to Bed, Answer Emails

I typically have to organize my work day around dropping off my two sons, aged four and six, at daycare and picking them up again. What happens in between varies so much that no day is like another, which is a large part of what makes my job so interesting. Work is busy, but I make sure to take breaks to go to the gym and to have lunch – this is important to me. Back at home, once my children are in bed at around 8:30 p.m., I go through my emails to get ready for the next day. Reconciling the demands of my personal and professional life is a balancing act, but I'm convinced that determination and organization can make it work. Obviously, I have to make certain concessions in my personal life but I'm happy to say that the current balance of a career and a family works for me. My boss, Fabrizio Brait, says that I'm the heart of the VoC – probably in part because of my trademark: a hearty laugh!"