Building the foundations for omnichannel CX: Beyond Bank's story

Customer relationship management talks through the technology transformation of the mutual bank's contact centre and how he balanced customer and employee needs to build better CX results

An omnichannel approach to customer experience, rather than a multi-channel one that simply provides extra channel choice, is key to Beyond Bank’s ongoing CX proposition.

“It is an important distinction: A lot of people say omnichannel, but what they mean is they have all these channels available,” Beyond Bank national customer relationship manager, Brent Alexander, told CMO. “Our approach is to build omnichannel experience so when you talk to someone in the branch, on video or in the Web channel, you get the same level of service and can do the same things.”  

The mutual bank is now three years into overhauling its contact centre and foundation technologies, a move aimed at creating the ability to action customer feedback and respond to the good, bad and ugly of experience across service and support interactions.

The rollout of the Genesys Cloud platform came after two years surveying the market and talking to other companies about how they were tackling the increasingly complex nature of customer experience in a digital-first world. Beyond Bank engaged its partners, Telstra and Optus, along with Genesys integration partner, QPC, to find a solution.

“We had spent almost nothing on our former system and it hadn’t been upgraded in 15 years,” Alexander told CMO during a recent interview at the Genesys G-Summit event in Sydney. “For the most part, it was a queue of first in, first out, and there were no smarts or things that would assist the customer experience. We wanted to find a system that allowed us to be competitive in the market. We also had a lot of feedback from our customers on what they did and didn’t like. At the time, we didn’t have the ability to act on that feedback.”

Alexander’s team built a business case based on removing the top two to three things customers had told Beyond Bank were pain points. But it was equally important to address the big frustrations from an employee perspective.

“The experience you give your employees is the experience that gets translated when you’re talking to customers. If they are frustrated, all the training in the world won’t stop that boiling over,” Alexander said. “We looked at what we could do to make this more seamless for our staff, and what we could give them that they didn’t previously have. This was firstly to make the change management process easier, but also to make sure the workflow improved.”

Read more: 7 ways to build employee engagement and capability in a CX transformation

Engaging employees for CX success

Low-hanging fruit

One of the low hanging CX items for Beyond Bank was to offer a call back service. This was a direct response to the fact that customers found the identification process is too long and complicated, and that wait times were horrendous.

“Research shows generally customer are happy to wait about 5 minutes; if you wait any longer, regardless of what the outcome is, you’re annoyed,” Alexander explained. “Customers are quite happy to get a call back on their own terms, but they don’t want to be waiting on the line with us.

“We knew CX would get better if we removed the frustration of having to wait. I’d say 80 per cent of complaints were wait time and identification.

“So we used the Genesys software to say if the wait time is over four-and-a-half-minutes, offer a call back. Immediately, that moved our customer satisfaction scores from 89 per cent to 92 per cent within a month.”

While it couldn’t completely change the identification process given the onerous verification required in banking, Beyond Bank did work with QPC and Genesys to make sure customers who called through to its IVR had the opportunity to put in their member number and passcode in a secure way.

“When the staff member picked it up, on the CRM the customer screen and ID was open, verified they’d passed. That removed about 17 per cent of our average handling time, almost instantly,” Alexander said. “We still needed to add additional checks, but it went from multiple minutes to 30 seconds. That’s what we based some of the business case ROI around.”  

Integration of systems has been a key part of the process, and Beyond Bank used AppFoundry partner, Avtex, to connect the dots between the Genesys platform and Microsoft Dynamics. Now, instead of having multiple windows, staff work out of one increasingly intelligent window.

“We then spent a lot of time on refining CX and customer services through things like quality management, which had been spreadsheet-based and was moved into the Genesys platform,” Alexander continued.  

In addition, the organisation enabled Genesys Cloud’s skills-based routing capability for calls to be directed to the most closely matched and skilled agent available. This resulted in faster resolution of customer issues. Using a 5-star rating methodology to gather customer feedback, Beyond Bank has received more 5-star ratings than 4-star ratings, resulting in 25 per cent higher CSAT scores. Overall, Beyond Bank handles more than 350,000 customer interactions annually. 

Reallocating extra capacity to strengthening customer relationships also saw additional services, such as onboarding calls to create deeper relationships with broker customers within 48 hours of customers being approved for loans. Another team that’s chalked up improvement is the insurance team, which resells Allianz products.

“We have lifted conversion from 49-50 per cent range when someone gets a quote, to 55-58 per cent, all through a quality program,” Alexander said.

Then there’s flexibility for the workforce during the pandemic. Beyond Bank had rolled out the solution just prior to Covid’s arrival on Australian shores, allowing it to shift call centre agents to remote working promptly.

