What Can Business Owners Learn from Monzo’s Customer Service?

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Monzo made headlines in industry outlets recently by topping the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) customer satisfaction survey. Overall, 80% of its personal account users and 84% of its business account users said they’d recommend it to friends and family.

These results keep Monzo in a winning streak, having topped the business account ranking for two consecutive years and the personal account ranking for three.

Monzo managed to run the fastest successful crowdfunding campaign in the UK (£1 million in 96 seconds) and rack up over 200,000 people on its waiting list in its first year. Its strong focus on community-building and its solid investment in its business reputation clearly paid off, with the company now amassing £440 million in revenue and topping the CMA survey.

Focusing on customer satisfaction to build a positive brand reputation can help your business find a path towards rapid growth. Taking this course of action, Monzo grew 50% in number of users between 2021 and 2023 and now racks up 7.5 million customers.

In this article, we’re going to cover some of the successful strategies Monzo deployed in delivering great customer service, so you can know what you can use to treat (and expand) your clientele.

Why Monzo put its customers first

Despite being founded in 2015, Monzo only started using traditional marketing tools around 2019 — so how did it go about building its brand during its first four years? By and large, it focused on creating a sense of community for its users and letting them do the talking.

From its early days, its development plan was centred on relationship marketing and good customer satisfaction: by reaching out to their customer base for input and feedback, it gave account holders a sense of ownership over the brand. Its millions of users, operations in the US, and an incredible reputation among users, underline how Monzo’s growth is a success story.

How Monzo delivers great customer service

Monzo delivers great customer service through a solid strategy, from which there’s a lot that you can learn. In this section, we’ll cover some of the actions Monzo carried out to strengthen its relationship with its customers, along with their results and main takeaways.

1. Strong community-building

The action: Building the clientele through referrals and word of mouth.

The benefit: New users could quickly get access to the service if they knew an old one. Old customers could feel they were playing a part in building a community by inviting new ones.

The message: “By being our customer, you’re part of something special”.

The lesson: Make your customers feel part of your company’s success.

From the get-go, Monzo used relationship marketing to develop a community of users that were loyal to and engaged with the company. Relationship marketing is a type of marketing that fosters relationships between customers and brands based on emotions, leading to higher levels of customer engagement and even brand advocacy. Strategies

In Monzo’s case, it deployed an effective referral program that rewarded early adopters and their social network. Called “Golden Tickets”, it allowed potential new users to jump the waiting list Monzo had at the time. However, they could only get one of these “tickets” through someone who was already a user.

This gave incredible agency to existing customers to choose who they’d like to be part of the service. Coupled with Monzo’s service, this created a community of people that cared about the company and felt a degree of ownership of its success.

Note

The CMA survey results point to the rise of challenger banks in the customer satisfaction arena. In the 2018 personal accounts account survey, for instance, only one bank in top 5 was a challenger bank. However, since 2020, three challenger banks have featured consistently in the first three spots: Monzo, Starling, and First Direct.

2. Easy-to-reach customer service

The action: Making customer service available 24/7 and easily contactable.

The benefit: Customers don’t feel stranded when things go wrong and have extra confidence they can rely on your service.

The message: “We’re here for you”.

The lesson: Make sure you’re able to deal with your customers’ issues in the most efficient way.

If a problem arises your customer will need to contact customer services. To make your customers happy in this situation, you need to be efficient in how you go about assessing and resolving their queries.

In the case of Monzo, they’ve set up a 24/7 chat support channel, included comprehensive help material in their app, and started using AI in customer service processes. It also has a call centre with human agents operating from 7am to 8pm (UK time) everyday.

Taking a page from the Monzo group’s book, using AI is a great way to reduce your customer service response times, as it can autogenerate email responses and serve as your customer’s initial port of call through chatbots. Additionally, investing in the best VoIP systems will also help you to better manage your calls, reduce call waiting times, and improve customer satisfaction.

3. Transparent transaction fees

The action: Setting up very clear fees for its services and waiving markup fees on international transactions.

The benefit: Customers can save up on transaction costs when abroad and avoid surprises in general.

The message: “We treat you fairly”.

The lesson: You can attract customers if you waive a very visible part of your pricing.

Banks aren’t usually known for fee transparency and sometimes understanding what they charge involves combing through the fine print. This is true in both personal and — as we found in our merchant account comparison — business accounts.

By introducing a clear fee structure, Monzo answered calls for charges that were easy to understand and account for. This sent out a clear message of fairness that resonated with its potential customers.

Furthermore, they made big waves in the industry by foregoing markup fees on international transactions, charging only the Mastercard exchange rate. This feature ended up becoming a selling point of its own, with many Monzo users we interviewed citing the bank’s ease of use abroad as one of its main draws.

