Based in Warren Pennsylvania, Northwest Savings Banks has 172 branches across New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The financial institution was founded over a century ago and, over the years, has developed a reputation for providing superior customer service. J.D. Power has given Northwest Savings Bank the highest retail banking satisfaction score in their region four times in the last five years. They were also on the 2014 “Bank Honor Roll” by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and included on Forbes’ 2014 list of “The Top 50 most trustworthy financial companies in America.”
Improving the customer experience
The bank's employees are the most significant drivers of their success. “It is our mission to take care of [employees] and give them the tools to succeed,” says David Westerburg, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Northwest Savings Bank. "In return, they take excellent care of our account holders. They understand that customer satisfaction and customer experience are top priorities."
Looking toward the future, Westerburg and his team have two main goals:
- Continue the tradition of achieving award-winning customer satisfaction scores.
- Engage all employees in exceeding customer expectations and establishing Northwest Savings Bank as the regional leader in customer experience.
What do customers want?
In order to achieve their goals around customer satisfaction, Northwest Savings Bank is always on a mission to better understand their customers. It's important to know what customers want from them, how they have viewed past experiences with the bank and what Westerburg and his team can do to improve those experiences. To this end, there are three challenges that Northwest Savings Bank is constantly coming up against:
- Understanding account holders’ expectations at a detail level for experience design purposes.
- Gathering enough service-related information to make statistically valid decisions.
- Generating real-time feedback that can be used to reward or coach front line employees.
Keeping an eye on the data
To learn more about their customers, Northwest Savings Bank partnered with Deluxe. Deploying Deluxe’s Voice of the Customer program enables the bank to use its own customers to get immediate online feedback, rather than hire mystery shoppers who aren’t conducting real transactions and don’t perfectly reflect the customer base.
"Deluxe Voice of the Customer allows us to understand what customers desire so we can clearly delineate performance expectations for our frontline staff," says Westerburg. "Our staff knows what behaviors we expect from them from the time the customer arrives on the premises, until they drive away."
Northwest Savings Bank is able to get very specific, actionable data in near real-time. As a result, they are able to catch employees who are doing the right thing, and reward them, and coach employees who need some help.
While the data has helped them standardize the customer experience across branches, Westerburg says that it also enables them to be dynamic. "[We] will make changes if we see patterns in the comments we’re getting. We know if we sit still, our competitors could move beyond us."
To stay on top of their customers' needs, regional and branch managers will log into their dashboards throughout the day. "They understand the importance of providing immediate feedback to their employees, Westerburg says.
Northwest Savings Bank has been using Deluxe to help measure customer satisfaction for many years now. The data empowers their employees and has transformed the financial institution and motivated its staff. They appreciate the feedback and it has inspired a healthy competition among branches and people. Everyone wants those perfect scores. "Deluxe’s Voice of the Customer program really works – and it is one of the reasons we are so successful," says Westerburg.