Customer Centricity Corner with Peter Lavers – What does it mean to RMB?


Interviewee: Mumbi Odame

Hello, my name is Peter Lavers and welcome to this first edition of the Customer Centricity Corner, brought to you by Customer Attuned Ltd.

In this new series of discussions, I’m focusing on what Customer Centricity practically means in the business-to-business sector, which is also known as B2B.

The subject is broken down into short 10-12 minute interviews with a range of practitioners and experts in the subject, digging in to how we can apply the theory and overcome obstacles to make our places of work more Customer Centric.

For our first episode I’m delighted to introduce Mumbi Odame from Rand Merchant Bank.

Mumbi is Head of Customer Experience and Design at RMB, which is the corporate banking arm of the FirstRand Group in South Africa.

Peter: Mumbi, can I start by asking you what the term “customer centricity” means to you? Isn’t it just one of those buzzwords bandied about by consultants?

Mumbi: Thanks Peter for the opportunity to be the first speaker on this podcast series. Yes, customer centricity very quickly became a buzzword, but oftentimes people mean different things when they actually use the words. 

The bottom line, though, is that customer centricity is a whole-business approach. 

It’s about differentiating your company or organisation because you’re purposefully focussed on creating mutual value with your customers that meets their needs and expectations. 

This obviously assumes that we have done the upfront work of aligning customer expectations to our brand so that we are dealing with target clients. 

Based on this definition it encompasses everything the organisation does to deliver positive and fair client outcomes. 

For RMB, it means building trusted partnerships with our clients that help them thrive as we also thrive.

Peter: OK, so that’s what customer centricity is. How does that play out in corporate banking? How do you practically apply those principles? 

Good question Peter. I have found the practice inconsistent in the corporate banking space although it is starting to pick up. Various elements come together in a B2B environment that are different to B2C. 

The first one is that you are dealing with the outcomes of the organisation while navigating the outcomes of the individuals you deal with in the organisation. 

While the priority is to make the organisation win, loyalty is built with the humans within the organisation. Understanding their motivations and expectations informs how you deliver the organisational outcomes – the what.

What this means practically, is that your research covers both the needs and wants of the organisation as well as those of the individuals. 

RMB is mapping out client journeys and has aligned all the initiatives we undertake to these journeys to ensure that there is a clear link between what the client outcome is and how we deliver it.

Secondly, scale also means something different in B2B. Volumes tend to be at a transaction level and not necessarily at a client level. 

Losing one client can have a huge impact on your bottom line and we therefore protect every relationship that is aligned with our target client base. 

This is where the elusive single view of client becomes so important because decisions should be based on the total revenue potential of a client over time and not just the current revenue. The CRM tool is important but so is the behaviour of all your teams to maintain an up-to-date input into that tool. 

Often organisations are structured based on specialisation, which is important to be able to create depth. The culture however must be one that values the client more than our individual siloed relationships. 

At RMB we have rolled out a CRM tool that will enable this single view of client, supplemented by a platform that feeds it with the necessary data.

This leads me to my third point – digitisation and data. In RMB we have a high-touch relationship model. 

Digitisation and data are critical to enable this high-touch model. We use data to understand every client’s context and connect with them based on this context – again at an organisational and individual level. 

We are focussed on streamlining processes, eliminating manual activities and focussing our employees to value activities. 

Our CX vision is to partner with our clients and help them thrive. Thrive means we spend time understanding how they define their successful outcomes so that we can then focus on delivering that. 

We use the diverse thinking of our people to create innovative solutions that help our clients thrive. Digitisation ensures consistency in our delivery of contextual solutions and experiences.

At the end of it all, it is about creating mutual value, and this is where trusted partnerships come in. We want our clients to be with us for the long term and our relationship must help them thrive while we thrive. 

This requires mutual trust that we are fully invested in their business and the success of the individuals we deal with.

Peter: Thank you so much Mumbi. I really appreciate your time to tell us your story today, and the insights that you have shared. 

For me the key learning point from today – and I love this in RMB’s definition – is that customer centricity in B2B is all about both sides of the customer/supplier relationship thriving through mutual value creation and trust.

This fits perfectly with our purpose at Customer Attuned, which is to help our clients build a culture of customer centricity – based on Trust – to establish sustainable, mutually beneficial and profitable B2B relationships.

I hope that what you’ve heard today helps you on your journey towards those aims.

Please go to our website, which is, to get the links to the rest of this series and see what else we do. 

Thank you for listening, and thanks again Mumbi for being our speaker today.