“I remember saying in five years I want teams to work from home on an occasional basis; overnight, we had to do it in a week,” Alexander said. “The cloud platform allowed us to do that; with the on-premise solution, we would have been stuck and have put ourselves at higher risk.

“We have spent the last 18 months working out on what the new normal looks like in terms of how staff connect in and out the office. We still think there is a place for connection in the office, but this opens up flexibility and adds to the employee proposition for potential new stuff in a tough employee market.”

Finding the differentiation points

For Alexander, the next tranche of work is about using technology and operational capabilities as a differentiator to deliver further return on investment, as well as build on customer experience wins.

“ID is still a problem for us – the changes so far have removed some friction points. But with biometrics it’s even easier. The expectation is we can provide these services and we have engaged a strategic program with the business, called the integrated delivery model, which looks not just at the contact centre but what does customer contact look like right across the organisation,” Alexander said.

“We don’t want to compete with the neobanks on digital adoption, and we still value the customers that don’t want to use these channels. In that context, we focus efforts on education and awareness and we transition them as they’re aware and able, at the same time as valuing them for coming and chatting to us in a branch. Like any organisation, however, we have taken digital transformation very seriously.”

A big area of investment has been the Beyond Bank mobile app, which in the mutual bank space has won app of the year for the last six years.

“Our ambition is to be the best banking app in all of banking to help that adoption. You do have to be inclusive – yes, you have to account for the older generation, but the next set of customers are coming up,” Alexander said. “It’s not as simple as it was when I grew up, when you banked with X bank because your mum and dad did or because you got a Dolomite account in school. The customer is more discerning.”  

With Open Banking expected to make it even easier for customers to switch banks, there is also a clear need for organisations like Beyond Bank to find a way to better build customer rapport.

“Sometimes it’s a rush to turn backing into a commodity. It’s easy to change and yes you can do it all online, but the risk there is you then have a transient customer base and there’s no loyalty and trust,” Alexander said. “We want to make sure we build those strong relationships with customers and we have tailored our approach around that. We want to be a trusted advisor and for them to come to us when they need to and feel confident they can explore their financial needs while we’re providing the other things to complete the package.”  

Through all of this, customer satisfaction has been the holy grail of measurement for Beyond Bank. For employees, the number one thing Alexander recognises as key to satisfaction is simplification.

“As an organisation, we say we work for and with our customers and for and with our staff. We believe banking can change someone’s life – it has a big impact. Our staff buy into that and it’s at the core of everything we do. That is what gives them satisfaction,” Alexander said.

Helping realise these plans is a very structured internal approach to ensure Beyond Bank factors in the whole picture, rather than the contact centre silo or IT silo. According to Alexander, cross-functional collaboration is helping teams work together on how to invest and where things can be improved internally. “We’re at a point where the collaboration is working well and we have set the foundations to take advantage of that to better improve the experience for customers.”

Beyond Bank’s marketing team is a key stakeholder in these conversations. “I think I have the closest relationship with them [marketing] out of anyone bar the IT team because messaging and engagement is vital. It’s about being genuine to who we are,” Alexander said.

“The conversations we have are equal to the rest of the interactions across the organisation. And anything that happens to the business impacts our contact centre and the messaging that goes out.

“So we spend a lot of time creating a collaborative environment in the organisation to make sure a message doesn’t go out before our teams know what the message is, that we answer their questions and have clear responses. Interest rate rises are a classic example – every time we have a rise, we have to contact our customers and tell them the new rate, payments and things they need to do. Before that goes out, we have sessions across our CX network to share the letter, talk through the questions we’re anticipating, and ensure people know what to share and how to direct people on calls, as well as deflect calls for self-service purposes if people would like to do that. And to make sure the brand message is consistent once the calls start.”

Next cabs off the rank

As to the technology capabilities next on the priority list, Alexander highlighted chatbots, automation and simplification through authentication as key ones. He stressed the intertwined nature of these priorities.

“Our view is it needs to be authenticated – if a chatbot can’t deal with more complex questions, what we don’t want is the customer then go to an agent, then have to say sorry we can’t help you because you have to call up or we need to send a secure email that takes 24 hours to get action. It’s not meeting the customer where they would like to transact,” he said. “So we’re working through what that looks like, who we partner with the do that.

“The other part is the verification to make that easier, which again ties to making it easier for someone to interact across all of our channels so we can help them on the spot.”  

Nominations for the CMO50 2022 list of Australia's most innovative and effective marketing leaders are closing on 26 August 2022! Don't miss this opportunity to be recognised among the best marketers this country has to offer as well as celebrate your team's achievements get your questionnaire completed now:

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here.  

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page     


Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts



CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...


The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Great Sharing thoughts.It is really helps to define marketing strategies. After all good digital marketing plan leads to brand awareness...

Paul F

Driving digital marketing effectiveness

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in