by Helen Cunningham
Customers gave DTCC a 91% overall satisfaction rating in 2010, the fifth consecutive year the company received this score. Satisfaction on all key attributes remained stable or increased, with the largest gains achieved for DTCC's customer-centric focus, speed to market and industry leadership.
The strong levels of satisfaction are attributable to factors including the quality of the overall relationship, DTCC's continued focus on customer service and relationship management, and the products and services offered. The company also received high satisfaction scores for integrity, commitment to quality and transactionprocessing capabilities.
Customer suggestions for improvement most often focused on technology. Survey respondents also indicated they would like DTCC to better understand their businesses; build more consultative relationships; offer advice on how to best leverage DTCC's services; and provide more training. Some customers also believe DTCC needs to be less bureaucratic, with greater emphasis on partnering.
DTCC has been analyzing the data and verbatims, and developing action plans for improvement based on the information obtained from the survey. Implementation of the plans has begun and will continue in the coming months.
Casting a wide net
The customer survey is designed to measure not only satisfaction with DTCC, but also perceptions of the value received from DTCC and loyalty to the DTCC brand. In addition, the survey gives customers the opportunity to describe emerging needs and desired improvements.
DTCC customized a separate survey for its European subsidiary, EuroCCP, to address the needs of its client base. Respondents gave EuroCCP a 100% overall satisfaction rating, a considerable improvement over 2009.
By taking this broad approach to customer research, DTCC obtains data on where it currently stands in the eyes of firms that use its services, along with guidance on future direction by identifying top-of-mind issues and emerging customer needs and concerns.
The survey also benchmarks DTCC's performance against The Melior Group's industry database of 11,500+ respondents. (The Melior Group conducts DTCC's customer survey and analyzes the results.) In 2010, DTCC received ratings above the industry average for overall satisfaction, customer service, product/service array and technology, as well as other key attributes.
Top of mind: risk mitigation
"We at DTCC understand that the bar of market and regulatory expectations on risk has been raised and what used to be normal or standard operating procedure is fast becoming history," Donald F. Donahue, DTCC's CEO, has said. "As a result, we're now initiating a top-to-bottom transformation in how DTCC thinks about risk, how we oversee risk, how we manage risk and how we plan to address risk – and I mean all aspects of risk – both within DTCC and within the financial system we are a key part of." Donahue has also stated that DTCC plans to make a quantum leap in the level and scope of risk mitigation it provides across the industry.
DTCC's heightened focus on risk aligns with customers' areas of focus. In the survey's interviews with senior contacts, regulatory reforms and risk management topped the list for issues of emerging concern. In the 2010 survey, customers' perception of DTCC's effectiveness in reducing risk came in at 83% (vs. 86% in 2009).
Top of mind: risk mitigation
The survey includes a list of 22 "key attributes" that play an important role in DTCC's relationship with customers. Satisfaction for all these attributes remained stable or increased in 2010.
Integrity was the attribute that received the highest rating of 93% satisfaction, the same as last year. EuroCCP increased its integrity rating to 100%, from 86% in 2009.
"For DTCC to serve the industry effectively, it is critical that customers have full confidence in the organization's integrity and ability to act as a trusted, objective advisor," said Andrew Gray, DTCC managing director, Core Product Strategy and Management.
"DTCC's commitment to serve the industry with integrity is paramount, and more important than ever in this era of sweeping regulatory reform."
One of the largest improvements among the attributes was for customer-centricity, defined primarily by survey respondents as putting the customer first with open and honest communications. Satisfaction with this attribute reached 83%, up 6 points from 2009.
"Our commitment to improve customer centricity is a key focus of the DTCC Customer Service Council, which we established in late 2009, and its agenda," said Paula Arthus, DTCC managing director, Relationship Management. "The improved ratings for this attribute signal that we are on the right track."
EuroCCP received a 96% satisfaction rating for being customer-centric, a significant increase over the previous year. "In 2010, we created a dedicated relationship management team to strengthen our focus on the clients," said Diana Chan, EuroCCP's CEO. "We also hold monthly customer roundtables that feature updates on EuroCCP services and procedures, and that foster dialogue about the ongoing evolution of the European market."
Satisfaction with speed to market also rose 6 points over last year, though it remains on the low end of the scale at 71%. "We recognize the need to further focus on speed to market, bearing in mind that in today's fast-moving environment, DTCC always needs to strike the proper balance between speed and the necessity to deliver products that are stringently risk-managed," said Gray.
The majority of customers (90%) expressed satisfaction with DTCC's overall product array in 2010, on par with 2009's rating. Scores for specific products ranged from 81% to 95%.
Of the 16 products and services rated, 6 maintained stable satisfaction ratings and 7 experienced declines in satisfaction; 3 achieved double-digit gains.
The survey also asked customers to assess the "value" that specific products bring to their organizations and on this metric, 15 of the 16 products rated achieved gains (13 of which were double digits). Value scores ranged from 57% to 100%.
Of the 5 products rated for EuroCCP, satisfaction ranged from 87% to 100%. Value scores ranged from 75% to 88%. "EuroCCP views the client survey as an important tool in ensuring that our products and services meet our customers' business needs," said Chan. "We have integrated the survey results into our business goals for 2011."
Caring about customers
Customers' satisfaction with the ability of their particular relationship manager to meet their needs increased to 93% (from 90% in 2009). The gain reflects growth in the number of "extremely satisfied" customers, which reached 58% (vs. 54% in 2009).
For many customers, satisfaction with relationship managers is attributable to the high level of responsiveness, the ability to communicate effectively, their helpful attitude and knowledge of both the industry and individual customer needs. Areas for improvement are grounded in proliferating these same behaviors across the entire customer base.
In the 2010 survey, customers indicated that relationship managers strengthened their role as trusted advisors who understand customer needs and possess the skills and knowledge to resolve important issues. Ratings for the "trusted advisor" attribute rose to 90%, up 6 points over 2009.
"We consider it essential to establish and maintain a high level of trust with our customers, and our Relationship Management team has made it a priority to strengthen the ‘trusted advisor' role over the past couple of years," said Arthus, "so we are pleased that customers have seen an improvement."
Nonetheless, firms are looking for still more on this front. According to Melior, "Customers would like their relationship managers to take a more proactive stance in proposing solutions to meet their business needs," a sentiment that was expressed across all lines of DTCC's business.
"Increasing the scope and usage of DTCC's services provides scale benefit for all our customers," said Arthus. "We are completely aligned with being even more proactive in this area, and continuing to drive that thought leadership role with our customers." @