Helping Bank of Ireland transform into a customer-centric organization

Challenging tradition to serve a changing customer base

BOI was faced with a significant problem: their customers no longer thought, acted or worked in the ways that their organisation was accustomed to. In fact, as a 234-year-old company, they were facing the risk of moving even further away from customer needs.

Traditional methods of market research had failed to help BOI understand and design for their customers’ rapidly changing requirements. For example, the API sharing economy, open banking and blockchain have drastically accelerated the rate and pace of change.

To keep ahead, the challenge was to fundamentally alter the way BOI designs and runs its business. Our task was to help BOI’s senior management to understand customer-centricity and service design, what they mean for the business, and to take it forward as an approach to support the bank’s overall business goals.

Bespoke customer-centricity training program

With Bank of Ireland (BOI) we created a bespoke training programme “The Ambassador programme” to address their customer experience challenges, and in doing so helped the organisation shift their paradigm from a purely business focus to real customer-centricity.

Tools and expertise to support a transition to customer-centricity

In Spring 2016, we launched a service design programme titled “Bank of Ireland Experience Design.” Over an 8-month period, 36 design thinkers from the management team were divided into eight cross-functional teams participating in an extensive programme of workshops, mentoring sessions and team assignments which were all designed to address real-life customer experience challenges faced by the bank. These challenges ranged from complex processes like bereavement and customer identification and verification, plus day-to-day tasks like customer payments, through to the simple act of appointment setting.

The Experience Design Programme provided participants with the relevant tools and expertise to support the organisation’s shift towards customer-centricity. Additionally, the programme devised and ran workshops with senior management, which sought to uncover significant obstacles.

Finally, a series of steering committee workshops, in conjunction with the training sessions and hands-on mentoring support, was used to drive the cultural change. This helped ensure continuous, systematic implementation of customer-centricity and the service design approach across Bank of Ireland.

For example, one of the themes explored was bereavement, for which we helped create a redesigned service offering. Every year BOI loses almost 17,000 customers this way. The end-to-end journey for customers, their relatives and executors, was a broken and disjointed experience, requiring multiple touchpoints depending on the number of products held by the deceased. Little recognition was given to the fact that the deceased and their family had been loyal customers for many years. After getting to know customers with recent experience of bereavement, the team created a solution to enable BOI make a better emotional connection with these vulnerable customers. The redesigned outcome is a seamless ‘one-and-done’ process which eliminates frictional elements (e.g. redundant identification and verification requests), replacing them with a personalised, wholly empathetic service that recognises loyalty.

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