Over the past few months, digital banking “came into its own,” says Charity Wood, Nationwide Building Society’s Head of Digital Skills & Knowledge. Horizn spoke with Wood about shaping the digital journey, the importance of self-service to Nationwide members and how to give frontline staff the power of digital expertise at their fingertips.
How has COVID changed the way Nationwide thinks about digital banking?
Members have really benefited from having the convenience and the control and independence that digital has brought. Early on, we saw significant demand in registration for our digital channels. Between March and April, where we were really starting to feel the impact of COVID on our members, we were seeing an 89% uplift in members registering for our digital services.
“We started to see our colleagues share more digital demos with our members … and using those demos to then become digitally active.”
And this is where being able to support members digitally really came into its own. We started to see our colleagues share more digital demos with our members. And what we started to see was more of those members clicking through and using those demos to then become digitally active. What digital became was a solution to a real-life problem that people were facing.
How is Nationwide thinking about its members in this new world?
Listening to our members’ needs and responding with the right solutions to support them has been key to what we’ve done. What we recognized was that there’s no real one-size-fits-all. When you talk about segmentation, there’s often a specific problem that some people are looking to solve. And there are others who, when they start on that digital journey, recognize that there are features, functionality, capability that they didn’t even know existed.
What we’ve been able to do, supported through the demos, is help people recognize other options — like when they’ve got to pay a new person, or when they’ve got to pay a standing order. They may need to do that digitally [now], because they haven’t been able to get into one of our branches or contact centers.
What’s been the impact on your members?
If you are digitally active, we see that our members are 35% less likely to go overdrawn. It’s helping people achieve their goals. And we’ve been able to provide support in different ways depending on different needs. It’s about continuing to listen to members and recognizing that self-service is a choice through multiple channels. And this is where the tool comes into its own.
“We see that our digitally active members are 35% less likely to go overdrawn.”
With digital banking now an expectation, the frontline needs immediate access to practical how-to knowledge. How have you handled that need for complex digital expertise at their fingertips?
The way we’re asking our colleagues to work is different, as member expectations are evolving. Our colleagues want to know more about how they can help members help themselves. It’s about being able to pass on and share knowledge to others. Colleagues are spending time upskilling themselves to give them the confidence to then be able to have the relevant conversation with members to help solve their problems.
“Our colleagues want to know more about how they can help members help themselves. It’s about being able to pass on and share knowledge to others.”
We’ve got a real opportunity to reshape how our colleagues work. It’s about giving them the right tools in their kit bag to have those initial conversations around digital and the opportunity that digital brings. Being able to provide a demo gives the safety and the space for colleagues and members to play and familiarize themselves before actually going in and doing it for themselves. It has added huge value.
It’s a customer-first digital future, and we know that change can happen in an instant.
It’s about having the ability to use data in a way that helps our members and colleagues have those conversations. So proactive engagement’s really key. We’re already thinking about what we’ve learned from the experience so far and where we can start to proactively engage with members, particularly now as we’re playing into different messages that are coming through is to how we can support members and colleagues looking for the motivation around digital.
“A demo gives the safety and the space for colleagues and members to play and familiarize themselves before actually going in and doing it for themselves.”
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. Watch Video
Financial IT speaks with Horizn and Nationwide
Discussing front-line colleagues and members becoming mobile active.