Analysis: Bankers Are Best at Managing Their Customers


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Banks are the best businesses overall when it comes to managing their customers, according to a new analysis unveiled this week.

The findings of the CMAT Review, conducted by consulting and customer relationship management (CRM) firm QCi Assessment Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of leading direct marketing agency OgilvyOne Worldwide London, will surprise anyone who is aware of high street banking’s reputation for low levels of customer satisfaction.

CMAT (the Customer Management Assessment Tool) was developed by QCi and is recognised worldwide as the CRM benchmark measurement tool, used by QCi and licensees across the world with blue-chip organisations across all sectors. Its latest global analysis of results, unveiled this week, found that banking, with a CMAT score of 42%, was the best-performing business sector when it comes to customer management. There was, however, considerable variance between the highest and lowest scoring institutions, at 68% and 17% respectively.

“It may come as a surprise that banking leads the way in customer management globally,” said Peter Lavers, managing partner at QCi. “But because CMAT assesses across the whole business system of managing customers for mutual value it reveals that banks are the best overall at ‘joining up the dots’ to manage customers across products, channels and touch-points.”

Lavers added: “They have large volumes of constantly-updated data, play a very important role in people’s lives (so have more ‘moments of truth’ to manage) and, most importantly, are profitable enough to be able to invest in building relationships with their customers. However, banking is NOT in a situation that might involve laurels and resting. An average of 42% is only just ahead of the field and clearly indicates that there is plenty of room for improvement, even among the top scorers.”

Retail and airlines (both scoring 38%) also did well – partly as a result of their sophisticated loyalty programmes. The auto sector, by contrast, scored just 30% (the average score overall was 36%) – mostly because of its product-led operating model, independent dealer networks, poor data availability and a business focus on market share and volume rather than customer experience.

Interestingly, business-to-business (B2B) firms lag behind consumer facing companies (CMAT average scores of 35% and 40% respectively). Lavers believes this is due to “a lag in the take-up of customer experience disciplines, and less sophisticated usage of customer information”; whereas in the consumer sector, the higher score “reflects the greater control over the relationship with the end consumer and the relative maturity of direct marketing practices.”

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English readers may be disgruntled to discover that Australasia is once again ahead of them in the table of performance by continent. The Aussies’ average CMAT score of 40%, however, is caused by fewer low scorers rather than higher numbers of top-scorers (their best is a full 12 points below the UK’s top scorer of 68%). This suggests that consumers in this region are more likely to enjoy a more consistent (if not the absolute best) customer experience than elsewhere.

A trend to watch is that of developing countries, which are already ahead of where developed countries were five years ago, and improving fast.

When considering the component sections of CMAT, it is in the field of customer experience – understanding and managing how customers interact with a brand, product or service via different media and channels at different times and in different situations – that successful companies and sectors have been focusing their attention on in recent years (all companies’ performance in this area has increased by 7%).

Other big improvements since 2001 have been noted in the following sections: acquisition activity (improved targeting of customers, and winning customers back – up 10%); customer information (holding and using the right information on customers to manage the relationship intelligently; making appropriate information available to customer-facing staff; managing privacy & security of information – up 11%); and technology (up 7%).

“This analysis shows that businesses in the developed world have made steady progress over the past five years in improving their competence when it comes to building and managing relationships with their customers, but that developing countries are fast closing the gap.” concludes Lavers.


* For more on QCi and CMAT, visit

* For more information, please contact or Peter Lavers, QCi, on 0207 566 7177 or 07776 21115 ([email protected])
* Kevin Whitlock, PR Manager for OgilvyOne on 0207 309 1114 ([email protected]);

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