"Five Star Navigation" -- CIB Online Breaks the Mold

August 9th , Beijing Huabin Golf Club

Industrial bank, who holds the belief of "Service Makes Bank", continues in its role as a service innovator with another ground-breaking initiative. The press conference of " CIB Online, Trailblazing Service " held the very day included announcements of the criteria and pattern of the newly-launched "Five Star Navigation" service. This service aims to promote CIB Online 's five star service features: the service platform; the service team; the service flow; the service commitment; and the service security. These features are the pillars for CIB Online service.

Bringing Online Banking into the Mainstream

On the 18th October 1995, Security First Network Bank (SFNB), the first virtual bank in the world, came into being in the USA . Two years later, China Merchants Bank took the lead in introducing online banking to China with its "All in One Net", and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Industrial Bank soon followed the step in developing their own online banking services.

At present more than 85% of banks in the West have already established or are in the process of opening an online banking system. In China , main commercial banks with national networks have not only already begun online services, but also put a lot of emphasis on the development of their online banking systems. In terms of scale, by 2004 nearly 30% cooperation banking of Industrial Bank had been taken over by CIB Online.

The reason why world banks have preferences over online banking lies much in its convenience at "Three 'A's ",Anywhere, Anytime and Anyhow. Online banking breaks-down barriers of banking services in terms of geographical limitations and business hours. Online banks also cost less than traditional banks. Research shows that the average cost of a transaction made by a customer at a traditional bank is US$1.07, while only US$0.01 via the Internet.

It is no wonder, then, that the IT Giant Bill Gates has been heard to exclaim that any bank in the 21st century which has not embraced the electronic revolution would be soon washed out and no longer existed, like dinosaurs.

How to Stand Out from the Crowd

Nowadays, every bank places its online banking services in a prominent place on its website. The banks all provide the basic services of account checking, money transfers, wealth management, and payment of bill, wage and consumption. Generally speaking, any of the services for which you used to have to go to an outlet of the bank now can be obtained online. It is a pity, however, that online services have remained merely a "copy" of the traditional banking services. The industry has not developed unique service module to meet requirements of online customers and Internet characteristics. Because of this, customers' satisfactory level with the online service of all the major banks is very much alike. An online survey of 46 websites in 2004 by "iResearch" showed that levels of satisfaction with Chinese banks' online products ranged from 75.5 to 84.4, a gap of only 9 points between the high and the low.

As a competitive strategy, online banking provides Industrial Bank with better solutions to marginal growth in business volume and shortage of outlet within the network, by breakthrough in business hours, space and trade manner. It requires focus on featured products and services. Otherwise, though it might be able to compete with other banks, Industrial Bank would not be able to meet the increasingly subdivided and individualized requirements of customers applying online banking.

The trend towards a homogeneous range of online banking products and the difficulty for all banks of pushing through their market strategies have become a bottleneck in the development and advancement of online banking. How can online banks break through? How can they differentiate their products and establish a dominating advantage over counterparts? These are some of the major questions faced by most commercial banks today.

CIB Online: By Service We Win

Philip Kotler, father of modern marketing, said that the era of the service economy had already arrived. In this age, services are no longer merely a dependency of products; indeed, they value higher over products. The ultimate expression of the service economy is an independent role of service from products and making the service a direct drive to productivity.

To this end, Industrial Bank has been preparing the revolution of CIB Online for a long time. CIB Online 's groundbreaking feature will be its focus on services as both tool and key benefit. After extensive market research, Industrial Bank launched the " CIB Online, Trailblazing Service " on the 9th of August. It is the first online banking in China with a "Five Star Navigation" standard and system for its services and it is the first one to erect a sharp-cut service brand aim at the online banking. CIB Online is prepared to take the market by storm with its unique, integrated, customized, specialized and people-oriented "Five Star Navigation" services. It is particularly well placed to meet the ever increasing demands, broadening and specialized requirements of online corporate users, and thus to build a service brand which is unmatched among China 's online banking.

The strategy which Industrial Bank has chosen to follow begins with its five star service features the service platform, the service team, the service flow; the service commitment and the service security. On such basis, Industrial Bank will turn CIB Online into a portable "Five Star Navigation" service for corporate customers, to be accessed to at any time, anywhere and anyhow. All corporate customers will receive individual consultancy from a customer service m anager, a sub-branch online banking manager and a branch online banking product manager. In addition, key group clients and clients with industrial background will be provided with a senior online banking product manager from the headquarters to ensure top service for them.

The manager of channel department who in charge of "CIB Online" explained, three special considerations had allowed Industrial Bank to take a leading position in terms of its online service standard and systems. Firstly, the banking staff carried out very careful analysis of the demands of the customers in order to provide advice which is perfectly suited to their situation. This eliminates any confusion arising from multi-functions, complicate business flow and technical content of the online banking products (particularly the corporate banking products). Secondly, it is necessary for staff to be ready to help immediately should a customer have any problem when using their online banking account. This factor is of particular importance because customers are managing their own accounts outside the outlet, which increase the possibility for potential errors. Thirdly, staff must be ready to explain and resolve problems such as Internet lag due to variable clients and network environments. These factors show that timely, effective and high quality customer support is the key to earning the trust and approval of online banking customers.

After the "Trailblazing Service" launching event, Industrial Bank will start its "Five Star Navigation" services nationwide with a series of promotion campaigns. CIB Online will also undertake a series of carefully targeted promotions via all kinds of media to achieve its marketing aims by covering all-layered areas.

What "Trailblazing Service" Really Means

Both the "Trailblazing Service" event and the launch of "Five Star Navigation" services standard and system are parts of Industrial Bank's "Trailblazing Service" program.

Then what exactly does "Trailblazing Service" mean for CIB Online's groundbreaking services?

The launch of " CIB Online, Five Star Navigation" services shows that Industrial Bank has broken the traditional pattern of competition based only on functions of product. Industrial Bank is now pursuing a competitive brand strategy which has service as its core, marking China 's online banking industry has entered the era of competition through service differentiation. From this point of view, online banking customers will be free from cold virtual network and the worry of the problems and risks that may arise. "Five Star Navigation" kick starts CIB Online's strategy of bringing people-oriented and customized service to the online banking industry.

The core of "Five Star Navigation" services is "Integrated Service Solutions" and all-round service provisions. With these core values CIB Online will be able to provide more effective services which stand out from the competition, customized to the customers' demands and experience. Seen in this way, the emphasis on systematic, one-package solutions becomes CIB Online's most outstanding feature.

As the online service team moves forward and breaks ever newer ground, following the "navigation lights" of the "Five Star Navigation" plan, CIB Online is moving closer to its goal of making itself as the leading online brand in Chinese online banking providers.

The promotion of the "Five Star Navigation" standard and system is the realization of the management philosophy handed down by the founders of Industrial Bank. From the first day of operation, Industrial Bank has worked on the principles of  "Service Makes the Bank" and "Service Starts with Sincerity", and it was these principles that aided its fast development from a regional bank to a national corporation as it is today. Industrial Bank has continued its dedication to service online, and has attracted many large clients in this way.

We have full reasons to believe that with the new "Five Star Navigation" project Industrial Bank will gradually move to the forefront of the field of online banking service and once more blaze a trail for others to follow.