11. August 2020

“The eLounge is a crucial element in our multichannel strategy”

Sandra Marugg

E-banking // Bank CIC opted for Switzerland’s most cutting-edge e-banking solution, courtesy of ti&m. In our interview, Sandra Marugg reveals why it is more than just a channel for transactions.

ti&m: Bank CIC chose the ti&m channel suite for its new e-banking system. Why did you make the decision to replace your previous e-banking offer, and what were the key areas to be improved upon?
Sandra Marugg: The first step was simply to provide a basic app so our customers could use e­banking. The flexibility of this app ultimately persuaded us to offer our customers a single, user-friendly, comprehensive solution for electronic banking transactions, which could be used in the same way on any device.

How did you go about searching for a partner for the new digital service channel?
We reviewed solutions from a range of providers based on our specifications document. In addition to our evaluation of the so-lutions, key factors that fed into our decision were the partner’s values and project approach. 

Which aspects were important when drawing up the  specifications document? 
Besides the particular functions we wanted, it was important for the new solution to be superior to our competitors in terms of its usability. It was equally important for the platform to guarantee an open architecture so that we could easily integrate existing functionality from third­party providers or ancillary services. 

You used design thinking methodologies during the concept phase – what were the key elements involved? 
For the project management team, it was vital that we did not constrain ourselves to existing solutions; instead, we allowed ourselves to be guided by the customer’s perspective and what they needed with respect to our services. This meant using the “greenfield” approach. 

Why did you pick ti&m?
We were impressed by ti&m’s approach to the project, and the flexible nature of the platform. It was also important for us that everyone involved on the project worked in Switzerland, so that we could have in­depth and face­to­face exchanges, and fully  incorporate the Swiss mentality into the solution. Given the com-plexity and scope of the project, we remain as certain as ever that we made the right decision and thereby achieved our objec-tives in terms of quality and efficiency. 

When did you begin the deployment project?
Following the concept phase, we began implementation in spring 2018. By December 2018, the first pilot users were trying out the new solution with basic functions on the productive sys-tem. We deliberately waited until late summer 2019 for the of-ficial launch because, in addition to the basic functions relating to investments, we also wanted to be able to offer services that differentiated us from the market at launch. This included new functions such as autonomous user management, which simpli-fies administration and reduces additional administrative costs for businesses and employers. 

Was it the first time you had developed a project like this  using agile techniques? 
This was the first project that Bank CIC had implemented entirely using agile methodology. At the beginning, it was a challenging way to approach a project, but at the same time it was a valu able learning experience. The results we achieved have convinced Bank CIC that close and regular sharing of ideas with the entire project group is an important factor for success. 

What was the general mood within the project team? 
The atmosphere was very good, with plenty of camaraderie even in stressful situations. When we hit our milestones, we really cel­ebrated them as a team. Mutual respect for each other’s work was evident at all times, and that led to productive, professional, and trusting exchange of information. 

Projects of this scale inevitably hit stumbling blocks. How did we overcome these together? 
Open communication and a trusting and respectful attitude within the project team were key factors in our success. ti&m was able to listen to our needs, analyze them, and challenge them where necessary through dialog. 

What features were essential for you in the new solution?
Having a good standard set of basic services was obviously non-negotiable. But we wanted more than that – our objective was to meet the needs of our customers using the opportunity for a high degree of individualization, from assigning viewing and transaction rights down to the individual account level, to the ability to grant powers in the eLounge without needing to sign additional contracts. Another example is that all account state-ments, as well as all contracts agreed with the bank and all  correspondence, are available in the eLounge; there is no need for these to be printed out, although they can be at any time if required. It was really important to us to have open architecture in the investments area. This allows our customers to benefit from the bank’s expert opinion, but also to access analysis from a third­party supplier. Another essential feature is that our cus­tomers are notified automatically of any breaches of their invest-ment strategy, potential risks in their portfolio, or major price fluctuations in their securities. However, the crucial benefit of the solution is the connection of digital services to the relevant  personal customer contact, so the customer can access the right channel for their concerns at any time and have a compe-tent basis available for decision making.

What are you especially proud of?
We have received a lot of positive feedback from our users and customers, which confirms that we are meeting our customers’ requirements and in some cases even exceeding their expecta­tions. In the project team, we are particularly proud that we have achieved one of our key project goals – outstanding usability for our customers with complex needs – and also, of course, that we have been able to launch a new digital solution on the market that our customers have immediately accepted and that we were able to launch in a short amount of time. We are planning further developments for the future, taking into consideration our cus-tomers’ needs, so that we can make attractive digital solutions accessible to our customers.

What sort of feedback are you getting within the bank, from support/helpdesk, operations, customer advisers? 
It is consistently very positive; our advisers are proud to be able to provide this service to our customers. The helpdesk is getting rela-tively few customer inquiries, which emphasizes how easy it is to use our e­banking. Get a feel for it yourself – try out our solution at  cic.ch/cic­eLounge

How would you rate the CIC eLounge, specifically as a tool for interaction with the customer?
The CIC eLounge is not e­banking in the traditional sense. It is more like a service channel that a customer can use to process all their banking transactions no matter where they are or what time it is, thereby reducing their administrative effort. The eLounge is a  crucial element in our multichannel strategy. It is important to  remember that, now as before, the customer can choose which channel they want to use to communicate with the bank or to  get advice. The bank also benefits from this service offering, as it also reduces the administrative efforts for the bank – there is no longer a need to issue additional contracts, and processing of customer deci-sions in relation to capital transactions is performed automatically.

Do you have any plans to expand the solution?
Open banking, or multi­banking as it is also called, is definitely something we are looking to expand into as a next step. We also want to integrate new bank services as well as non-banking ser-vices on an ongoing basis. The platform we have chosen allows us to integrate interesting additional services, making better and fuller use of this channel.

Sandra Marugg
Sandra Marugg

Sandra Marugg has 30 years of experience working for different Swiss banks. She has been responsible for innovation projects at Bank CIC for nine years. She is also in charge of marketing & communication at the bank.