RBS watching Fintechs closely to guide its own product design

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez October 18, 2016
RBS was speaking at Adobe Symposium in London this week, where it explained how it is using customer journey data to build new end-to-end experiences.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is monitoring the developments in the Fintech community closely in a bid to

Royal Bank of Scotland
improve its own products and customer journeys, as well as to help convince its compliance and legal teams that consumers are ready for the latest digital technologies.

RBS’ woes since the 2008 financial crisis have been well documented, with the taxpayer having to bail out the bank in order to avoid it collapsing entirely. Since then RBS has been working hard on the customer experience - and we at diginomica have done a few stories on the organisation’s data investments.

This week at Adobe Symposium in London, we got some further insight, where digital journey manager for RBS, Patrick Sheehy, explained how it is using Adobe tools to investigate, plan and redesign customer journeys.

This has been driven by changing customer expectations. Sheehy explained:

Like in any other industry, we’ve seen a large change in how our customer’s behaviour has moved and how their expectations have increased. The first thing that we’ve noticed is that people don’t behave in a predictable way anymore. They start in one channel and they finish in another.

And they expect this to be a completely seamless experience. They expect it to be fast, quick and easy. We call this omni-channel shape-shifting.

Sheehy said that customers don’t want to do their banking at a branch anymore - they want to be able to conduct their financial affairs wherever they are at any given point in time, mostly via the use of their mobile devices. Not only this, but they expect most experiences to be digital and rapid. He said:

We now focus heavily on mobile first. This has been mirrored in a lot of our customer journeys. We’ve probably got about 60 seconds of our customer’s time on mobile before we lose them to the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp. We realise that in that 60 seconds that our customer is going to expect to be able to complete their journey end to end.

The competition

Sheehy added that RBS is keeping a close eye on bourgeoning start-up sector in the financial services industry - commonly known as Fintech - as he believes this can drive RBS to better develop products itself. He said:

[We are] keeping an eye on our forever moving competitive industry. We’ve got all these small Fintechs appearing, which appear almost every single day. They’ve played quite a key part, because they’ve changed our customer’s expectations. They’re growing exponentially, rather than incrementally.

That affects how they bank, what they expect from us as their bank provider. They’re expecting seamless journeys, quick and easy transactions.

These companies are also aiding Sheehy and his team to convince RBS’ legal and compliance teams that ‘new’ doesn’t necessarily mean dangerous. And this is what customers are demanding. He said:

Getting past those (compliance and legal) is about pushing our teams to accept these new technologies. I think that’s one of the reasons we have welcomed the new Fintech companies, they’ve pushed boundaries for our customers every single day. I think it gives our risk and compliance teams a little more confidence that our customers are willing to accept this, and it is safe and secure. I think that’s quite a big part of it.

It’s all about the data

RBS mobile
RBS mobile

Sheehy explained that RBS is using Adobe Analytics to collect data on the customer experience and journey, to help identify pain points that can then drive change internally.

For example, RBS recently noticed that for its under-16s account, which requires an adult signature for verification to activate, had a completion rate of 15%. Using data, RBS identified that this was because a letter was being sent out for the guardian or parent to sign and was never being returned.

RBS changed this process by using Adobe’s e-signature tool and simply sent the parent of the under-16 account holder an email, asking them to sign online via desktop or mobile device. This has boosted the completion rate to over 60% and has reduced the end-to-end journey from 10 to 12 days on average, to under 24 hours.

Sheehy said:

How we identify the issues, is via Adobe Analytics, or any kind of data or insight we have - we allow that to drive the change. Rather than just seeing a new bit of technology and seeing where we could put it.

The second part is collaboration - we work with the start-ups, the Fintechs, companies such as Adobe, to find the best solution. You don’t just choose one and go along with it, you weigh up all the alternatives.

Thirdly is applying an agile methodology. We’ve created and environment in our studios, in our scrum areas, that allows us to build, launch and learn as fast as possible. Being able to do this in two week sprints and being able to get this out as quickly as we can, we learn a lot. The idea being fail fast, but learn even faster.

However, Sheehy was willing to admit that in an organisation like RBS all of this takes time. Particularly when you are dealing with legacy systems that have been serving customers for decades. He said:

I guess one of the key challenges we face is trying to implement all these lovely customer experiences without letting the RBS main systems get in the way of it. They’re not going to disappear over night, they’ve been there a long time.

However, we are continually getting our technology teams, our legal teams, our security teams, to push those boundaries. Which is one of the reasons I welcome these small Fintechs, because they push the boundaries and show what our customers might be willing to accept.