Best meeting the new needs of customers, offering a better experience in line with what has been tested in other areas of consumption, building a solid and lasting relationship through a higher level of expertise and quality consulting are the distinctive elements of Intesa Sanpaolo's strategy to become the reference bank and preferred commercial partner of current and potential customers.

Retail and corporate customers

In 2014, Intesa Sanpaolo continued the Banca Estesa project, to make its customer services and consultancy available to customers during extended branch business hours as well as on direct channels.
With the new “Filiali Estese” (Extended Branches) activated during the year, there are now 551 Group branches open in the early evenings, on Saturdays or during the lunch break, adapting the business hours to modern lifestyles. The new proposed model revolutionises the methods to access banking services, allowing customers to go to the bank during times more compatible with their personal and professional commitments.
Intesa Sanpaolo also wanted to focus on the physical reception of customers by designing a new retail branch layout with more spacious and illuminated areas, a dedicated desk for the reception employee who assists customers in using the automated service points, the web queue monitor (device that manages customer wait times in an intelligent manner) and the Internet Banking points for customers to log on to their accounts within the branch. 

Insieme per la Crescita

In mid-2014, the “Insieme per la Crescita” (Together for Growth) project was launched, which envisages initiatives for management change and new methods of employee engagement. The project aims to focus on commercial conduct in order to improve network performance through greater attention to relations, increasing the satisfaction level of customers and employees and thereby generating widespread and permanent change. The areas that include the main conduct aspects identified are reception, transactionality, development and relations, management and coordination: assisting customers upon entering the branch, directing them to the most rapid and appropriate service based on their needs, planning regular meetings by contacting customers in advance, and offering 360-degree consulting to consolidate the relationship are some of the many activities envisaged. The project was launched in June 2014, involving 16 branches and approximately 400 employees, and grew to 1,400 branches and 65% of the Division employees in December 2014. In 2015, it will be activated across all areas according to the various segmentations (Retail, Personal and Corporate). The pilot phase recorded significant results across all key areas: customer and employee satisfaction, increase in contacts, increase in meetings planned and held, and daily meetings per employee, concluded with the sale of a product or service. The project is periodically monitored under the commercial aspect as well as in relation to customer satisfaction, also through anonymous visits to participating branches (mystery shopping) and feedback provided by area managers.

Another initiative aimed at meeting customer requirements more effectively is the “Offerta Fuori Sede” (out-of-branch offering) project, which envisages extension of the consulting services and sales development at customers’ homes or workplaces. This new method continued in 2014 with the addition of new products: the purchase and management of prepaid debit and credit cards and investment products, aiming to expand the offering to the insurance and pensions sector in 2015. The pool of operators was also expanded: at the end of 2014, there were 849 personal managers and 1,283 retail branch managers which, after a training programme, were certified to operate as financial advisors.

In the second half of 2014, with a continued focus on proximity to customers, a new section called “Il Mio Gestore” (My manager) was added to the Internet banking home page, through which customers may communicate with the branch easily and immediately, setting and changing appointments or contacting the reference manager directly through the site, using the so-called “Prossimità” (Proximity) functions.

Starting from the second half of 2014, thanks to the gradual integration of the physical and digital channel, all Intesa Sanpaolo customers enabled to use the multi-channel services may purchase various services offered by the Bank online, through the appropriate applications, fully autonomously (Self mode) or with telephone or internet support by the reference manager or a consultant (“Offerta a Distanza” - Remote Offering). Both methods speed up the procedures and provide access to services based on specific needs. In particular, the Remote Offering envisages contact with the branch or via telephone between the customer and manager or consultant, followed by the preparation of an ad hoc offer by the Bank, with the possibility to subscribe directly via Internet. The service is active for debit cards, prepaid cards and some investment services: at the end of 2014, 1,500 offers had been made on paper, of which 87% signed and subscribed remotely. The offering will gradually be extended to credit cards, loans, life insurance policies, asset management and pensions.

