Holly Pontisso, Vice President of Customer Experience at Scotiabank, credits the bank’s digital growth over the past few months to three things: its step-by-step tutorials, self-serve resources and a personal touch. Horizn spoke with Pontisso about the present and future state of digital banking and the importance of human connection in a digital world.
How has COVID changed the way Scotia thinks about digital?
It’s been incredibly customer-focused, incredibly fast-paced. We’ve really tried to come together as a team to deliver for our customers. It’s been a busy time, but a great time, and great learning for all of us on how to enable digital banking for our customers.
“[Our focus has been on] … providing structured learning and providing incentives and support to show our customers how to do those online demos.”
We’ve been focused on the journey of the contact centre advisor, of the financial advisor and our frontline teams in the branches, on how they talk a customer through how to do a transaction online. And the way we get them to where we need them to be has been through our Horizn portal, of course, through education and being systematic in how we’re launching the demos. We have this new wave of people that are digital banking. So [our focus has been on] managing the dialogue on our community boards to make sure we’re answering all their questions, providing structured learning, and providing incentives and support to show our customers how to do those online demos.
You responded with learning and training in a very agile manner.
It was because we were watching what was happening in digital banking. There was this new wave of customers that were coming in that didn’t bank with us digitally before. So we had to really dive deep into what the needs of this customer were, how we could educate both our frontline teams on supporting them and how we could educate our customers on self-serve. And it was a big learning process. We didn’t come out of the gate with everything perfect. We were definitely watching, we were agile
“We had to really dive deep into what the needs of this customer were, how we could educate both our frontline teams on supporting them and how we could educate our customers on self-serve.”
Tell us about this amazing program that you launched called Bank Your Way.
We knew that customers learned in different ways. We have some customers that are great at self-serve; some customers that really want to hear someone explain it to them. I actually was sitting at my kitchen table, like I am today, with my husband filming these videos just to make sure we were providing a lot of different ways for our customers to learn. And we brought these together in Bank Your Way, which is a centralized place on scotiabank.com, where we provide different learning options for our customers to bank digitally.
“We knew that customers learned in different ways. We have some customers that are great at self-serve; some customers that really want to hear someone explain it to them.”
We were a bit scrappy in the beginning, doing whatever it took to support our customers because we didn’t want customers coming into our branches, even though we kept them open. We wanted them to feel comfortable banking online. So even if it meant keeping my kids upstairs locked in their rooms so my husband and I had a little bit of quiet time, so my husband could film the videos, we did what it took to make it work. It was fun.
Watch as Holly shares tips with Scotiabank customers and uses the Horizn platform to teach digital banking basics.
And that was all based on customer feedback. We knew that one of the reasons customers were afraid to take that first step was because they didn’t know how to start. So having a face behind digital was helpful for them to feel more comfortable and confident, and then having step-by-step instructions in the background and being able go to Bank Your Way and practice themselves. I really think it was those three things together that led to this significant growth and adoption that we had over that period.
What do you think the future might hold?
I think the role of digital banking is going to evolve. As we move forward, we’re looking more and more at how digital banking supports the experience in-branch, which is a big area of focus for us. And how do we bring advice into digital banking? As we look forward, these are the key themes that we’re thinking about for digital banking.
And again, we touched on the human side of digital banking, and we’re seeing this more and more. During the pandemic, we still had people coming into our branches and asking for advice and help. They were going through so many tough times, through the financial [hardship], through the quarantine and the pandemic. People wanted to come in and speak with someone. And that is a great use of their time in the branches, to have that human connection, someone who understands what they’re going through and can help them build a financial plan to get through it. And they were using digital for transactions and getting their banking done at home.
I think what we’re going to see in the future, and what we’re working on, is how do these things come together? How do we provide better advice in digital for customers that want to self-serve? How do we connect our advisors to our customers via digital banking? All of these themes, of the human interaction and the crossover with digital, those are something that we’re really focused on as a bank.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. Watch Video
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