BBVA’s Customer-Centric Bank Service Design
BBVA’s Customer-Centric Bank Service Design
The main value of BBVA’s Customer-Centric Bank Service Design is the evolution of the role or the customer in the interaction with the bank. As a consequence, it transforms the job of the employee into the one of a capacity builder, supporting the customer in directly managing through digital interaction the banking operations.
The innovation originally combines skills, digital devices and space lay out. It addresses the main issues today affecting the banking sector, such as efficiency and the required transition to the digital sphere.
The overall presentation is high quality, very clear and well structured.
BBVA’s Customer-Centric Bank Service Design
We helped BBVA, one of the world’s largest banks, create the Customer-Centric Bank — a new multi-channel service model for retail banking that provides customers with the freedom to bank the way they want to and is adaptable to markets across the globe. At its core, this new banking model is ubiquitous, simple, and transparent. The Customer-Centric Bank is built around the idea that banks, like all retailers, should put individual customers’ needs at their center, and should serve those needs equally through all of the channels and touch points that people want to use today.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Enormous technological, cultural and socioeconomic trends are changing society and the global marketplace, and people are changing the way they interact with the institutions around them. Retail banks are caught up in this change and are searching for a way to stay relevant. In the past, retail banks built trust with their customers by promising stability and special expertise — their buildings, people and processes communicated a sense of permanence and competence. As consumers we implicitly understood that the inconvenience and opacity of banking were the necessary counterparts to security and access to experts. But, with new technologies, automation, and the ability to aggregate information on the internet, the fundamental structure of retail banking and its digital and physical footprint was ready for a long overdue rethink. The question was not, “What does the bank of the future look like?” but rather, “How should a bank fits into the lives of it’s customers?” Put more clearly, the problem was: How do we help guide customers to ensure they get the service they need at the right time with the right level of technology and human interaction? To solve this, we needed to understand how the customer uses the bank today as well as understand what their needs would be for tomorrow. This was our team’s point of departure.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We listened to and watched people from around the world: customers and non-customers; rich and poor; in Europe, the Americas and Asia. We studied their current banking experience and we asked them to describe their ideal. We watched how they interacted online when they weren’t banking. Equally importantly, we listened to the unbanked: young people, people in inner-city areas of the developed world, and people in emerging markets. We listened to staff and watched them work. In the case of BBVA, a global bank with a stake in over 20 countries, we discovered additional technical and cultural challenges that needed to be addressed in attempting to create a universal global banking service. Some of these regional differences, opportunities, and challenges include: • High adoption of ATMs in the U.S. vs. Low Adoption of ATMs in Spain and Portugal • The propensity of some cultures to queue, sometimes for no apparent reason • The widespread use of mobile telephones in Latin America and other emerging markets • The anomaly of the Drive-Thru in the U.S. • The rise of internet aggregation in the financial sector (Mint.com, etc.) Through our research, we uncovered different ways that customers and bank staff conspired to get around arcane bank processes, how customers were checking up on their bank and playing different banks off against each other. The insights derived from this research became the foundation for our approach to creating a new BBVA service model.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
After our enthnographic research, we synthesized the role of banking in people’s lives to the two fundamental customer needs that a bank must provide for. A bank must help people to carry out simple, day-to-day transactional tasks, and a bank must help people plan for and take care of their future. We explored and envisioned ways that a bank could serve their customers better using new technology, and building on new ways of connecting with people. The Immersive Service Prototype Once we established this new retail banking vision for BBVA, we then created an immersive banking experience and prototype inside BBVA’s Center of Innovation in Madrid. The prototype was designed to simulate the experience of banking in the year 2020. The goal of the prototype was to test the new banking experience, to solicit improvements and additional ideas from BBVA employees, and to begin the process of socializing the future direction within the company. The prototype simulated a multi-channel experience and included mock-ups of a home, a street, a store, a Latin American bodega, a kiosk, an Easy Bank branch, and a Flagship bank branch. As part of the prototype, tv’s, laptops, branch computers, ATM’s, smart phones, and iPads were connected to a central data base enabling people to experience a complete working system. The system enabled people to begin a process at one touch point, continue it at another, and complete it at a third. The technology allowed customers to bank autonomously, and equally, to get help wherever they were from automatic, remote or in-person advisors. The information that the customer saw was the same as the information that the bank advisor saw. Role-playing enabled us to pressure-test customer and employee interactions. The immersive experience allowed stakeholders to understand the Customer-Centric Bank from the perspective of the customer, the employee, and the bank. The In-Market Pilots in Madrid, Spain The next stage of work involved building an in-market pilot of the Easy Bank and Flagship branches in Madrid, with real employees and real customers. Though this put an incredible strain in terms of developing the physical space and the digital back-end to drive the experience, BBVA and our team strongly believed that these ideas needed to be tested in reality as quickly as possible.