4. Innovative features and tools

The action: Introducing visually compelling expense tracking tools and a very practical saving feature that allows you to set money aside without the creation of a separate account.

The benefit: Customers didn’t have to depend on own mathematical skills or third-party services to budget.

The message: “Your overall experience is important to us”.

The lesson: Find innovative ways to address your customers’ pain points.

Banking is a competitive and traditionally-minded industry, where lots of companies offer similar services and some of the major players have been around for generations. Banks like Monzo managed to break through such a tough market by honing in on tools and features that improve the customer experience. Doing that and effectively addressing your clientele’s pain points can massively help you stay ahead of the curve.

With many people in the UK overspending and the cost of living crisis making it harder for people to stay afloat, Monzo countered the usual bank narrative by offering detailed expense tracking that allows people to have a better insight into where their money is going.

Also, through its saving tools — called “Pots” — Monzo made budgeting quite practical and avoided customers having to develop other systems (or sign up with other services) to do that. This is a great case of catering to customers’ needs.

5. Customer-led development

The action: Allowing customers to vote on new features and test them before official release.

The benefit: Customers get to shape the service in the way that suits their needs.

The message: “We listen to you”.

The lesson: Prompt your customers to give feedback and give clear signs that you’re listening to it.

Building on its community aspect, Monzo asks customers to be contributors to its services in many ways. By publicising its product roadmap, it allows users to see what developments are in the pipeline and even for them to vote on which ones they’d rather have done first.

Through the Monzo Labs feature, accessible through the app, it lets customers test upcoming features, actively discussing with them what works, what doesn’t, and what should be actioned. From a user standpoint, few things signal that they’re being heard more than this, which understandably leads to a high customer satisfaction.

6. Clear communications

The action: Cutting the jargon in official communications and being open about what’s happening in the company.

The benefit: Customers can better understand developments as well as issues and feel in the loop.

The message: “We want to keep you informed”.

The lesson: Be as transparent with your customers as possible to amp up empathy with your brand.

Besides making its product roadmap public, Monzo keeps a blog in which it gives updates on the company and some of its future plans. It also runs an account on X (@MonzoStatus), in which it provides real-time information on the functionality of its services.

This provides customers with a considerable amount of insight on the company and raises their level of trust and confidence in it. By being open about its issues and by informing customers of the next steps it wants to take, Monzo courts users’ empathy for the brand.

You can also implement this culture of transparency in your company to yield similar results. If you have a website, keep a blog and make sure it’s written in plain English, free of corporate jargon. If you run a small business that doesn’t have an online presence, you can try using a notice board to make general announcements and give important information to your clientele.

What do Monzo’s customers’ say?

To back up our findings, we interviewed Monzo users to find out what they liked about the bank. Understandably, many of the points we raised featured in the responses we got.

Customer's Take

I initially signed up because my friends convinced me it is better to use abroad. However, since then, I find the most value from it being that I can create Pots with goals to help me save for things (usually holidays). I also love the ease of sending and receiving money through it, especially the way I can send a link requesting money to people who don't have Monzo. (sic)

Shyla Sarma, Senior CRM Executive
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Customer's Take

I signed up because it makes it so much easier to shop when I'm abroad. I take euros of course but a back-up is always nice and the exchange rate is good with no hidden fees! You can also make free cash withdrawals (up to a certain amount) which helps. The features I like are how quickly it was to set up, the ease of using my card in Europe (I have yet to test it outside of Europe), the free cash withdrawals and in general how easy the app is to navigate. You can also categorise what you're spending money on, which is useful to budget! (sic)

Sonakshi Khosla, Sub-Editor
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Monzo's customer service: key takeaways

By focusing on customer satisfaction, Monzo broke through a competitive market and amassed a legion of loyal customers — whose number is still growing — in record time.

Monzo’s industry-leading customer satisfaction prowess comes down to its accessibility to customers. Largely, they’re built upon transparent communication and a sense of community. The bank’s strategy gave it, beyond the results that showed up on the CMA survey, a large number of customers that not only are happy, but actively promote the company through word-of-mouth.

The concept of accessibility and what a good service is will vary widely across industries, but when developing your customer service strategy, it’s worth paying attention to the messages Monzo’s strategy sends.

Ultimately, your business’ customer satisfaction will ultimately be a response — the first move is yours. If your move involves a solid focus on customer satisfaction, your company can achieve exponential growth, as well as levels of brand awareness and user loyalty that money simply can’t buy.

Written by:
Lucas Pistilli author headshot photo
Lucas is a Brazilian-born journalist and Expert Market’s go-to writer for all things EPOS systems, merchant accounts, and franking machines. Having covered business, politics and technology for many years, he’s driven by his passion for the written word and his goal to help people make well-informed decisions.