Client satisfaction and customer loyalty: Building trust with Code of Values

Satisfying our clients is our central focus. This principle guides all our activities and applies to all business divisions. The key elements are transparency and high-quality advice. The Code of Values for our Private and Business Clients division defines strict adherence to our values and principles. Enabling us to improve client satisfaction and achieve customer loyalty in the long term.

Business with private and business clients is under intense public scrutiny in the wake of the financial crisis as the media and the general public closely observe the relationship between banks and their clients. Clients are understandably dissatisfied by investments that incur substantial losses, by business practices that are seemingly driven primarily by sales targets, and by complex products that are not easy to understand. This applies to Deutsche Bank just as much as to the rest of the sector.

We want to win back people’s trust and create value for our clients. That is why we place emphasis on client satisfaction and the benefit that our products and services generate.

Our Code of Values

We create long-term value for our clients and our company.

Our clients can rely on our products to comply with our ethical principles.

Responsible advisory means that we only offer such products. For this reason, our products are continuously reviewed.

We are a trusted partner for our clients and society.

In order to put our Code of Values into practice in the product area, we have developed principles that define minimum standards for our product lines. They commit us to exclusively offering ethically justifiable and transparent products. In addition, we want to offer our clients responsible and foresighted advice that fulfils their needs and clearly shows them the respective benefits and risks.

Our product principles

Building on our code of values, we have developed product principles for our Private and Business Client division that specify the minimum standards for all product lines, thus ensuring client satisfaction:

  • Our products relate to the real economy.
  • They serve the individual without being detrimental to the world at large.
  • They are transparent and easy to understand.
  • They create benefits.
  • We do not offer any products that conflict with these principles and do not provide advice on any such products.

Structures and processes to improve client satisfaction

We carry out more than 18,000 test purchases in our branches (known as ‘mystery shopping’) and do follow-up telephone interviews after client consultations. They are an important part of our quality assessment, help us to measure progress and identify areas for improvement.

Almost one million clients a year take part in our customer satisfaction survey through online banking or branch terminals. They provide feedback on the quality of our advice and rate their satisfaction with our performance. The results of this client survey and mystery shopping are incorporated into the evaluation of branch performance and are a component of our compensation packages.

Exclusion criteria for products

In line with the bank’s overall approach to reputational risks, we do not offer or recommend to private and business clients any products that involve:

  • speculation on food scarcity or bottlenecks that might affect the availability of food
  • betting on death, illness, disability or insolvency
  • the manufacture and sale of nuclear weapons, cluster munitions and landmines
  • the promotion or use of child labor
  • criminal acts such as drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption
  • violations of human rights.

Current developments


At the end of 2012,

44% of customers

said their quality of advice was “excellent” or “very good”.

Responsible Business Initiative

Our “Responsible Banking Initiative” is responsible for adherence to the above-mentioned principles: it is managed by a committee consisting of the top management of our Private and Business Client division as well as that of Postbank. This body monitors adherence to the Code of Values, the product principles and the supplementary exclusion criteria. Its members have the final say on all issues relating to the Code and regularly review the product portfolios; they develop proposals and specify measures for risk mitigation in the event of a violation of the Code. Finally, the committee approves the new products that are referred to it for decision.

Structures and processes to improve client satisfaction

We carry out more than 18,000 test purchases in our branches (known as ‘mystery shopping’) and do follow-up telephone interviews after client consultations. They are aimed at determining client satisfaction, identifying improvements, and measuring progress.

Almost one million clients a year take part in our customer satisfaction survey via online banking or at terminals at their local branch. They provide feedback on the quality of advice and rate their satisfaction with our performance. Their responses show us how they assess our performance and how strong their loyalty to Deutsche Bank is. Our staff speaks with dissatisfied clients directly to find out the reasons for their criticism and initiate possible improvements. The results of the client surveys and of “mystery shopping” are incorporated into the performance assessment of the branches and are an integral part of our compensation scheme. The quality of advice has been further improved thanks to these measures. At the end of 2012, 44% of our clients rated the quality of our advisory service as “excellent” or “very good”.

