by Helen Cunningham
Customers gave DTCC an 88% overall satisfaction rating in 2011, compared with 91% in 2010.
The key drivers of customer satisfaction included the high quality of relationships with DTCC in terms of service and dependability; the products and services offered; and DTCC’s customer service and relationship management efforts.
Satisfaction levels remained strong for key attributes, including integrity, industry leadership, effectiveness in reducing risk, commitment to quality, breadth of the product line, communications with customers and relationship management. On the lower end of the scale was the rating for DTCC’s ability to reduce processing costs.
The survey benchmarks DTCC’s performance against The Melior Group’s industry database of 15,000 respondents. (The Melior Group conducts the survey and analyzes the results.) In 2011, DTCC received ratings above the industry average for all benchmarked categories: overall satisfaction, industry leadership, customer service, relationship management, technology and product/service array.
Acting on the data
“Although overall satisfaction trended down in 2011, the survey does not indicate major shifts in customer perceptions of DTCC, and the company continues to perform well against financial industry benchmarks,” said DTCC’s Corporate Chief of Staff Paula Arthus. “However, we are very mindful of the fact that the survey data, when taken together, suggests future satisfaction could erode if we fail to make improvements in certain key areas, including problem resolution.”
To prioritize areas for improvement, DTCC has been analyzing the data and verbatims, and developing action plans based on the information obtained from the survey. Implementation of the plans is under way and will move forward in the coming months.
DTCC conducted a separate survey for its European subsidiary, EuroCCP, to address the needs of its client base. For 2011, respondents gave EuroCCP a 100% overall satisfaction rating for the second consecutive year.
“In today’s highly competitive environ-ment, this rating sends a strong signal of ongoing customer support for the EuroCCP model and mission,” said Diana Chan, EuroCCP’s CEO. Further evidence of strong customer satisfaction was the 95% rating for the question regarding a customer’s likelihood of recommending EuroCCP to business associates. “In any business, a third-party endorsement is a win-win,” Chan said. “It says your existing customer is happy and it gives your company positive exposure to potential new customers.”
For the first time, the 2011 survey broke into two parts the question about DTCC’s effectiveness in reducing risk. One question ranked effectiveness in reducing risk for the industry, for which satisfaction was 88%. The second ranked risk reduction for the respondent’s firm, for which satisfaction was 85%. (These scores compare with 83% satisfaction for overall effectiveness in 2010.)
“The favorable ratings align with DTCC’s all-out focus on strengthening the industry’s risk capabilities since the 2008 financial crisis,” said Arthus. “Risk management will remain a priority for the foreseeable future and, in 2012, we will build on progress made to date to further strengthen the industry’s risk infrastructure.”
Focus on problems
As in years past, the number of problems customers experience is extremely important to their satisfaction levels.
In 2011, problem incidence rose to 21% (vs. 18% rating in 2010). The proportion of “significant” problems (as defined by the customer) also increased slightly to 20% (vs. 18%). Significant and moderate problems were mostly technology-related.
Satisfaction with overall problem resolution dropped to 44% from 56% last year. “Customers clearly indicated a decline in satisfaction with how effectively we handled their problems in 2011, particularly significant or moderate problems, and improving these scores will be a priority this year,” said Arthus. “We fully understand that a company’s ability to resolve a customer’s problem is a critical driver of customer satisfaction,” she continued. “We are examining factors that contributed to last year’s lower rating and will be working closely with customers and our own staff to address them.”
The survey includes a list of 23 “key attributes” that influence DTCC’s relationship with customers. Satisfaction for most of these attributes remained stable in 2011.
Integrity received the highest attribute rating, rising to 95% satisfaction, up 2 points from last year. “DTCC’s reputation as a trusted, ethical advisor is an essential component of its ability to work effectively with customers, regulators and counterparts to address the industry’s growing needs, particularly in the areas of transparency and risk mitigation,” said Arthus.
Customers also indicated strong satisfaction with DTCC’s transaction-processing capabilities, which received a 91% rating; industry leadership (89%); breadth of product line (88%); and communications with customers (88%). All these ratings track 2010 scores.
The largest improvement among the attributes was for leveraging the internet, which reached 81% satisfaction, up 4 points from 2010. “Given DTCC’s unique role in financial services, our technology organization’s top priority is to protect and strengthen the industry’s infrastructure, so we always have to balance that mandate with the use of technologies,” said Arthus. “Safely leveraging the internet has been an area of focus for the past several years, and we expect to make further progress in 2012.”
The majority of customers (88%) expressed satisfaction with DTCC’s overall product array in 2011, similar to 2010’s 87% rating. At the individual product level, satisfaction is generally strong, with most products achieving higher ratings than in 2010.
Customer satisfaction, according to survey results, is based on DTCC’s ability to offer high-quality products that address current and emerging needs; the accurate information they receive; and technology that is reliable and easy to use. Customers who are not satisfied cited reasons including insufficiently wide product coverage and technology that is not current or user-friendly enough.
Of the 15 products and services rated, 9 achieved gains (3 of which were double-digit increases); 5 remained stable; and 1 experienced a decline.
Overall satisfaction with the ability of DTCC’s relationship managers to meet customers’ needs was 92%, similar to 2010. For EuroCCP, customers expressed 100% satisfaction with their relationship management team.
For many firms, satisfaction is based on their relationship manager’s high level of responsiveness, sense of commitment and ability to keep the customer informed. The survey results also indicate DTCC could further improve scores in this area by ensuring these behaviors apply across the entire customer base.
Relationship managers received solid ratings for conveying value and credibility (94% satisfaction) and the ability to marshal resources to meet customer needs (93%). Most relationship managers are viewed as trusted advisors. “The strong scores for rela-tionship management reflect our customer-centric focus and ongoing initiatives to continually strengthen the customer rela-tionship and service delivery,” said Arthus.
Survey results also indicate relationship managers could add more value to customers by honing their ability to propose solutions that meet business needs. “It gets back to thought leadership,” said Arthus. “We need be aware of the big picture and think creatively about all the ways DTCC’s capabilities can benefit each customer with its current and emerging needs. In 2012, we will continue to be even more proactive on this front.”
Overall communication with customers improved in 2011. Of the 8 communications vehicles rated in the 2011 survey, 7 received higher scores than in 2010 and the eighth remained stable. Suggestions to further improve communications included making web-based publications more user-friendly and giving customers the ability to pick and choose the publications they receive. @