As with almost all industries there’s a constant challenge of balancing cost, efficiency and providing high end customer experiences. This challenge has only been increased with the advent of the digital age which has lead to a rapid change in consumers’ demands and indeed expectations. Driven largely by the seamless, digital experiences delivered by the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Amazon are setting the standard for what’s possible in terms of customer experience. And so now not only do our customers want to be able to trust banks to look after their money and their best interests, but they want to be able to do their banking with as little ‘fuss’ as possible. Our customers expect their banking issues and questions to be resolved quickly and to be able to reach us on their terms, when and how they want. And interestingly, this societal change in consumer demands is seen not just amongst our customers but also in our employees’ demands. Today our employees want more flexibility and a better work life balance and as employers we need to respond to that.
Thanks to the transformation Bankwest has undergone to an agile way of working, we are now primed to respond to our customers’ changing demands better than ever before. In fact, leaning on an increased emphasis on data analysis, we are working to even anticipate their needs, ready to respond, design and deliver new products and services. And so, aware our customers expect us to be there 24/7, Bankwest now offers an ‘always-on’ customer service offering meaning whenever the customer needs us we are there to support them. This has meant recruiting a twilight team and additional people to support working overnight to meet customer demand. And of course this support isn’t just limited to over the phone but also via our numerous social media channels and importantly our cross-device, in-app messaging service – a first in Australian banking.
This new service is one of our biggest initiatives in the last year. As said, customer demands are changing in this increasingly digital world and so we have embraced these emerging technologies that are increasingly influencing how customers want to interact with us and worked hard to evolve and improve our digital offering.
Our customers expect their banking issues and questions to be resolved quickly and to be able to reach us on their terms, when and how they want
We listened to customer feedback, considered the way people like to communicate and what their preferred method is and proudly brought in-app messaging to market.
Customers can now log into their Bankwest app and, as they are fully authenticated and secure, can safely message us by effectively sending us a text message via the app. They can then close the app and go about their daily lives and will receive a push notification alerting them when we reply (usually within about 10 to 15 minutes). This saves our customers having to wait on hold to talk to someone and means they can message us at any time from the couch, the bus, the train, a plane or from anywhere else in the world where they have WiFi or a phone signal. They can even log on from a different device – maybe their tablet or desktop computer instead of their phone - and continue the conversation. Whilst phone call volumes to our contact centre haven’t significantly reduced since the launch of in-app messaging, we know we have empowered more customers to be able to contact us on their terms - when and however they want.
Just as we are focused on meeting our customers’ changing needs, we are also aware of the need to address our colleagues’ changing needs and expectations. As a result we’ve invested in technology to support our people to be able to work from home. This helps reduce time when commuting to and from work and gives our people back time in their lives to spend it with family, doing school drop off, getting to the gym, doing a food shop or just an extra hour in bed. Over 20 percent of the Contact Centre workforce has embraced working from home and we continue to work with our people to provide flexibility.
Flexible working has long been a strategic priority for Bankwest and part of our culture and we currently have 73 percent - more than 1800 – of all Bankwest colleagues working flexibly. In fact “yes” is the default response when a colleague requests flexible working and a refusal can only be given when there are strong, extenuating circumstances. This was all started at Bankwest with a pan-business pilot in 2017 which resulted in a 12 percent increase in productivity, an increase in work quality with no reported risk incidents and a 20 percent increase in colleague engagement scores. Bankwest’s contact centre colleagues are incredibly passionate about being able to work 24/7 on the shifts that suit their lifestyle. And having technology that supports working from home has been a positive step with a positive impact on colleague well-being.
As a result of the transformation, Bankwest has undergone and our focus on delivering world-class digital products and services, driven by our customers’ changing demands, Bankwest customers are seeing more and more frictionless experiences across all our channels. They are seeing us make what perhaps used to be the pain-points of dealing with a bank’s customer contact centre much more customer-friendly. And they are able to experience innovative new technology that fundamentally changes the way people use they can interact with us.