Citigroup recently announced that Vikram Pandit was appointed CEO and that Win Bischoff (acting Chief Executive Officer) will become Chairman. I won’t get into my opinion of the move, but here’s what the Washington Post had to say about it:
But some investors expressed concern that the 50-year-old, India-born executive has never run a public company, let alone one as big and complex as Citi. Pandit also has no experience leading a consumer business, which at Citi generates more than half of overall revenue.
My take: Over the past several years, I have analyzed the retail financial services sector and worked with many large financial institutions. And, let me tell you, Citigroup needs some major work in its consumer business. To get a sense of how bad things are, here’s a recap of some Forrester research (remember, only Forrester clients can get full access to the reports):
- A few weeks ago, Forrester published its 2007 Customer Experience Index, and Citibank was ranked 105th out of 112 firms and came in LAST PLACE out of the 14 banks on the list.
- In June, Forrester released its 2007 customer advocacy rankings of 53 large banks, brokerages, insurers, and credit card issuers. Citibank (banking) came in next to last and Citibank (credit cards) came out in 49th place. At least Citibank is consistent, it came in NEXT TO LAST PLACE in the 2006 customer advocacy rankings.
- In May, Forrester analyzed the cross-channel experience of four large credit card issuers. Citibank came in last place.
- In February, we looked at consumers’ perceptions of different financial services brands. Compared to the other 13 large banks on the list, Citibank was one of the BOTTOM TWO for the following brand attributes: “leading-edge,” secure,” “honest,” “friendly,” “family-oriented,” “helpful,” “accessible,” and “convenient.”
- In August 2006, we examined how consumers rated the value delivered and service provided by financial services institutions. Looking across the 30 large financial institutions, Citibank came in LAST PLACE for value delivered and tied for LAST PLACE for service provided.
So why am I writing about this? To pick on Citigroup? No.
Hopefully this information will make sure that Mr. Pandit understands, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Citigroup’s consumer business needs his attention. Since he does not have a great deal of experience in this area, I’ll offer my advice:
Focus on customer experience, NOW!
As a starting point, I suggest that Mr. Pandit read my post: The Best Of Customer Experience Matters, Volume #1 which provides a summary of things that can help Citigroup (there’s also a .pdf in that post that someone on Mr. Pandit’s staff can download for him). In addition to that “best of” post, I suggest that he also read Banks Prepare For Customer Experience Wars.
The bottom line: Citigroup’s consumer business needs a customer experience overhaul.