Citi Lives Banking So Customers Don’t Have To

Citi is a 200-year-old financial institution but it needs to operate like a start-up with the constant disruption across the financial services industry. Alice Milligan, Chief Customer & Digital Experience Officer at Citi is changing the way they do business.

Charles Trevail

CEO at C Space

The following is based on Outside In, the customer centricity podcast.

At one time or another, businesses have made assumptions about what’s best for their customers. Put into practice, however, the result is often wasted time, resources, and money on taking a well-intentioned approach to solving the wrong problem.

That’s because assumptions made in an organizational echo chamber are often incorrect – or, at best, one-sided solutions that make sense for the business, but not for customers. The most successful companies employ a smarter approach. They tap into a wide array of perspectives – including the customer’s – to think differently and discover the most valuable and viable solution.

This is how Citi co-creates and innovates new products and services. For example, Quick Lock, a recently launched feature on the bank’s mobile app lets customers “lock” and “unlock” their card on the go. “We had a hypothesis that the most important thing to a customer when they need to replace their card when it’s been lost or stolen is getting a new card in their hand,” explains Alice Milligan, Chief Customer & Digital Experience Officer for Citi’s Global Cards business, during a conversation on the Outside In podcast. “What we found through research and co-creation was the most important thing for them is ensuring no one else is using the card they lost.” Since launch less than a year ago, Citi’s customers have completed one million locks and unlocks so far using this feature. Without hearing from customers, this idea might never have surfaced.

Subscribe to the Outside In podcast here:

Citi is a 200-year-old financial institution but it needs to operate like a start-up with the constant disruption across the financial services industry. Alice says Citi is “embracing the change” and she points to companies like Google and Amazon as examples. “They are disrupting the expectations that our customers have around simplicity, ease-of-use, security, control – all of the things that are really important to a bank customer.”

In a sense, digital experiences like Quick Lock are a product of raised customer expectations no matter the industry. Alice and her 400-person team work tirelessly to meet them. In just one year, she says there has been an 85% increase in new features to the Citi mobile app, including industry-leading features such as the ability for customers to dispute a charge, track a replacement card, and scan a new card to activate.

Today, banking is about creating a simple yet elegant experience that fits seamlessly into people’s lives – accessible anytime, anywhere. As Alice puts it, “I live banking. [Customers] don’t want to.”

Designing simplified banking happens faster when customers are involved throughout the entire process. “We have developed a culture of test and learn,” Alice explains. “Learn fast, see what works, roll it out, and if it doesn’t work then shut it down.”

Broad ownership and accountability gets employees more deeply invested in seeing the world, and the business, from the customer’s perspective. “I do believe that customer experience is everybody’s responsibility,” she says. “It should be in the DNA of an organization.”

Alice makes it a habit to act as a Citi customer – to use the products and services her team works on every day. Other Citi employees are encouraged to do the same; they provide her team with regular feedback about the experience. “If you don’t feel good about your products and services, your customers aren’t going to feel good about them,” Alice asserts.

When asked about her proudest moment at Citi, Alice doesn’t hesitate. “The way that we’ve changed how we do business,” she says. Alice attributes much of her team’s success to setting a vision around customer centricity and the customer experience, and having the right people – including senior leadership – on board to turn vision into reality. She says success comes from “finding people in the organization – whether they’re internal or people who you recruit from outside – who are really believers, who embody [the vision], who are passionate about it.”

You may be interested in:

Rafat Ali, CEO, Skift: Where is Travel Going Next?

Rafat Ali, CEO, Skift: Where is Travel Going Next?Subscribe to the Outside In podcast: As humans, we crave travel. It connects us to each other and the world around us. Or, as Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of Skift, a leading travel media company, puts it, “Travel as a...

C Space Hires Head of Tech

C Space Hires Head of Tech

Research Live

Global customer agency C Space has appointed Alan Zall as chief technology officer, sitting on the business’ executive leadership team. Zall was previously vice-president of North America cloud delivery at Cloud Technology Partners, which is part of Hewlett Packard. In his new role, which he started on 27th September, Zall will focus on developing in-house scalable tools to create better relationships between customers and clients.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Forges New Path with Corporate Partner

Big Brothers Big Sisters Forges New Path with Corporate Partner

massnonprofit news

What began as a corporate contribution to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts retain volunteer mentors during the coronavirus pandemic has blossomed into a fuller partnership that is projected to save the organization $700,000 over five years, the organization recently announced.

De-risking new launches for biotech: the customer advantage

De-risking new launches for biotech: the customer advantage

PharmaTimes

With the capital required to develop breakthrough biotech innovations, it goes without saying that when it comes time to bring these offerings to market, the stakes are high. And they are even higher among smaller biotech players, who take on an even greater amount of risk. So what does it take to create a successful product launch in biotech today? C Space Health Managing Director Corey Schwartz spoke to executives from across the biotech space to understand the barriers to successful launches, and what (customer) strategies led to their success.

Humanizing Sustainability

Humanizing Sustainability

Interview with Philipp Bolthausen, Creative Director of Baume & Mercier

Interview with Philipp Bolthausen, Creative Director at Baume & Mercier By Lidi Grimaldi and Matteo Corbellino, Express Arena Subject Matter ExpertsLet me cite Karl Lagerfeld, “Trends are the noise before defeat”. Trends are short-lived and can be extremely...

Interview with Charles Stanley, President of De Beers Forevermark

Interview with Charles Stanley, President of De Beers Forevermark By Jeanie Havens, Express Arena Subject Matter ExpertCharles Stanley’s insight into the luxury jewellery business comes from his time at some of the biggest diamond brands in the world, including Harry...

Interview with Chase Polan, Founder and CEO of Kypris Beauty

Interview with Chase Polan, Founder and CEO of Kypris Beauty By Lidi Grimaldi, Express Arena Subject Matter ExpertChase Polan is the Founder and CEO of Kypris Beauty, a beauty brand which specializes in sustainably grown botanicals, and one which has developed a very...

Generation Wealth

Generation Wealth Looking back at the ostentatious tribes of the early 2000s   By Lauren Greenfield, Director of Award Winning Ad Campaign “Like a Girl”, anthropologist and writerLAUREN GREENFIELD/INSTITUTE Xue Qiwen, 43, in her Shanghai apar​tment, decorated...

The Renaissance of “Me”

The Renaissance of “Me”  By default, we tend to look at one thing as “better than” another. It doesn’t really matter what it is. You can believe that “more is better than less”. Or “less is better than more.” It’s that one is “better than” the other. Coke is...