New methods of enquiry into products and services were also developed in 2014, involving customers directly and taking advantage of the potential of new technologies (e.g., questionnaire on Mini-Ipad to be filled out immediately). Analysis of the Banca Estesa project, new business, the expectations of corporate customers and the needs of households was conducted through creative workshops, focus groups, telephone interviews and online assisted interviews, Real Time Experience Tracking (method that tracks the customer experience during interaction with the bank's contact points), sector studies, and personal interviews to customers and non-customers. With regard to Banca Estesa, the expectations and perceptions on the new jobs that could be created in the branches with extended business hours were examined, with a focus on the home issue and on savings consulting. In terms of new business, the structure and needs of Young Businesses1, New Businesses2 and New Young Businesses in Italy were examined, with particular focus on “Crowdfunding”3 and “Match Up”4. With regard to corporate customers, their perception of the current market situation and competitive scenario was analysed, along with their growth expectations and, above all, their needs for support by the banking system, with particular regard to growth and internationalisation. Lastly, families were involved in order to collect information on modern households, define the current and emerging requirements, understand the relationship with the bank and identify challenges and opportunities.

Through agreements with major national partners, in 2014, customers were also offered opportunities for savings on the purchase of goods: by using the Group's payment cards, customers benefited from immediate discounts, special promotions and exclusive advantages. A particular initiative in this area is Bonus Credit, which ended in September 2014. With over 52,000 customers of the Group's banks registered, this initiative offered bonuses such as discounts and coupons based on credits accumulated through in-branch transactions carried out during extended hours, through home banking, with the Mobile App or at the Group ATM points.

SEIok quality management system

For five years now, the SEIok portal (Sistema di Eccellenza Intesa Sanpaolo), a consolidated quality monitoring tool, collects within a focused point of entry the recommendations and complaints of customers, examining the reports in order to improve the quality of service and customer satisfaction.
During 2014, a review was conducted on the indicators that resulted in elimination of the KPIs not strictly linked to the concept of quality and to identification of the 24 Core KPIs, which more expressly measure customer satisfaction, and the 11 Non-Core KPIs, predominantly commercial. The selected indicators contribute to forming the Branch Quality Index which, in its new format, highlights the increasing attention paid to customer satisfaction. 

Communication and listening through Internet and the Social Networks

The official Facebook page of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group @ joins the communication channels already active - branch, Internet, telephone, emails, chats and video calls - and is an area designed for any information or notices on products and services of the Bank. The page is open to all customers and non-customers, who with a single post can publish on the wall their questions, comments and suggestions, and in turn comment on and share the posts of other users on their profiles. The page “Intesa Sanpaolo Servizio Clienti” is monitored and periodically updated by a dedicated team.

Intesa Sanpaolo's new Twitter account (@IntesaSP_Help) was activated in mid-2014, a further multi-channel tool to facilitate relations with customers who have many points of contact and interaction with the Bank. The structure that manages the account responds to all customer requests for assistance and to information requests by non-customers.

A specific interaction method was developed for young people, a customer type particularly active on the Internet and in the social networks. The Superflash offering dedicated to them is in fact promoted through a Facebook page (Superflash.it) and a Twitter account (@Superflash). These communication tools allow customers to request information and details and to receive support on products and dedicated initiatives.

Facebook Customer Service

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Large corporate businesses

To strengthen the trust between the Bank and Corporate customers, during 2014 Intesa Sanpaolo adopted a service model highly focused on the complexity of customers and their specific sectors and supply chains.
The key role is held by relationship managers in charge of overall coordination of the offering. They are specialised by sector and by sub-supply chain, offering a high quality consulting service. The objective is proximity to customers not only as a financial partner, but also as an industrial partner, sharing challenges and opportunities along a common growth path.

To support this change, sector training sessions were developed during the year for employees in order to reinforce job skills and their capacity to identify business opportunities. For companies, events were organised in collaboration with specialised partners and with the media in the areas of brand industry, distribution, consumption, food and fashion.

Intesa Sanpaolo promotes sustainable development paths on a large number of foreign markets (over 40) which attract our companies and support growth of the key Italian sectors. For large companies, teams of specialists in Italy and abroad work alongside the relationship managers, offering qualified consulting service in the cross-border growth processes. A dedicated team supporting the internationalisation of companies analyses the foreign potential markets, opportunities for growth and partnerships in the new area in order to assist companies right from the beginning of their development and investment process.

