Wednesday, 27 October 2021

OCBC’s AutoROME implementation led to improved customer service quality and productivity

5 min read

By Durva Lakhlani

AutoROME successfully improved OCBC's customer experience at the bank account opening stage while increasing opportunities for cross-selling.


In a service and relationship oriented business such as retail banking, customer service can be the key to customer retention and growth. With Singapore’s competitive retail banking industry, OCBC chose to enhance its customer experience as a differentiating factor.

A bank’s account-opening process usually defines a customer’s first impression about its efficiency and customer service quality. It also serves as a good opportunity for banks to sell debit and credit cards whilst generating customer interest on other services. To solve the problem of multiple systems, various process steps, forms and signatures that this procedure would require, OCBC conceptualised Relationship Opening Made Easy (AutoROME). AutoROME has helped OCBC enhance its services in terms of simplicity and efficiency.

The challenge

OCBC’s account opening process was paper-based and labour intensive, thus making for a dull customer experience. It involved 115 different process steps, toggling between five different systems. The process was manual, involving multiple client signatures, followed by back office involvement. While OCBC’s Personal Financial Consultant (PFC) struggled with formalities with no time to interact, customers were mostly kept disconnected. In order to cross-sell, the PFC would have to explain each product to the customers individually and let them choose from the spread.

OCBC realised that the account opening process is the first point of interaction and that it was crucial to make a good impression. This process has to be made hassle-free, transparent and engaging for the customer.

The solution

In order to determine how this process could be improved, various customer-experience studies, surveys and mystery shopping were conducted, using the bank’s Customer Experience (CX) Centre.

Customer experience design delivery is at forefront to differentiate product and service offerings

Figure1: CX involvement in process change at OCBC

While most of the process mapping and design concepts were built in-house, software provider Pegasystem was hired to help enhance OCBC’s customer experience. Via integration of OCBC’s various systems, implementation of AutoROME has helped transform OCBC’s bank account opening process, with the process now user-friendly, fully digitised and hassle-free.

Initiated in February 2010, AutoROME has been enhanced in stages

Figure 2: Process stages for AutoROME

Rather than explaining all of its product features to the customer, OCBC’s PFC now asks about the end use of the product, with relevant solutions suggested. According to Donald Macdonald, head of Group Consumer Analytics and Decisioning at OCBC, “Based on customer feedback and testing at the Customer Experience lab, we were able to make the process more competent. We don’t give the customer too much information, but only that which is relevant. The customer can see the range of products available and compare their features presented in rich visuals. This empowers customers to make informed decisions while improving the overall interaction.”

Scanning of a customer’s Identity Card (IC) allows OCBC’s new system to pick the relevant customer details, instead of requiring them to manually fill in the forms. The new system also looks out for customers’ possible involvement in financial frauds or money laundering, with credit approval done simultaneously without hand-offs to the back office. One signature is taken at the end on a digital signature pad which is absorbed by the system.

OCBC emphasises on user-friendly and internet-like interface

Figure 3: Screenshot from AutoROME

Please click to view enlarged image


AutoROME includes a Financial Needs Analysis (FNA) phase, where all regulatory requirements for selling investment related products are fulfilled and a proper audit trail for compliance is maintained, avoiding OCBC’s initial tedious paper-based process.

The PFC’s computer screen is shared with the customer, allowing greater transparency between the PFC and customer. This allows the customer to see each step of the process on ROME in its user-friendly interface. Customers can see the product details, the customer information being entered in the system, and also the risk profile as shown by the FNA phase of ROME. They can immediately verify the details being entered and also be fully involved in the account opening and product selection processes.

The customer is fully involved in the process of account opening and can view options available

Figure 4: Shared screen between the customer and PFC

The whole process of opening an account and selection of credit/ debit cards takes around 18 minutes under AutoROME, down from an initial 26 minutes. This allows the PFC more time to indulge in more value-added discussions with the customer.

During the entire process, the PFC does not have to leave his seat for scanning or copying. Everything the PFC needs is on his/her desk.

The benefits

• OCBC’s cross-selling activities have increased 10%-15% depending on customer segment, benefitting from sale of credit cards products and bancassurance.

• In terms of add-on features like debit cards, e-statements, internet banking, the take-up rate has gone up by 60%.

• OCBC saved $400,000 per year due to improved productivity. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which allows for picking of information from a customer’s IC and online information filling – with customers’ instant verification – leaves almost no room for error.

• The time taken for the opening of an account has been reduced from 26 minutes to an average of 18 minutes. This allows the PFC more time to engage in value-added discussions with the customer.

• Above all, the customer experience has been enhanced. Launch of ROME throughout OCBC’s branch network has led to the bank number one ranking (from sixth place) in terms of customer satisfaction during the account opening process (as assessed by a self- commissioned third party).

The future

Implementation of AutoROME for customers’ account opening has given OCBC a base to include other products such as mortgage loans and insurance. The coming year may see these products on similar systems. This will make a large part of branch banking paperless, more interactive and error-proof.

Keywords: AutoROME, OCBC, Pegasystems, CX, Donald Macdonald, FNA
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