ActivoBank prides itself on its relationships with its clients, fostered through personalised service and use of modern technology
There is nothing more permanent in this world than change. And if the world changes, so will clients’ interactions with banks. That is the thinking that birthed ActivoBank, a bank specifically designed to make people’s lives easier. It aims itself at customers who are ‘young-at-heart’, who make extensive use of new technology, and favours a banking relationship based on five essential values: simplicity, innovation, transparency, trust and accessibility.
ActivoBank is very much a bank, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like one, which sets it apart from the crowd. It prides itself on being dynamic and modern, facets that are essential to its growth and development.
Innovation remains the focus, and the bank’s acquisition strategy is becoming more and more intense. At the same time, it aims to build long-term relationships with its customers and push brand awareness. No one likes problems with their bank, so why create them?
Online strategy is crucial for customer acquisition and retention. Despite the physical presence of the bank throughout its 14 branches, the greater reference remains the website. Here, the key word is convenience, and this gives customers a sense of what the bank in general is like. It continuously develops intuitive products and services, all aimed at promoting ease of use.
Keeping it simple
ActivoBank attempts to keep its processes, products and services as easily manageable as the daily lives of its clients. This simple approach is revealed in the way the customers access the bank, but also in the way the bank communicates.
That simplicity is apparent from the very beginning; it takes only 20 minutes to become a full ActivoBank customer. In those 20 minutes customers will open an account and immediately receive their cards. No other bank in Portugal offers quite the same speed of service. Cards from ActivoBank will not take days to arrive in the post because they are not sent by post.
Simplicity also reveals itself in the different characteristics of the bank’s services, which are available 24/7. Even when a branch closes, the bank remains open all the time, whether it be on the website (widely praised on an international level), on the company’s smartphone and iPad applications, or by means of a call centre. ActivoBank helps its customers find only what they really need, and it does it in a simplified and friendly manner.
Culture of innovation
Innovation is part of ActivoBank’s DNA, whether it is in the applications for smartphones or iPad, on the website and social networks, or in the branches themselves. It aims to create a culture in which the bank is seen to go to its customers, rather than the other way around.
The bank has a strong presence on Facebook, primarily, which allows it to stay in close communication with its followers. It offers those followers and easy and direct method of communication with the bank, and the ability to express their opinions regarding the bank and its events. In terms of giving out customer help and product information, Facebook allows for immediate and effective client relations. ActivoBank aims to be as transparent as possible, dealing in trust as well as currency. It sees its key assets as simplicity, honesty and efficiency.
Another particularly important channel for ActivoBank is mobile banking. Tablets and smartphones are essential tools in accessing the bank’s services, and like most aspects of the company, emphasise convenience and ease of use. ActivoBank was actually the first Portuguese bank to develop apps for these platforms, and as such has something of a head start on its competition. The bank’s capacity for embracing technology led World Finance to award ActivoBank the Most Innovative Bank in Portugal, 2011.
Transparency and trust
ActivoBank aims to be a bank that isn’t full of surprises. Its communication is carried out in the open, with integrity. What you see is what you get. The customer always knows what he is paying for, why he is paying for it and how much it will cost. ActivoBank prides itself on being up front, in placing its cards on the table and not deceiving its customers with hidden charges or schemes.
In a banking relationship, as in most other relationships, trust is the core value. At ActivoBank, customers know their bank is always there and they can count on it. It is known for its rigour and availability. This is the way ActivoBank works and how it intends to continue. It believes that the relationship formed with a customer extends beyond the day they join the bank.
Busy people often find it difficult to find time to go to the bank. ActivoBank aims to combat that issue by keeping its branches open later, from Monday to Saturday, making its customers’ lives easier. While other banks in the area tend to close at around 3:30pm and only open on weekdays, ActivoBank closes at 8pm and is also open on Saturdays. Meanwhile, almost all of the bank’s services are available online, meaning customers may carry out pretty much any transaction without having to walk into a bank.
The last few years have been extremely successful for ActivoBank. This year it was again recognised at World Finance’s Banking Awards, where it was awarded Best Commercial Bank in Portugal, following the previous year’s award for innovation. ActivoBank is establishing itself more and more within the market, and its success comes as a result of its dedication to its customers, and to embracing a dynamic and innovative mindset.
Nelson Machado on ActivoBank’s progress, here.