Customer Experience Index (CEI): Banks of Uzbekistan 2023 

Customer Experience Index (CEI): Banks of Uzbekistan 2023 
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Author:Ksenia Konstantinova
Source: Spot

In a recent milestone, Senteo, in partnership with the Marketing Association of Uzbekistan, has concluded an exhaustive three-year research focused on analyzing the quality of customer experience delivery within the banking sector of Uzbekistan and neighboring Central Asian nations. 

Ksenia Konstantinova, Senteo’s Director for Central Asia and the Middle East, has revealed the research findings.

Uzbekistan Banking: Transitioning to Customer-Centric Strategies 

Uzbekistan’s banking system is on the brink of a significant shift from state to private ownership. As part of this transformation there is a crucial focus on improving customer service strategies, marking the beginning of a compelling new phase. 

Senteo, firmly established in the region for the last few years, partnered with the Marketing Association of Uzbekistan to conduct a thorough three-year study on the customer’s perceptions when interacting with banks in Uzbekistan and neighboring Central Asian countries. Known as the Customer Experience Index (CEI), the study rated banks in Tashkent at 3.15 points out of a total score of 5.0, indicating the start of a proactive move towards the adoption of a customer-centric business approach. 

A Shift Towards Privatization 

After decades, banks in Uzbekistan have predominantly been under government ownership. However, recent initiatives have been driving a transition towards privatization, aiming to boost private ownership within the banking industry. These changes have been influenced by economic principles and theories advocated by liberal thinkers like Friedrich von Hayek, who argue that the optimal levels of development are achieved through conditions fostering minimal government intervention and tightened competition, which directly benefit company owners. 

A clear example of this trend is the recent Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the Kazakhstani fintech firm in the United States. During the IPO, shareholders priced their securities at $92 each, resulting in the sale of 11.3 million American depositary shares and generating over $1 billion, surpassing initial expectations which planned to sell only 9 million shares. 

This success has not gone unnoticed across the Central Asian banking community, including neighboring Uzbekistan. Experts attribute’s success to its robust features, particularly its customer-centric approach. The platform not only provides standard banking services but also develops innovative technological solutions such as the payment system Kaspi Pay and the travel booking service Kaspi Travel. Additionally, functions as a “one-stop shop” for government services. This transformation is a remarkable achievement considering Kaspi’s modest beginnings as a traditional bank called “Kaspiysky” before its acquisition by Vyacheslav Kim and Mikhail Lomtadze. 

Inspired by lessons learned from neighboring countries, Uzbekistani authorities emphasize the urgency of reforming the country’s financial industry. These reforms aim not only to propel advancements in banking practices and bolster competition but also to enhance Uzbekistan’s standing in international financial ratings and attract foreign investment. A key step in this endeavor is reducing the government’s stake in the banking sector through privatization. 

Proposed Measures for the Banking System Reform 

The “Strategy for Reforming the Banking System of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2020-2025” outlines several key measures aimed at increasing customer engagement with banking products, with a strong emphasis on customer-centricity:

  • Restructuring the Banking Sector: This involves the gradual privatization of state-controlled banks to inject dynamism and efficiency into the industry.
  • Improving Accessibility and Customer Experience: Improving the accessibility of banking services and elevating overall customer experience through streamlined processes and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Collaborative Bank Transformation Programs: Developing comprehensive transformation programs in partnership with renowned international consulting firms to leverage global best practices.
  • Process Automation: Implementing advanced automation technologies to optimize internal operations and enhance service delivery efficiency.  
  • Expanding Service Offerings and Databases: Broadening the scope of services offered by banks, such as facilitating tax and utility bill payment, and expanding customer databases to cater to diverse needs.
  • Introduction of Service Quality Assessment Systems: Introducing robust systems for assessing the quality of banking services, utilizing metrics like the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to ensure continuous improvement and meet customer expectations.

These measures highlight the importance of enhancing customer experience within the banking sector, a fact underscored by the findings of the study conducted by Senteo and the Marketing Association of Uzbekistan. 

The Leading Customer Experience Index (CEI) Rankings 

Throughout 2023, Senteo experts conducted on-site assessments across 24 banks located in Tashkent, applying Senteo’s methodology to examine the quality of customer-bank interactions within their branches.

Covering a total of 513 visits and spanning across 170 bank branches, the results revealed an average rating of 3.15 points for the quality of interactions between banks and customers. This achievement is particularly noteworthy as it meets the minimum standard expected in developed markets, signaling a significant advancement in customer satisfaction and service excellence. 

Furthermore, in 2023, the average volatility of scores stood at 1.68, suggesting a dynamic landscape where banks are actively, albeit not yet consistently, implementing customer-centric practices. This suggests ample opportunity for further growth and development within the industry.  

The extensive research conducted throughout 2023 has unveiled the top performers in the Customer Experience Index (CEI) ratings: 

Rounding out the top ten were Kapitalbank, Asakabank, Tenge Bank, Ipak Yo’li Banki, and Orient Finans, further affirming their commitment to focusing on customer experience strategies. 

Key Factors in Evaluating Customer Engagement 

The CEI rating, designed to gauge the quality of banks’ interactions with customers within branches, is based on measuring the effectiveness of the five essential elements shaping customer experiences: 

  • Brand 
  • Communications 
  • Environment 
  • Offering 
  • Culture 

An exceptional standout, SQB emerged as the leader in four out of the five elements. Alongside the top five performers in the overall rating, other notable banks receiving high scores included Kapitalbank, Garant Bank, and Asakabank

The research reveals that customers of most banks in Uzbekistan and nearly all Central Asian banks encounter a wide range of experiences. Despite significant advancements in the banking sector, noticeable disparities in experiences persist throughout the day. As the customer base continues to grow, the challenge of maintaining service quality should remain a key priority. Nonetheless, there exists considerable potential for banks to elevate the quality of these interactions. 

“There is always room for improvement in the customer’s experience at the bank branches. And maintaining the quality of the experience is especially crucial: the more often customers experience the expected level of service, the more loyal they become,”

emphasized Senteo’s founder and CEO, Michael Ruckman

According to Michael Ruckman, partners, and experts, continuous and systematic efforts to create excellent customer experiences during visits to bank branches are a highly promising development area for banks aiming to become their customers’ primary bank or the bank of choice for a large number of customers. 

In conclusion, the research of Uzbekistan’s banking landscape reveals a pivotal juncture marked by transitions towards privatization, an increasing emphasis on customer-centric strategies, and a commitment to enhancing overall service quality. The collaborative efforts between Senteo and the Marketing Association of Uzbekistan underscore the importance of aligning banking practices with evolving customer expectations. As the country’s banking sector evolves, the leaders in the Customer Experience Index (CEI) rating serve as examples of effective customer-centric approaches. Moving forward, sustained focus on customer experience enhancement presents an avenue for Uzbekistani banks to not only bolster their competitive position but also foster enduring relationships with their customers, ultimately driving growth and prosperity in the nation’s financial landscape.


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