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The Customer-Centric Bank is built on the idea of putting an individual customers’ needs at the center, and serving those needs equally through all of the channels and touch points that people want to use today. This new service model is built around ubiquity, simplicity and transparency. It’s convenient, reduces costs and enables each customer to interact with the bank according to their individual needs, while increasing transparency between the customer and the bank. The Customer-Centric Bank service model is also helping customers move to digital transactions, which alleviates waiting in lines and eliminates some of the common mistakes that people make. Based on earlier envisioning and the experience prototype, a new front page for BBVA.es was launched in 2010, and in-market pilot branches were built in Madrid and Santiago, Chile in 2012. The new branches were built at existing branch locations with real employees serving real customers. Immediate results were more on-line applications for some financial products, more self-service in branches, and deeper conversations between customers and advisors at the Easy Bank.6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
In our research, we realized that the bank’s digital platform and business intelligence engine were more consistent and reliable that the “advice” that was being given by human advisors. We also realized that confident, highly-engaged customers often did not trust the recommendations of a banking advisor, believing instead that they were better equipped to make important financial decisions. The biggest changes that this insight precipitated in the Customer-Centric Bank was the elimination of financial advisor desks and teller positions in the branch’s front-of-house, and the parallel creation of a cross-functional staffing model. We determined that the bank’s staff is better suited to helping people feel comfortable with technology, particularly in a context like Spain where ATM adoption is surprising low. As a result, bank staffers are mobile and engage customers wherever support is needed, dealing with a range of digital touch-points and user interfaces. This transformation in the system is brought to life vividly by the circular advisor “pods” in the banks in which customers and advisors share a screen and a new collaborative user experience. We think of these pods as being “customer-owned”. The role of the advisor is switched from being an intermediary, with privileged access to information, to actually providing advice as part of a shared experience. This same support model has also been transferred to the ATMs as well, where human assistants support transactions at the ATM instead of at traditional teller positions.7. How will your project remain economically and operationally sustainable in the long term?
At a fundamental level, retail banking has remained largely unchanged for centuries, even as money has become data and communication has become digital and wireless. Banks are essentially the same as they have always been. Similarly, the service of retail banking has grown by accretion, by the gradual buildup and layering of different ways to access the bank, financial information, and ultimately one’s money. Bank buildings, bankers, digital accounting, ATMs, and mobile banking have been overlaid onto one another without regard for the channels that preceded them. No bank has successfully created a truly universal banking service that leverages the best of each channel and eliminates the overlaps, which create confusion for customers and inefficiency for the bank. In our attempt to solve this problem—effectively stripping away these overlaps and redundancies—our need to effectively manage the trade-offs was one of our biggest challenges. To confront this, we created a series of design principles for the Customer-Centric Bank to help guide our efforts through the design project and implementation. These principles are: 1. Accessible Distribution Network 2. Consistent User Interface 3. Unified and Universal Information 4. Human Understanding 5. Holistic Expertise and Solutions Through iterative prototyping and modeling, we were able to learn how best to manage the various trade-offs that we confronted in the development of the Customer-Centric Bank. For example, in preparation for the implementation of the large multi-channel immersive prototype, we understood that the digital banking platforms that were driving the core experience needed to be designed with a consistent user experience, but this meant bringing new functionalities to some of these touch-points that has not existed previously. This meant bringing more extensive banking options to the point-of-sale and the ATM, while taking certain functions out of the branch. These decisions had side-effects that rippled through the entire service experience, impacting everything from the orientation of banking interfaces to the role of call center support at the ATM. Laddering all of these decisions back to the principles outlined above ensured that we remained true to the initial vision during roll-out, but should also help to guides future decision-making for the bank.