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Giorgio Bruins (ING): Mobile first!

Giorgio Bruins, head of digital, explains how ING is constantly innovating to deliver an outstanding customer experience and anticipate its clients' needs.



How has the digital space evolved over the last few years?

Although the invention of the internet in the nineties

ignited a digital transformation, this is nothing compared to the mobile revolution. Smartphones have profoundly changed the way people interact with each other and with companies like ours. Dialogue with clients has shifted to digital. While some sectors have adapted particularly quickly, finance took more time to adapt. In 2010, ING launched its "mobile first" strategy which says a lot about our digital focus. We want to offer an outstanding customer experience through mobile and therefore always start developing first for mobile, adapting screens afterwards for desktop and tablets. End of 2012, only 15% of our e-banking interactions came through mobile, in 4 years that figure rose to 65%. We see that mobile users log on 25 times every month in average, that is 4 times more than desktop-only users. Mobile provides the most effective (digital) platform to start and continue the dialogue with our clients; it allows us to materialize our purpose: to empower people to stay a step ahead in life and in business.


« Our goal is to empower our clients to stay a step ahead. »


What sort of methods do you use locally and at Group level?

At Group level, there’s a strong focus on innovation with

two fintech incubators: one in Amsterdam (ING Innovation Studio) and one in Brussels (ING Fintech Village). Innovations that will quickly filter down to all ING units. But most importantly, we are changing the way we work at ING. In order to deliver new products and features quickly to end users we are becoming agile and we bring developers closer to our clients. Inspired from the agile “start-up” way of working at Spotify, a new organisation of Tribes and Squads has been rolled out at ING Netherlands. It basically means splitting large teams up into small squads with a maximum of 7 people. These squads have all the skills and tools needed to design, develop, test and bring to the client products & services autonomously. They are kind of mini start-ups that can easily be scaled up if needed. Here in Luxembourg we now run development sprints of 2 weeks. It means that our budget is not blocked for the whole year, but that we can alter priorities on a 2 week frequency allowing us to adapt in a timely manner to our clients’ changing needs. Integrating clients from the start in our design and development process is key as well– with our proven PACE methodology we are able to test assumptions and ideas with our clients from a very early stage, allowing us to fail fast and learn fast. These new ways of working enable us to save money, time and reach a convincing solution faster.


What will the digital customer experience be like in 5 or 10 years?

First, digital and human channels will converge more and more. The best customer experience will be provided by companies that allow clients to jump seamlessly from one channel to another. Clients like the speed and ease of digital but in financial matters a personal human touch is key, it will be up to us to combine the strengths of both. Another major trend that will profoundly impact the customer experience in financial services is “aggregation”. People nowadays already start most of their digital experiences through aggregators, think of or Amazon. Soon clients will do the same for their financial needs, one single platform offering advice and products from different sources. The European Revised Payment

Service Directive (PSD2) will oblige financial institutions to open their banking systems to third parties in 2018 and eventually customers will see all their personal banking data in one place. And the digital customer experience will continue to evolve as banks connect with fintechs through open API’s and deliver new products and services. Blending all these elements together is a huge commitment which gives an edge to an international group like ours.



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