Helping your customers better through trust

18th Jan 2018

Three years ago, the RBS Executive Committee, under CEO Ross McEwan, decided the bank needed to take a more focused approach to important behaviours like leadership and customer service.

“The bank’s senior leaders recognised that good intentions don’t automatically lead to behaviour change,” Paul Pinder, RBS’s head of performance, explains. “They invested in the proven behaviour change programmes of the Cohen-Brown management company and created the performance team to adapt, deliver and help embed these across RBS.”

Leadership improvements have had a clear impact on employee engagement, which, as research undertaken by The Institute for Customer Service shows, has a direct, positive impact on business performance.

But what has the change in leadership resulted in for RBS customers?

1. Helping customers better

RBS believes that consistent service behaviours and language across the bank will help every employee to focus on the customer and provide great service experiences. “In RBS, our view is that everyone who works here either provides great service to a customer or provides great service to someone who does,” Pinder explains. “So our service behaviours are expected of everyone. We also want to provide predictable service excellence and that means being brilliant at the basics.”

Pinder highlights ‘taking ownership and following-up’ (one of the RBS service behaviours) as an example of what the bank is doing. This aims to regain trust from the bank’s customers.

Trust is foundational to the bank’s relationships with its customers and practical ways to build trust are a feature of the new service programme, says Pinder. “It is is foundational to any relationship and banks are rightly held to high standards by their customers and other stakeholders,” he explains.

2. Supporting customers

Trust is easier to lose than it is to regain. Improving the quality and consistency of service behaviours is important to strengthening trust.

“The three things we measure are service, trust and advocacy, and I believe there is absolutely a relationship between service, and the creating of trust and advocacy. It’s obviously not everything, but there is undeniably a very strong link,” says Pinder.

When it comes to supporting customers, Pinder says there is a clear place to start. “Where service gets a big tick is when we’re doing the basic stuff right every single time to the extent people can rely on it happening. We have to stick to a small but really important set of service behaviours that we get right every time.”

3. Building trust

Helping your customers and supporting them is important, but the key theme threading the two together is trust. And that must be built, established and maintained.

Pinder says he’s confident that trust in the damaged RBS brand will recover. “Service is one of those concepts that is both the same, but can be different over time,” he says.

“The basic tenets of service don’t really change – but how people experience them does. For example, timeliness has always been important, but technology has re-defined what we consider to be acceptable. We want things to happen faster. I know that what we are doing in RBS gives us the focus we need to be effective, but also the basis to be flexible and adapt into the future.”

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