The banks leading on CX innovation

  • By Christine St Anne

Three Australian banks are leading on CX innovation, creating value for their businesses rather than adopting the traditional approach of using the strategy to "repair what is broken”.

This is the assessment from the research team at Forrester. Speaking at a recent even in Sydney, Forrester analyst Zhi Ying Ng highlighted a number of challenges to implementing customer experience or CX initiatives.

According to Ng, financial institutions are still struggling with applying design thinking – which underpins CX - to their business.

“Most CX initiatives are still focused on repairing what is broken. True CX innovation creates new value for your organization,” Ng said.

The Forrester analyst highlighted companies in other industries who leading on CX by tailoring existing offerings to their customers’ needs and using data analytics.

Providing services based on customer needs might seem obvious. For example, Lufthansa was in the process of upgrading its seating to provide passengers with extra room. However, a customer survey highlighted that passengers preferred faster check outs and boarding rather than a seat upgrade.

“The business was able to rethink their value proposition, achieving savings by redirecting their investment to the boarding process rather than a seat upgrade,” Ng said.

Other examples included farming equipment provider John Deere and Qantas. John Deere provides bespoke data and insights to help farmers better manage their business. The Australian carrier’s loyalty program encompasses flights, restaurants, insurance and cards continues to drive growth for the business.

Leading banks

Tom Champion, Ng’s colleague and CX analyst in Australia highlighted the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and ING Australia as leading banks in design thinking and CX

“A few years ago, many banks jumped into design thinking. Its presence in organisations has grown over time but is quite varied,” Champion said.

He believes that CBA was “quick to take a strategic approach”, setting up a customer-centred design function several years ago.

“Those practices were not a flash in the pan as we continue to hear about their strong capabilities in this area. Some design thinking specialists have described to me that CBA would be their bank of choice to work in,” Champion said.

One bank with a “strong design thinking trajectory” is National Australia Bank.

“The bank has rapidly grown their experience design function to now having 120 people. This helps them touch a large number of projects in the bank,” he said.


ING Australia has adopted an embedded approach through what the bank calls its PACE methodology.

“The bank has taken the best of design thinking, lean startup and agile methodologies into a standard way of working.

It’s not ring-roaded to one part of the business, it has a wide application as they look to make design thinking a part of the culture. In other words, create a sense of ‘this is just how we do things around here’.”