Table of Contents
The Key in Business Is to Think About the Customer
In 2022, the largest bank in Russia divided all its services into two units: B2B and B2C. Kirill Tsarev, the First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, took the reins of the personal banking services at Sber. When talking about plans, the executive explains that the primary goal of introducing and improving new services is to increase client loyalty. Customer trust is the most valuable asset for Sberbank.
- Participating in a start-up as a student: first steps in business
- Career path at Sberbank
- Sber’s prospects: customer orientation
Participating in a Start-Up as a Student: First Steps in Business
First leasing, then Sberbank: Kirill Tsarev, whose professional journey is a perfect example of a career built from scratch, has come a long way from a novice businessman to an executive at the largest bank in the country with over 100 million customers. This man has devoted more than twenty years of his life to building innovative services that make the lives of Sber’s customers easier. He entered the business environment when he was still a student.
The future executive was born in Leningrad in 1978. He completed his degree in economics and management at St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University in 2000. By the time he defended his thesis, he was already in charge of a company called Interleasing. The young man was only twenty years old when he got in on the ground floor of the leasing industry in Russia and, having secured investment from the International Bank of St. Petersburg, began to develop this market.
He successfully balanced his business career and studies. After graduating from university, the young man continued to improve his professional skills; he studied at London Business School and got his second law degree.
The 2008 global financial crisis became a serious challenge for the young businessman, but under his management, Interleasing managed to overcome the difficulties. The company was saved and continued to grow, becoming one of the top 20 businesses in the segment. This attracted the attention of Sberbank, and the successful manager was invited to take over the leasing division at one of its affiliated companies.
Career Path at Sberbank
Kirill Tsarev started his career at Sberbank of Russia in 2011. Over the next eight years, he worked on expanding the bank’s leasing services and elevated this part of the business to a leading position in the industry. He focused on simplifying the leasing process to make it as convenient for entrepreneurs as possible. The bank introduced an online application form and shortened the list of the documents a customer had to submit. The service became very popular among the large, medium-sized and small businesses. The bank’s leasing branch began to finance the purchase of any equipment and transport, including ships and aircraft.
The year 2018 marked another milestone in Kirill Tsarev’s career when he took over the Customer Service Department for the machine-building industry at Sberbank and assumed the duties of vice president. After 2 years, he became a senior vice president and set his focus on supervising the Retail Business unit, that is, on developing services for the largest group of customers in Russia.
The heavy workload doesn’t leave the executive much free time. He says that the support of his family gives him the strength to work hard. Anna Tsareva, Kirill Tsarev’s wife, took over the management of several companies her husband created; their son Timur is planning to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Sber’s Prospects: Customer Orientation
Today, the First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board is mainly focused on developing Sber as a fintech company with tens of millions of users. After the bank’s organizational structure was changed, the executive took charge of the В2С unit. The extensive work in this unit involves using high technologies in customer service. Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly crucial for business, and Sber is constantly improving its system of virtual assistants.
“Our data analysis consistently shows that customers appreciate our approach, and there is nothing more important to us than the loyalty of our customers.”
The Deputy Chairman explains that the latest software is meant to simplify the process of receiving dozens of services — from getting a mortgage to ordering groceries — thus making people’s lives easier and helping them save time.
“Sber’s growth requires extensive work involving the use of high technologies in customer service.”
Developing a customer-focused culture is the alpha and omega of Sber’s growth strategy. According to the executive, a customer’s loyalty is much more important than momentary gain.