Ian Hunt, Close Brothers

Ian Hunt

Ian Hunt

Chief Customer Officer
Close Brothers

UK

Ian is one of five finalists to be highly commended by our judging panel.

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.”

Judges’ praise for Ian’s application:

"Getting such high NPS scores is difficult. Getting these scores in a traditional bank is a remarkable achievement. Delivering more than 70 projects and putting in place the infrastructure of governance and changing the culture of the organisation has clearly been fundamental to moving their customer experience to the next level." – Colin Shaw   

"What impressed me about Ian’s story is the true integrated nature of his initiatives. Banking is hard. The compliance requirements can be soul-destroying. I am impressed with the adoption of design thinking, Google sprints and engagement with different people across the organisation. I am sensing a humility and a connection to the brand that’s embedded in Ian’s psyche. Close Brothers is lucky to have you at the helm Ian!" – Chantel Botha

"Ian have been challenged with a very tough task of changing the mindset of a traditional bank into a customer-centric business and winning the hearts of the employees down from the executive team. Great evidence of changes in commercial performance, the link with CX metrics and the practical steps that have been taken to build the operational system for transformation." – Olga Guseva 

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