Westpac New Zealand’s flagship digital banking platform has seen more than 80 per cent of its customers take up the platform since launching in February.
For a service geared at redefining the way customers bank using mobile devices in Australasia, Westpac One is deceptively simple.
Westpac New Zealand’s flagship mobile and internet banking platform has seen more than 80 per cent of its customers take up the platform since launching in February, together with a 52 per cent increase in digital lending applications across cards, personal loans and home lending.
“A key cornerstone of our digital strategy is to use data in a more meaningful way, particularly customer data,” Westpac New Zealand’s Chief Digital Officer Simon Pomeroy told FST Media.
“The key is how do we provide that in a very visual, easy-to-understand way that drives better insights.”
With a focus on delivering real-time customer insights, Westpac One represents a key pillar in Westpac New Zealand’s digital banking vision. Under Pomeroy’s leadership, digital banking at Westpac New Zealand has seen a significant overhaul with the introduction of Symphony in 2013, a partnership with financial services startup Moven in 2014, and now Westpac One; three key initiatives that have led to Westpac becoming “the leading digital experience bank” in New Zealand in the short space of two years.
Customer experience is crucial
With mobile payments users in Asia Pacific on the rise, 141.4 million individuals in Asia Pacific will use their smartphones for digital banking to make payments this year, according to forecasts by Veriprocess.
Simon Pomeroy is acutely aware of this trend. Having started his career at Westpac New Zealand in March, 2012, as the Head of Customer Experience, the key challenge for Pomeroy has been making banking seamless and simplified for everyday use.
“Our greatest innovation has been putting the customer at the heart and centre of everything we do and then delivering solutions that add real customer value,” he said.
For Pomeroy, the key to Westpac One lies in tapping into the demands of digitally-savvy present day customers by creating a platform that was intuitive and accessible on the go.
“We are still evolving the platform but already we have seen a 30 per cent increase in online usage since we launched Westpac One and the majority of that increase comes on mobile devices through our quick services capability,” Pomeroy said.
“65 per cent of customers who have logged in to online banking over the last two months have used a mobile device – be it a smartphone or a tablet. That is amazing growth and really validates our mobile-first, fully responsive online banking strategy.”
With an integrated platform across smartphones, tablets and desktops, Westpac One has more than 120 services, allowing users to make overseas transfers and apply for everyday banking products anywhere, anytime.
Westpac One’s interface is reminiscent of Facebook’s mobile application, centred around frictionless customer design, with daily banking activities divided into separate tabs. The ‘Timeline’ feature allows Westpac customers to search previous transactions by keywords, view their purchasing history in smart categories and gain insights into regular spending habits. Customers can search and filter payments across all accounts using past, current and future timeframes.
Powered by Moven, Westpac One’s money meter displays real-time spend insights, coordinated by a traffic light colour code scheme of green, amber and red that compares an individual’s current spending with their spending habits in the previous month – all accessible without a user having to login every time.
“This is driving financial awareness for all customers regardless of their affluence level, helping customers become smarter in the way they are spending and saving,” Pomeroy said.
“It fundamentally changes the traditional way of building interaction, relevance and meaning of what your bank is delivering to you. It is about delivering insight which is what our customers are telling us is really important to them.”
Making conversations meaningful
Pomeroy affirms that building Westpac’s customer understanding was made possible by Westpac’s strategy of having meaningful conversations with customers through Symphony – an intelligent, omni-channel communications engine for customer engagement.
“Symphony allows us to be able to have conversations with customers now through all our channels. Our frontline teams can now have a next-best conversation with you based on the data that we can see about your relationship,” Pomeroy said.
“That allows us to extend more than 10 million existing interactions through these channels every year.”
Through Symphony, customers can rate their experience and provide real-time feedback across all devices. By implementing Symphony’s framework in Westpac One, Pomeroy affirmed that Westpac has been able to increase its customer reach and the frequency of feedback with more than 60 per cent of its customers receiving personalised, relevant and timely “next-best integrated conversations” on a daily basis.
According to Pomeroy, Symphony has allowed Westpac New Zealand to speak to more than 90 per cent of its customers over the last year by proactively responding to questions and suggestions.
“Two years ago, we spoke to less than 40 per cent of our customers. With a real-time voice-of-customer program fully integrated with Symphony we can proactively manage customer feedback, resolve issues quickly and use customer sentiment to drive our product development,” he said.
“Symphony has completely transformed the way we speak to our customers across the board.”
Digital investment is key
In a media release by Westpac New Zealand earlier this month, CEO David McLean signalled the bank’s intentions to strengthen digital investment on the back of a positive cash earnings performance, built on margin management and targeted lending and deposit growth.
“We have focused on balanced growth in targeted areas and continue to invest in digital channels and self-serve capability to make it easier and faster for customers to manage their finances,” McLean said.
With 40 per cent of Westpac New Zealand’s lending applications now made online, McLean said the bank’s customer focus will remain a key driver for ongoing investment in digital channels and self-service capability.
Pomeroy echoed these sentiments, affirming that a key focus for Westpac New Zealand will be to make banking “easier, faster and simpler” for both customers and staff.
“Ultimately, we are a service business and so, for us, it is about saying how do we lead this industry by providing the best service to our customers across all of the touchpoints,” Pomeroy said.
“We are concentrating on the things that add real value to customers and freeing up our people to spend as much time as they can building customer relationships. This is resonating really well across the bank and everyone feels empowered in our role in delivering it.”
Defined by disruption
For an industry that has traditionally been slow to embracing technological change and transformation, harnessing the potential of technology through digital remains the key to embracing innovation.
Last month, Westpac New Zealand were awarded the CANSTAR Online Bank of the Year Award for 2015. As part of its research, CANSTAR measured how New Zealand banks are providing services to customers in online channels, as well as examining functionality in online banking through desktop, smartphone and mobile channels.
Pomeroy said the award was a testament to Westpac New Zealand’s commitment to providing a frictionless customer experience by embracing disruption across all touchpoints.
“The biggest opportunity lies with us and we have to embrace disruption in terms of providing more frictionless services to our customers across all of the touchpoints – whether it is in a physical point of presence, remotely such as through the contact centre, using an ATM, or whether it is using online banking,” Pomeroy said.
“We have fundamentally made that step-change and you can look at Westpac One and Symphony as two great examples of how we are now being recognised as delivering New Zealand’s leading digital banking customer experience.”
Simon Pomeroy will be speaking at FST Media’s 9th annual Banking and Financial Services conference in Melbourne, in addition to a distinguished panel of executives across financial services from June 3-4. For more insights and information about the event, register for your complimentary pass here.