2014 was an interesting year for our personal and small business bank. We’ve faced some difficult times, but we’ve also started along the road to becoming the number one bank for trust and advocacy by 2020.
There’s no denying that we’ve had some bumps along the way, but the bumps we’ve had we’ve tackled head on. Over the past few years we have seen our customers adapting to new technologies, we’ve seen them steadily move away from doing all of their basic transactions in branch to coming in when they want to have the bigger conversations with us, such as taking out a mortgage. We’ve had to take difficult decisions to close some of our branches as we adapt to these changes in our customers’ needs.
The change we’ve seen doesn’t mean that branches cease to be the cornerstone of our service to customers; in fact they remain very important. That’s why when we’re investing in our business, we’re not just investing in our digital services, but in refurbishing our branches; we’ve been opening up our counters to make our branches more welcoming and introducing more self service options.
We’ve been making other improvements this year too. We are becoming obsessed with customer service. It’s now at the heart of everything that we do. We’re stepping up for our customers and this starts at home; with us. We’re actively moving away from the model of a ‘financial supermarket’, delivering multiple versions of every product for a whole range of prices and we’re moving towards being something more like a ‘financial services doctor’.
This means we’re focusing less and less on price promotions and more and more on what’s in the best interests of the customer. Making our customer service exceptional every time is a challenge, but we’re working hard at it.
Our obsession with customer service doesn’t stop at our front door though. In the last six months alone we’ve taken a stand against unfair payday loan broker fees resulting in the FCA clamping down on the practice. We’ve also expressed our concern over a number of ‘free trial’ scams that are affecting our customers which has resulted in over 1000 of these merchants being shut down. We’re committed to making sure our customers have the best possible banking experience – even if that means standing up for their rights in other fields.
2014 has been a good year for progress. With five years to go before our deadline of being number one for trust and advocacy I’ve never been more confident that we’ll get there.