How we advise clients

In 2010, we were the first bank in Germany to introduce product information sheets, with a transparent labeling system, for investment products in our client advisory service. They document the yield and risk profile, fees and the anticipated change in value of a product. Comparable documents for investment products and closed-end funds have only been stipulated as mandatory by law since July 2011. We additionally offer them for savings products on our own initiative.

We provide advice according to an electronically supported advisory process called “Beratermappe Online” (BMO), i.e. Online Advisory tool. It makes it easier for our advisors to adhere to advisory and quality standards that are in line with the statutory regulations as well as our own guidelines. The Advisor’s Folder is at the disposal of all advisory service staff and is used for all discussions with clients. It ensures the high quality and transparency of the advice provided. After every discussion, the essential content is documented for the client once more in the folder.

Internal findings confirm that the BMO Online Advisory tool was used for almost 100% of all discussions with our mystery shoppers in the year 2012.

Particularly in Germany, regulatory measures have been tightened after the financial crisis in order to improve protection of investors. MiFID, the current financial markets directive of the European Union on investor protection, already reflects those changes. It goes without saying that we fulfil all of the applicable specifications. Furthermore, we additionally implement voluntary measures as well. For example, we withdrew the investment fund called “db Kompass Life III-Fonds” from the market and excluded it from advisory service because it was linked to the sale of synthetic life insurance policies.

How we deal with complaints

To improve client satisfaction, the fundamental principle is to always process complaints fairly, effectively, and without delay. Our consultants are responsible for handling client complaints and recommending suitable solutions.

Our complaints management process helps staff record client complaints, clarify them and track responses from clients. In this way, we can identify recurring complaints and faults in product and service processes at an early stage. We protect clients’ interests and improve client satisfaction sustainably with the aid of our Code of Values, our product principles, and our internal processes.

Product responsibility and consumer protection

In line with our principles, we aim to promote products that provide capital for the real economy and offer solutions customized to our clients’ needs. Before granting loans or approving lines of credit, we analyze our clients’ financial situation. We carefully proof that the duration of our credits is appropriate as compared to the financing purpose and do not finance if there is a danger of debt overload. We do not offer incomprehensible product bundles or products that do not include clear benefits for the client.

In addition to our exclusion criteria, some products are not available to certain client groups. For example, products with long-term and limited tradability will not be actively sold to people over the age of 70.

Employees must be sure that clients understand the characteristics, functions and risks inherent to a product. Product information and marketing materials must be understandable and must provide all relevant information, including costs and price.

Accessible banking

We aim to make our banking services accessible to all clients and we make provisions for special needs. Since 1995, Deutsche Bank has strongly supported the “Ein Konto für Jedermann” initiative to make a current account available to everyone, regardless of financial status.

The principles of this initiative are explicitly stated in our account opening guidelines, and we already meet the standards of the EU Directive on Basic Accounts, which are currently in discussion.

The products and services we offer are tailored to the specific needs of certain customer groups. For example, we have equipped new ATMs in Germany with headphone jacks for a voice menu and lettering in braille to enable access for people with visual impairments. As we remodel branches worldwide, we aim to improve access for the disabled through measures such as eliminating steps, adjusting the width of doors and creating more maneuvering space for wheelchair users.

Our telephone and online banking services enable customers to access banking without visiting a branch. Furthermore, we introduced the “elektronisches Postfach,” an online service that enables our clients to order securities statements, credit card statements and account balance statements via phone or internet.

Promoting financial literacy

The amount of debt incurred by young people in Germany has quadrupled over the past ten years, increasing the need for students to understand personal finance. Through our financial literacy initiative in the German market, Deutsche Bank employees provide practical guidance to help students manage their money better and discuss topics as the global financial markets in order to improve students’ understanding of the economic system. In other countries, we also promote financial understanding via print and online media in order to maximize the reach of these initiatives.

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