New companies are emerging all the time. Indeed, many of these are delivering customer experiences that are vastly superior to their competitors; the appeal is not in ‘newness,’ but is often rooted in the fact that start-up companies are not hindered by legacy systems, silos, and an overall disjointed perception as to what the customer experience strategy should look like. KPMG Nunwood’s 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence analysis crystallises the impact that new entrants are having on the world of CX, and signposts a clear way forward for those organisations that may feel as if they are being left behind.


A connected vision

At the heart of this seismic shift is the attitude that some companies have towards customer insight. For those that performed less well in the 2018 study, one of the unifying themes is that of conducting ‘reactionary’ insight – as in, a customer trend emerges, and insight is carried out by an isolated department in order to understand that trend, which is then fed back into the business. It’s a patchwork approach with the propensity to confuse a company internally; there is often no single vision to unite the disparate departments, and the customer inevitably suffers.


Conversely, The Institute of Direct Marketing defines insight as a “non-obvious understanding about your customers, which if acted upon, has the potential to change their behaviour for mutual benefit.”[1] This definition suggests more of a curiosity about the customer and what makes them tick. Customer insight, in this respect, is indicative of a company that genuinely wants to understand its customers at a deeper level, so that it can deliver experiences which are perfectly suited to their lifestyles and needs – working ‘outside-in’ rather than ‘inside-out.’


But for companies that have been in operation for many years, such an approach usually requires a complete rebuilding of the customer experience strategy from the ground-up, something which many organisations are reluctant to do. Start-ups, however, do not have any ‘repair work’ to carry out. They can start as they mean to go on.


A different type of banking

Metro Bank is an excellent example of a brand that is redefining what ‘good’ looks like. It’s a new entrant to the UK CEE, and in 2018 it took second place in the overall rankings making it the second highest-scoring financial services organisation in the country. Moreover, it hasn’t been in existence for very long – it first opened its doors in 2010 and became the first high street bank to open in the UK for 100 years.


As such, with this young energy comes a fresh attitude towards customer experience management; Metro Bank says that it’s “committed to making a difference and delivering a different type of banking for Britain.” And according to Metro, this difference is exemplified by the fact that it puts its customers first, “with stores that are open when it suits you, seven days a week.”[2] There is a strong sense that Metro Bank does things because it knows what its customers need, and not because it’s trying to shoe-horn an unwanted product or service into their lives.

Customer insight, therefore, is in the brand’s lifeblood. As its CEO Craig Donaldson states: “At Metro Bank, customer experience is at the heart. It’s the ethos, it’s the culture, it’s everything we do… We’ve got to be humble enough to know we’re not good enough, and hungry enough to know we can be better. It’s no good having an insights team if you are not willing to learn and listen.”[3]


For instance, its smartphone app is far more than just a balance-checker. Known as Insights, it automatically identifies patterns and trends in customers’ monetary habits, and it creates personalised reports and breakdowns to show people how they’re using their money, thus granting them a much stronger sense of control over their finances. The app can also organise customer outgoings into various categories, including travel, finances, and shopping – a bit like having a pocket personal assistant.[4]


As such, smartphone apps such as Metro Bank’s Insights demonstrate a sincere willingness to develop products that will meaningfully enhance people’s lives. It may sound oversimplified, but in many ways this sums up what the redefined customer experience strategy of 2018 looks like. It’s driven by customer insight, and it’s pre-emptive; the best-performing companies such as Metro Bank amass huge amounts of data about their customers and then look for ways to channel this knowledge into first-class experiences. And the desire to do this is borne out of a focused customer experience vision which fully canvases an organisation, bringing each department together with a shared passion for the people that it serves. 

Download the 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence Analysis in full.

[1] KPMG report, page 25


[3] KPMG Nunwood report, page 32