For DZ BANK, customer satisfaction is of the utmost priority. Our most important customer group comprises the cooperative banks. As they are also the owners of DZ BANK, we feel particular solidarity and a sense of partnership with them. At the same time, we want to meet the needs of institutional investors and customers of the cooperative banks to the greatest possible degree. To this end, we actively engage in dialog with them.
We gauge our customers’ satisfaction and the trends affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by conducting regular surveys of our partner banks and companies. In addition, we ensure customer satisfaction by arranging events that traditionally provide opportunity for dialog and by using a quality management system. Like the awards we receive from independent organizations, these help our customers to build trust in the quality of our services.
Regular customer satisfaction survey
DZ BANK periodically surveys the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken – the local cooperative banks – to gauge their satisfaction with DZ BANK as a whole and with its individual departments. We postponed the survey planned for 2016 due to the merger of DZ BANK and WGZ BANK. The former WGZ BANK also carried out a customer satisfaction survey of its cooperative banks, doing so every three years. As part of the merger, we will consolidate the existing surveys into one.
Intensive dialog with cooperative banks
Using various dialog formats, we aim for two-way communication and dialog with the cooperative banks. Meetings of the regional Banking Advisory Councils and of the Financial Services Advisory Council have a particular strategic significance in this context.
Last year, we again stepped up the level of dialog with the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken – the local cooperative banks – on sustainability-related matters. In April 2016, for example, DZ BANK and WGZ BANK jointly organized the second sustainability workshop under the banner ‘Sustainability in the cooperative banks: Actively exploiting opportunities’, in which experienced experts gave around 40 participants from the cooperative banks and cooperative associations useful tips on sustainability management and how to structure a report. Three members of boards of managing directors reported on their own experiences of implementing sustainability in their banks. The workshop also focused on energy efficiency and the implementation of a sustainability strategy.
Many cooperative banks will soon be required to report on sustainability: From 2017, a company whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market in the EU and banks and insurance companies with more than 500 employees will have to disclose non-financial information concerning environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, and anti-corruption activities. We are recommending to the cooperative banks the German Sustainability Code (DNK) as a suitable standard for setting up a system for managing and reporting on sustainability.
In addition to the workshops, DZ BANK maintains regular contact with its customers and owners, the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken – the local cooperative banks. And going forward, we will develop and offer new formats in order to further integrate the topic of sustainability into the cooperative structure.
Investment Dialog event on ‘Generation Selfie’
Investment Dialog, DZ BANK’s largest customer event, again welcomed some 1,000 participants in 2016 – primarily members of the Boards of Managing Directors and other managers from the cooperative banks and their most important customers. The slogan for this year’s event was ‘Generation Selfie – digital natives changing the markets’.
When DZ BANK launched its largest customer event 20 years ago, the majority of Generation Selfie were not even born. For this very reason, the 20th Investment Dialog was devoted entirely to today’s six to 21 year olds. How should businesses adapt themselves to the digital natives, the people who have grown up with today’s digital technologies? And how is the digital revolution affecting all of us? Answers to these key questions were found at the Investment Dialog in Frankfurt’s Alte Oper concert hall.
DZ BANK regularly organizes autumn conferences at which it informs the cooperative banks about its corporate strategy. A launch event is generally followed by eight regional events. In 2016, the topics addressed at the autumn conferences included the DZ BANK Group's recent business performance and capital situation, the first 100 days of the joint central institution, and innovation management in the DZ BANK Group.
Banking Advisory Councils
Each of DZ BANK's five regional Banking Advisory Councils comprises roughly 40 members from the Boards of Managing Directors of cooperative banks in the relevant region and representatives from the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken cooperative financial network. Their role is to advise the Board of Managing Directors of DZ BANK as part of an active exchange of views, to act as multipliers for DZ BANK, and to proactively promote their business relationships. In 2016, we held a total of eleven regional Banking Advisory Council meetings in the Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Central, North/East and West sales regions.
Financial Services Advisory Council
The Financial Services Advisory Council, which works closely with the Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken (BVR) [National Association of German Cooperative Banks] and its special committees, was set up in 2010 to integrate the cooperative banks into the process of developing and marketing the DZ BANK Group's joint products and services. It comprises 22 members from the Boards of Managing Directors of cooperative banks plus the President of the BVR and the Chair of the BVR Association Council. The Financial Services Advisory Council primarily deals with the development and marketing of new products and services in the fields of retail banking, corporate banking, and transaction banking/processes. DZ BANK engages in open dialog with all participants to ensure that its business activities reflect the latest trends and the requirements of the cooperative banks.
Fact-finding trips and visitor program
DZ BANK offers employees of the cooperative banks various opportunities for dialog that go beyond day-to-day business. This includes two week-long fact-finding trips every year, which we organize for local cooperative bank employees in order to encourage collaboration with the institutions in the cooperative financial network at a personal level. We also offer a visitor program for members of Boards of Managing Directors, Supervisory Board members, customers, and trainees of cooperative banks. In 2016, more than 115 groups with a total of around 2,600 participants took up the offer to get to know DZ BANK at first hand.
Current trends affecting SMEs
Twice a year, DZ BANK’s SME study delivers information about the latest trends affecting this sector. The survey, which is published every spring and autumn, enables us to regularly ascertain SMEs’ expectations of the financial sector, their level of customer satisfaction, and their views on the state of the economy. Because we have been conducting the survey since the 1990s, we are always able to use meaningful time series to interpret the results. The results of the SME analyses and surveys of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken (BVR) [National Association of Local Cooperative Banks] and DZ BANK have been evaluated together since autumn 2013. In addition, representative flash polls on current topics, such as international business, give us an idea of the mood among small and medium-sized enterprises. We introduced these polls in 2012 to complement the much more extensive spring and autumn surveys.
Quality management and dealing with complaints
DZ BANK was the first issuer to use a quality management system to develop products, monitor product specifications, and measure customer satisfaction.
The system, which is based on the ISO 9001 industry standard, is audited and certified by DQS GmbH (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Zertifizierung von Managementsystemen) [German society for the certification of quality assurance systems]. The aim of this quality management system is to ensure customers of both DZ BANK and the cooperative banks receive the best possible service. In addition to product development, customer service in the Capital Markets Retail Clients division has been regularly inspected since 2011 in accordance with ISO 9001. Customer service in this division has set itself ambitious quality standards for dealing with customer inquiries in terms of staff availability and processing times.
Dealing with complaints is a fundamental aspect of quality management. DZ BANK deals with all complaints promptly, whether they are made by telephone, letter, email, or in person. All divisions with direct or indirect contact with customers have complaints managers who ensure complaints are dealt with in a customer-focused manner. Valid customer complaints are documented and are reported on regularly. In 2016, there were no complaints relating to impacts on the environment, human rights, working practices, or society.
- First place in the Bonus Certificates category at the 2016 Investment Certificates Awards
In the overall assessment, DZ BANK was ranked in second place by the panel of 34 respected capital market experts.