Ian Hunt, Close Brothers

Ian Hunt

Ian Hunt

Chief Customer Officer
Close Brothers


Ian Hunt has been chief customer officer at Close Brothers since 2016, helping what is a bank steeped in tradition as it transitions to becoming more data-driven and customer-centric.

Part of Ian’s mandate has been to obtain a deeper understanding of Close Brothers’ customers, partners and employee needs. This has led to the development of a framework that enables qualitative and quantitative research, conducted by business units themselves or by a panel of research partners. This research framework has subsequently been embedded into project processes to ensure that any changes or new initiatives are researched and tested with customers and partners before launch. 

Other programmes designed to achieve greater insight include the implementation of a Voice of the Customer (VoC) programme, in which a closed loop system of feedback was introduced, capturing customer insight in the moment and in turn helping to prioritise continuous improvement, strategic improvements and identify new market opportunities and services for customers.

Customer forums have also been rolled out, with business unit forums reporting to the bank level customer forums on a monthly basis to achieve a consolidated view of performance against the bank customer principles and key metrics. There are also monthly reports to the board to report progress. 

The creation of a Design Thinking framework, and a programme of staff training have also brought a more user-centred design approach to projects, while the introduction of an agile design sprint framework has driven agility and ensured there is greater customer focus to business opportunities and problems. 

Elsewhere, complaint handling has also been a key priority and new working groups have ensure significant upgrades to the company’s complaint system and a subsequent drop in complaint volume. Improved digital services have also seen a reduction of call volumes and a Gold award at the recent UK digital awards.

Ian has also worked to ensure that the company's CX programme has internal buy-in and cultural impact, driving stakeholder accountability by appointing each business unit with an executive owner as well as a business unit level customer forum owner who is responsible for running the monthly customer forum and managing the measurement framework. Training on CX takes place, while engagement with staff is also achieved through workshops, townhalls and roadshows.

“I had moments where I wondered if it was possible to drive customer-centric transformation in a traditional bank. Through the creation of a customer vision and principles, set-up of customer forums, delivery of a high impact experience design project, engagement of people from the board to on the ground and delivery of training, tools, frameworks and insight, there has been a total transformation in the culture and approach within the bank.”

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