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Bankwest Perth

Bankwest transforms customer experience with smart self-serve solution

You want to buy a house, take out a small business loan or invest some savings; the first hurdle is to arrange an appointment with the bank.

Bankwest believes that hurdle should be as small and simple to overcome as possible, and has rolled out a self-serve appointment booking system through Microsoft Dynamics 365 to streamline the process. The system has helped to maintain its focus on simple and friendly customer service through the pandemic, and enhanced the bank’s understanding of customers’ changing needs and expectations.

The online appointment system asks customers to select what sort of services they are seeking, then displays to the customer the times, types and location (phone appointment or face to face in a local branch) available for appointments.

Once a selection is made, the appointment is booked, the calendar of whichever suitably qualified Bankwest employee will host the meeting is updated, and an SMS message is sent to the customer confirming the appointment.

It’s one of a number of initiatives that has prompted a significant improvement in customer satisfaction metrics – and has also helped the bank to continue to meet customer needs during the pandemic.

The system has allowed Bankwest to offer phone appointment meetings only to customers who live in lockdown states, in order to remain compliant with local restrictions – and offer those customers living in places where things are slowly returning to normal the option of either online, phone or face to face meetings.

The automated appointment booking system is currently available for Bankwest retail and small business customers and, built on Dynamics 365, it’s a key element in the realisation of the bank’s vision to deliver brilliant customer experiences every day. It’s also delivering colleagues a much finer understanding of what customers want and where they are on their journey toward financial wellbeing.

We see the opportunities going forward to create more visibility and transparency on the customer journey. The system puts the power in the customer’s hands, in terms of when, where and how they want to interact with us. – Nick Mittas, Bankwest Executive Manager Distribution Operations

Mittas says the deeper understanding about what a customer needs also allows Bankwest to schedule appointments of appropriate length with the right team member in order to drive meaningful conversations and useful outcomes for our customers.

“This has been especially important during the pandemic, when the wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities has been our number one priority.”

The self-serve system has helped reduce the burden on Bankwest’s call centre. With customers able to book appointments themselves, it has eased call volumes during a period where customers are wanting to connect more than ever. This is one of many initiatives that has helped contribute to a 10-15 point increase in net promoter score.

Bankwest partnered with Microsoft partner, Insight as the implementation partner to design and build the appointment booking system. From pilot design to a full-production-ready solution, Insight brought expertise in technical integration and user experience design to deliver the solution that leverages Microsoft Dynamics 365, Office 365 and Power Platform.

Together they provide a comprehensive set of natively integrated components such as portals, scheduling, workflow, calendaring and reporting which enables Bankwest to create and maintain digital capabilities with high agility.

It’s an approach that resonates strongly for Mike Laytham, General Manager, Technology & Transformation, who says: “The whole Microsoft integrated ecosystem is really quite seamless. And that’s usually where we see a lot of complexity, where we’re having to change things to integrate.

“I’m trying to drive a plug and play architecture of modular building blocks that you can swap in, swap out, change quietly. “

Bankwest’s decision to implement the new system is driven by its guiding vision and ‘Bank Less’ philosophy, as Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian explains: “Our vision is to deliver brilliant customer experiences every day and we aim to achieve this by helping customers to ‘Bank Less’. Essentially, this means being there for customers when they need us, and getting out of the way when they don’t, with simple, friendly services that deliver safety, security and value for money, with the ultimate aim of improving customers’ financial wellbeing.

The automated appointment system is part of a broader digital transformation agenda at Bankwest which has seen it embrace a DevOps approach.

That has ensured Bankwest was able to rapidly update the appointment booking system to account for COVID-19 – for example, determining which customers would be offered phone meetings only based on their location and due to the pandemic regulations that were in play at any given time.

According to Laytham, the move to DevOps also means that the bank’s software update release times have been accelerated from a typical 7-8 days down to 16 hours in some cases. It represents a 65 per cent reduction in Bankwest’s lead time to change, while productivity has increased by more than 25 per cent.

That velocity and agility is important because Bankwest’s digital strategy hinges on ensuring people can be productive anytime, anywhere on any device – with security surrounding the whole process.

With that in mind the bank has standardised on Microsoft Surface devices and Windows 10. Again, it’s a strategy that has worked well for the bank in the COVID-19 era as many of its people transitioned to home-based working. Bankwest has long offered flexible workplace policies designed to support more diversity and inclusion in the workforce; COVID-19 just ratchetted that flexibility up a notch with the technology platform sailing through with flying colours.

With a single device to manage, Bankwest security is also improved thanks to automatic notifications from Microsoft about any required updates or patches. The bank has also deployed Azure Sentinel to further lift its security posture – and is now instantly alerted to any security issues before they have a chance to become a bigger problem. This helps to ensure systems operate reliably and data is properly secured, which also provides Bankwest with peace of mind about meeting changing customer needs and community expectations.