As consumers, we have many options in how we browse, research, and purchase products today. We expect more freedom and flexibility in how we work with retail companies. Forward-looking companies strive to improve their customers' experiences and provide flexibility without compromising quality.
However, some industries are considered conservative and rigid. Financial institutions are often seen this way. It's ironic. Financial institutions brought us ATMs, online banking, bill payer, and generally made us more self-sufficient with our funds.
Unfortunately, areas such as mortgage lending remain high-touch and require a face-to-face meetings with customers. For banks, the challenge is that it doesn’t make sense to have an expert in every branch, which means mortgage experts typically travel among branches. Customers may have access to a lending expert only once a week, or even every two weeks. It's difficult to do business that way.
Now, look at what Nationwide has accomplished in the area of mortgage lending. Nationwide prides itself on customer service: It’s the world’s largest building society and services 1 of every 4 U.K. homes. In order to grow and provide exceptional service to more households, Nationwide realized it would be better to bring its mortgage experts to the customer. They did this with video conferencing and the results have been spectacular.
Most impressive is the increase in customer satisfaction from meeting with consultants over video. The experience and expertise remain the same, but providing experts at the customer’s convenience led to a significant improvement in ratings. And, additional business for Nationwide at lower cost.
I applaud Nationwide for not over-rotating on video. They have successfully taken advantage of video to serve more members and bring home ownership to reality for those members on their terms. They did this by continuing to provide "white glove" treatment to their members.
Upon arrival, customers are greeted by a representative who brings them to the meeting room. The representative begins the video session, makes introductions, provides refreshments, and supports the process by managing documents, copies, signatures, and other branch-based tasks.
Video doesn’t replace the experience, it augments it.
There's a saying that there are three factors in delivering a new product or service: better, cheaper, and faster. They also say you can only have two out of the three. It looks like Nationwide has achieved all three by being first to market with an innovative solution.