INTERNATIONAL SUBSIDIARY BANKS

In 2014, approximately half of the Group's International Subsidiary Banks launched extended business hours for a limited number of branches. In Serbia, 38% of active customers viewed this opportunity positively. In some Banks, the queue management system is currently under development in order to improve customers' experience and satisfaction.
In Hungary, a pilot mobile banker project similar to the Italian Out-of-Branch Offering was launched for a limited number of products. CIB Bank is the first bank in the country to offer this type of service.
The range of products and services available through mobile banking and Internet banking expanded in 2014: electronic platforms are already widely operational in the majority of Banks (for further details, see the chapter “Multi-channel Bank” @). The use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to manage customer relations has also been launched or strengthened.
Various banks have organised meetings, conferences and lessons with retail customers, small professionals, small businesses, enterprises and start-ups to illustrate the performance of the local market and specific products with the participation of internal and external experts (Academia workshop in Serbia, Business breakfast in Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia, seminars and round tables in Russia and Romania). These initiatives were important occasions to strengthen relationships with customers and share best practices.
In 2014, VÚB Banka won the Hermes Communicator of the Year award for the banks category, held by local PR and research agencies in collaboration with the University of Bratislava, for the best customer communication.

EXPO

Intesa Sanpaolo is Official Global Partner of the 2015 Universal Exhibition. The Group seeks to invest in the potential of Expo Milano 2015 as a driving force to boost the country's economy and as a global showcase of Italian business excellences and of the artistic and cultural heritage of which Italy can be proud.
In terms of services, Intesa Sanpaolo provides the organisers, Milan, Italy, the participating countries and the tens of millions of visitors from around the world with innovative electronic payment instruments, thereby making a real contribution to the Smart City experience. In particular, prepaid card EXPO Flash Card has been created, which will allow to load the EXPO ticket and will provide access to a series of cultural and tourism offers, discounts and reductions for shows, exhibitions and museums in Milan and in the major Italian cities. Moreover, the Group provides Expo Milano 2015 with the ticketing platform and a distribution network consisting of the physical network and direct channels. In mid-September 2014, ticket sales were launched through the branches, Internet banking and ATM channels.
The Bank's commitment takes shape within EXPO with a multi-functional exhibition area. A daily schedule of events and initiatives for families will enliven the Bank's Pavilion with educational activities for the youth, entertainment for children, shows and laboratories, as well as a series of meetings dedicated to social, art and cultural aspects, and numerous artistic performances organised with Bank partners. Last but not least, there will be business events with a particular theme, debates and analyses. The area will host over 200 corporate customers that are leaders in quality and “Made in Italy” products, expressing the Italian excellence in the various regions.

Support to businesses seeking to grow abroad

In June 2014, Intesa Sanpaolo participated in the initiative promoted by the Lombardy Region and known as “Lombardia Concreta”, aimed at supporting the system of Lombardy-based micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the sector of tourist reception, commercial business and food trade, in preparation for Expo 2015. The initiative is important in terms of the sectors involved in the area and of the extent of interest rate subsidies that result in a lowering of the rates charged by banks on business loans.
Intesa Sanpaolo has also launched Created in Italia @, the Group's first e-commerce portal dedicated to Italian excellence in the Catering, Tourism, Design and Fashion sectors. It is a virtual marketplace, created to facilitate access by companies to the new digital markets, where the Italian brand is highlighted in order to promote commercial development between companies and with potential customers, even international, thanks to a selected and customised offering.

1 Individual businesses with owners younger than 36 years; partnerships mainly comprising partners younger than 36 years; joint-stock companies where over two-thirds of the Boards of Directors comprise members younger than 36 years.

2 Less than three years old (established starting from 1 January 2011).

3 Collective financing: micro-financing from the bottom based on the collaboration of a group of individuals who use their money to support the efforts of people and organisations.

4 Temporary or ongoing partnership among innovation-based companies.