The second wave of concierge

Alex Cheatle, CEO of Ten Group, discusses his firm’s technology-enabled lifestyle, travel platform and concierge services with Douglas Blakey. It is a premium service already on offer to customers of a growing number of leading banks including Coutts, Investec, Barclays, OCBC and HSBC

Alex Cheatle, CEO of Ten Group, discusses his firm’s technology-enabled lifestyle, travel platform and concierge services with Douglas Blakey. It is a premium service already on offer to customers of a growing number of leading banks including Coutts, Investec, Barclays, OCBC and HSBC

Cheatle has a simple but persuasive pitch to retail and private bankers.

“Would you like to deliver services to your most premium customers that will allow you to increase retention rates, increase acquisition rates and grow clients’ engagement overall with your bank?

“We can prove that we do that.”

It may be simple – but it has resulted in Ten Group being successful with 28 out of its last 32 pitches to financial institutions.

Not many service providers or tech firms can boast such a successful tendering track record.

Off the back of that kind of hit rate, backed up by revenue growth (in 2015 revenue of £20m; 2016: £24.3m and 2017: £33.2m) Ten Group listed successfully in late 2017 on London’s AIM market.

Ten is no new kid on the block having been launched by Cheatle 20 years ago but is coming to the fore on the back of impressive results and a stellar client list.

Looking back, Cheatle says that concierge and related services have had an interesting history.

“We are now witnessing the second wave of concierge. In the early days, it was little more than a tick box indicator for banks.”

Banks wanting to repeat the success of the American Express Centurion card would offer something that looked premium, little more than a signifier and dismissed by Cheatle as “a marketing thing.”

“We have taken concierge to being a strategic tool. The top end of retail banking is crucial for us and represents the majority of our business.”

Clients include NatWest Black and Barclays Premium in the UK, OCBC, Itau as well as private banks such as Coutts.

Emerging markets are especially promising with exciting growth in China, Japan and South East Asia. In latin America, Ten Group employed fewer than 50 staff six months ago; today that number has risen to over 200.

“Our net promoter score has gone through the roof and that directly impacts the NPS of the retail or private bank-and impacts on peoples intention to stay with their bank.”

“Our services have got to the point where members get access to the world’s best restaurants; we can get tables all over world. In London alone, we hold hundreds of held tables at the top restaurants. Members of the public calling the same restaurants will be told there is no table available for the next three months.”

“Tickets at face value for Adele or Coldplay or the Rollijg Stones-not a problem. Everyone else has to rely on the secondary market.

“On hotel pricing, we can beat Expedia; on flights we can offer better pricing than is available on the airlines own websites.”

In the early days of concierge, the benefits would be attached to a single product, generally the credit card.

Today, banking clients of Ten tend to attach the benefits to the entire banking relationship so benefits are felt across the whole banking and wealth management proposition.

“We are offering genuine value add – real value that drives people to love their bank,” concludes Cheatle.

Ten helps Coutts lead the way with Loyalty and Benefits

Ten has been working with Coutts since 2006 when it was brought on board as an added benefit to its card programme, Coutts World. Following the success of the initial roll-out of the programme and the positive feedback from members, Coutts re-branded its Silk Card in 2013. At the end of 2016, Coutts took the decision to focus solely on concierge and the Thank You From Coutts rewards programme as benefits of the card.

The Approach:

To engage Coutts highly valued clients, Ten runs a proactive concierge programme to help members with everything from personal and business travel, and tickets to the most popular events, through to tables at the most in-demand restaurants.

As part of the service, Ten offers bespoke events and benefits to members, such as complimentary Charlotte Tilbury makeovers, access to Selfridges and Mulberry presales, and preferential rates on top retailers, as well as invitations to events such as flower arranging at Claridge’s.

Clients can also earn rewards based on their card spend through the Thank You From Coutts programme, with rewards ranging from fine dining at top restaurants to the latest gadgets – the majority of which are procured and fulfilled by Ten.

To ensure a personalised service, Ten uses targeted CRMs based on members’ location and interests to offer services and updates they know they’ll want to hear about.

Ten also shares regular insights with Coutts into trends and feedback to help its Private Bankers build better relationships with their clients.

Finally, Ten offered Coutts first access to its proprietary digital platform, which saw Coutts add online concierge to its offering in 2015, setting its service apart from competitors and resulting in receiving industry accolades for its Loyalty and Benefits programme.

The Result:

  • High member satisfaction, with Coutts Concierge’s NPS score having increased by 25 points to +74 in March 2018 since its benchmark monthly NPS result
  • In 2006, Ten was managing around 1,500 requests per month, with the service available to less than half the Coutts clients Ten serves now. This has now increased to almost 10,000 requests a month.
  • In 2017, Ten successfully completed more than 100,000 requests for Coutts on behalf of 10,000 Coutts clients – a 30% increase on 2016.
  • Almost 30% of Coutts clients have now activated their online account, resulting in more than 26,000 online requests throughout 2017 alone.