How Westpac New Zealand Drives Innovation Through The Customer

How Westpac New Zealand Drives Innovation Through The Customer

There is no doubt digital disruption is here. As customer behaviour is being driven by the adoption of new technologies, businesses are being forced to ‘disrupt’ and innovate to remain relevant in a changing landscape.

Lauren Kelleher
Posted by Lauren Kelleher

Yet while businesses race to evolve their business models through digital improvement, one of the biggest mistakes they are making is not putting the customer at the forefront of business transformation.

According to Simon Pomeroy, chief digital officer at Westpac New Zealand, the key to developing an effective digital strategy is not about the technology, but about the whole end-to-end journey of the customer, and considering how digital fits into their overall experience.

“We hear this word disruption a lot. Most people think disruption is about technology. Well it’s not about technology. Disruption is all about customer experience.

“It’s about thinking about how a customer starts the journey, the journey itself and then how the customer finishes the journey and integrating digital throughout,” he says.

And Simon is a man who knows what it takes when it comes to driving innovation throughout a business. Since taking up the role of chief digital officer at Westpac New Zealand in January 2014, the bank has launched a range of digital initiatives with Pomeroy and his team at the wheel.

This includes signing an agreement with Samsung to work jointly on digital banking innovations, with Samsung giving Westpac early access to its smart devices and being the first bank globally to integrate US banking start-up Moven’s money management tools.

Pomeroy says the evolution of the bank’s digital strategy has continually revolved around creating a personalised and relevant experience for their customers.

“Digitalisation can remove a lot of friction for customers. Banking is and always will be about relationships. So you need to think about the digital process as part of the entire experience,” he explains.

With customer behaviour being driven by the adoption of mobile, tablets and smart technology; Westpac has begun to move towards creating a seamless multi-channel experience in order to reach out to customers on the channels they are active on.

“We’re starting to think about how innovation is going to play a part in the customer experience via digital channels.

We’ve begun thinking about how to create a multi-channel experience in a way that gives our customers the ability to do things faster and easier, but also give them a more immersive educational experience as well,” Pomeroy says.

One channel where Westpac New Zealand is seeing major growth is mobile. Based on results of a survey conducted by the bank in 2013, more than 60 per cent of their customers said they would be using a mobile device to bank over the next three years, with more than 80 per cent saying they would be doing it in five.

“We’ve had an online banking solution for about 14 years. But we’ve had a mobile banking solution for less than two (years), and we’ve got half our online customers now using mobile to bank. That’s a staggering uptake in such a short space of time,” says Pomeroy.

As mobile continues to be the channel of customer choice, Westpac New Zealand has responded to this shift in customer preference by releasing a new online banking platform that’s mobile led and offers a consistent user experience across all devices – smartphone, tablet and desktop. This gives Westpac New Zealand customers full online banking capability through their phone.

According to Pomeroy, developing these new innovative solutions all comes down to thinking about personalising the experience for customers in a far different way then they ever have before.

“It’s really about making it easy for people to go about their everyday banking. At Westpac, we’re re-thinking the whole experience to make sure we can offer customers a seamless world-class experience with everything they do.

People are not looking for the best New Zealand experience – they compare banks with truly global businesses they interact with every day. So banking needs to offer world class and personalised experiences as well,” he says.

Download the rest of the article by Simon Pomeroy here, where he further explores how Westpac NZ is:

– Using data and customer feedback to deliver value
– Partnering with new players to deliver excellent customer experience
– ‘disrupting’ their business to remain relevant in a competitive landscape