How can banks inspire their customers for their services?

hpo Insights

How can banks inspire their customers for their services?

hpo Insights

The digitization of the financial industry is not only about supplementing the distribution channels, but mainly about securing and better use of the customer interface. For many banks, it is a challenge to define target customers in the right way and to consistently focus the value proposition on the respective customer needs. But it is worth it: satisfied customers and higher earnings are the results.

Focus on the customer

The way customers inform themselves about products, how they communicate, get advice, and make purchase decisions has changed fundamentally in the digital age. In a market environment in which all banks essentially offer the same investment products and services, and no one can beat the market in the long term, an exceptionally good customer experience tailored to changing customer expectations has become an essential strategic differentiation factor.

There is potential for improvement in numerous areas at banks:

  • simplified product structures in a timely manner;
  • personalized services and offers;
  • (digital) distribution channels;
  • greater price transparency; and
  • better access and optimized availability of information.

The following key issues need to be answered:

  • Who do you want to offer what, and how?
  • What are the most important customer contact points?
  • How do you design an innovative, customeroriented, multi-channel-capable customer experience chain?
  • How do you transform a product-oriented bank into a customer-oriented one?

Banks that find convincing answers to these questions focus on the needs of their customers and thus enable an inspiring customer experience. On the following pages, you can find out how this can work in practice by looking at the two examples relating to the Thurgauer Kantonalbank.

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to sell it.” Steve Jobs

Consistent alignment of the investment business with client needs

Practical example Thurgauer Kantonalbank

The investment business is undergoing fundamental change. Increasing regulatory requirements necessitate adjustments to processes and IT systems and result in higher costs. At the same time, transaction-based revenues are under pressure, and sales compensation will largely disappear sooner or later. There are also major challenges on the market side due to the low interest-rate environment, increasing cost sensitivity or new digital competitors.

Thurgau Kantonalbank (TKB) is facing up to these challenges and is consistently gearing its service promise and range of products to customer needs.

Aims of the project

The focus was on aligning TKB‘s range of services in the investment business with customer requirements and the changed market conditions, thus enabling profitable growth in the future. The following sub-goals were set:

  • Formulation of a new value proposition
  • Evaluation and adaptation of the service offer


To achieve the project objectives within five weeks, the project team chose a hypothesis-driven “top-downbottom-up” approach. First, different personas were described top-down as representatives of target groups.

These differed in terms of basic orientation, financial affinity (knowledge and interest) and origin of the money. The needs and requirements of these personas – in relation to their investment bank, the investment product, and the customer experience chain – were then identified and analyzed in customer-journey workshops with customer advisors, segment and product managers of TKB. This allowed deriving target group-specific performance promises and investment products.

The project results were then efficiently tested with bank clients as representatives of the personas described to identify any errors in reasoning.

Personas (illustrative)


Intensive engagement with the representatives of TKB’s target groups enabled the bank to define performance promises and offers in a stringent and customer-optimized manner, thereby successfully differentiating itself from its competitors. Finally, the project results formed the basis for the design of the future role model and skill requirements for client advisors as well as the new advisory process and tools for TKB in the investment business (see next article).

Customer experience as a strategic differentiation factor in the investment business

Practical example using the Thurgauer Kantonalbank

How can a bank effectively differentiate itself in the investment business when all competitors essentially have the same product and service offering, and no one can beat the market in the long term? Based on the new service promise and offer in the investment business of Thurgauer Kantonalbank (TKB), hpo was commissioned to design and enable an optimal customer experience.

Customer experience as a strategic differentiation factor in the investment business

Aims of the project

Various studies show that the path to the target (attractive return) offers the most opportunities for differentiation. Thus, the following objectives were defined:

  • Alignment of the investment advisory process with the client requirements of the identified target groups
  • Identification of the most important tools along the process and derivation of their IT requirements
  • Alignment of the client advisor’s role profile concerning tasks, competencies, responsibilities and incentives to the new process


During the project duration of about six weeks, hpo worked intensively with a cross-divisional team consisting of customer consultants, segment managers, internal consultants, HR, and IT. The current investment advisory process, which was printed on large format paper, was extensively revised in interactive workshops to ensure that it is optimally geared to the needs of the identified target groups.

Next, the tool requirements were specified along the investment advisory process and coordinated with IT. Based on the findings of the process design, the role profile of the client advisors was further developed in close cooperation with the HR experts.

Satisfied investment clients as a result of the newly defined approaches


The project results so far are impressive! The following factors should enable the TKB to differentiate itself effectively in the investment business after project completion:

  • Cross-bank customer experience (same language, approach, etc.) through a standardized and FIDLEG-compliant advisory process
  • Satisfied customers thanks to a consistent focus on the needs of each target group and new customer-friendly approaches to risk profiling and monitoring
  • More time for clients, as client advisors are more clearly focused on their role profile and supported by intuitive tools

Voices of our satisfied customers

“With the professional support of hpo’s industry and methodological experts, we are well on the way to consistently aligning our offering in the investment business with customer orientation. The ‘top-down-bottom-up’ approach recommended by hpo has allowed us to put ourselves in the shoes of our target customers with the help of so-called personas, and to optimally understand their needs and requirements, translate them and test them efficiently with real people. Thanks to the support of hpo, we were able to realize our project goals more quickly.”
David Strebel
Head of Market Services Division
Thurgauer Kantonalbank
Portrait David Strebel
“With the support of hpo, we are well on the way to consistently aligning our investment advisory process to the needs of our target groups and to breaking new ground in terms of risk profiling and portfolio monitoring. The decisive factor for success was the holistic hpo consulting approach, which included process design, IT tool support, and the conception of role profiles. By specifically involving our employees in the development of solutions, hpo has laid the foundation for a successful implementation.”
Thomas Koller
Head of Private Clients Divison
Thurgauer Kantonalbank
Portrait Thomas Koller

Your partner for strategy and enterprise design

Who is hpo?

hpo makes companies more successful and more innovative. The strategy consultancy for enterprise design boasts more than 25 years of experience in the creation of strategies and organisations spanning many different industries. The management consultants at hpo specialise in the meticulous development of strategies, processes, business models, innovation and culture, and in accompanying the transformation.

The hpo design approach enables companies to better cope with strategic and organisational challenges and to realise substantial competitive advantages. The basis of the industry-spanning design approach is an academically grounded methodology with which high performance organisations are shaped and which is continually further developed with the latest findings from research and practice.

The management consultants at hpo come from a commercial or technology background and stand out with their high level of analytical and emotional intelligence. They are passionate in their dedication to the client’s concerns and enjoy working in a team.

hpo – we design organisations

* Please fill in the fields
We use cookies to ensure the best possible service. By using our website, you consent to the use of cookies. Please consult our privacy policy if you want to know more about it.