The customer champion delivers enhanced digital experience

The customer champion delivers enhanced digital experience

KBC Bank Ireland needed to update its website to offer its customers a better digital experience, while ultimately making it more appealing. Paul Flynn, Head of Digital Channels, KBC Bank Ireland, tells us how it leveraged Liferay’s digital experience platform as an advanced starting point for development, and how the platform enabled Liferay partner, Webtown, and digital product practice, WONDR, to deliver an enhanced customer experience that out-performed the previous one with a 30% higher conversion rate.

Delivering a great digital customer experience is no easy task. KBC Bank Ireland and its Head of Digital Channels, Paul Flynn, set out on a mission to ensure that the bank’s customers would get the best possible experience via its website.  

The website in place had been built quite a few years ago and Flynn and his team at KBC are always looking for ways to improve on customer experience. It was his job  to find a solution to ensure it was delivering the best possible website experience for its customers. Putting customer experience at the heart of Flynn’s plan was the main priority.

Rallying customer champions to support the project

Flynn aimed to achieve this firstly by finding like-minded champions of the customer across the organisation. They were all digital-natives, familiar with online experiences that are fast and easy to use, and would not offer anything less to their customers. They were creative people and were winning over the hearts and minds of their teams by elevating IT to focus on the customer, and making their decisions based on data. People found their approaches fresh and innovative, and Flynn knew he needed them on his team. He brought them together from across the organisation, from marketing to the legal and data teams – forming an extended team of customer champions.

They created a plan to replace the existing website with one that delivers a superior digital experience for their customers. With help from the digital product practice, WONDR, they collected all the information needed for the project and converted stakeholders to collaborators by enlisting them as advisors. They created a new design language for the website and selected Liferay, a cloud-enabled digital experience platform, as the foundation for the new solution.

Agile delivery based on real customer feedback 

The digital champions took feedback from customers on board when working on the new enhanced site. Customer feedback showed them that the site had too much jargon, used language that didn’t relate to the customer, calculators were hard to use and finding the information they were after was difficult. Taking note of this, KBC worked with WONDR to define eight personas with needs and goals; and offered key insights for each. It then mapped out the steps on the journeys and designed an experience that would maximise good emotions, eliminate pain points and feel familiar to the customer – but they wanted more and found ways for the brand to shine as part of the digital experience.

Armed with a powerful new technology, a detailed plan, a compelling vision and lots of excitement, the team went to work.

Working in real partnership to deliver for the end customer

The customer champions took a new approach to the project – they would work in an agile way to get it off the ground. They would deal with complexity and uncertainty by working out the finer details as the project went on and rely on the talent of the team to adapt as needed. They brought in Webtown, a customer-centric software development company.

By implementing the Liferay digital experience platform as a foundation, they managed to get a more up-to-date starting point for the website’s development. This offered faster speed, better accessibility and mobile support out-of-the-box.

While rebuilding the calculators on the site, the team was able to leverage the developer’s experience to reverse-engineer what was there to recreate the calculators in a way that gave the website administrators more control while making the website easier to use for customers.

The customer champions developed new, enterprise-ready ways of working for the development. They brought in cloud-based technology which enabled them to develop safely and release frequently. They then introduced better practices for documentation, accessibility and data quality management in the team. This led to a higher-quality experience and vastly improved usability, because they continued to improve and iterate on the experience while the project evolved. This would also make sure the solution would stand the test of time.

The customer champions had all rallied behind the vision to make decisions based on data and give the customers what they wanted, so were able to take decisive action when needed. Webtown activated a second agile team on short notice to power through new requirements as they raced towards the finish line. When the new solution went live, the team was extremely satisfied.  

A website with enhanced customer experience

The new solution was very well received. Customer feedback highlighted that the new experience was really easy to use and helped them make decisions. The call centre staff were saving time because customers gave them the correct information. The numbers also improved. The new solution out-performed the old one with a 30% higher conversion rate, so the project paid itself back really quickly. The champions had delivered a great victory and a new website they were proud of.

Additionally, Flynn also won a second victory which proved that even the most ambitious projects can be delivered when the right people are brought into the fold and when people rally behind the customer to drive it forward. Within their teams, they earned the power to keep updating the experience themselves without having to call in engineers. Their customers said that the new solution looked like other FinTech challenger apps they used which is also how the team felt. They were changing traditional ways of working by using the best technology, and were able to move quickly to work for the customer.

“We made sure we didn’t fall into the trap of rushing into build before we knew how we’d deliver what we wanted,” said Flynn. “That’s why we put so much emphasis on the customer research and persona study. From this, we could really tailor the build to ensure that what went live was what would really make a difference. Overall, the project took a little over a year to deliver.”

Flynn went on to discuss the business benefits the solution has provided: “Improving the onsite user experience and therefore conversion rate was one of the key objectives for us. Given the bank’s digital credentials, we wanted to make sure the website was an extension of our overall digital proposition. However, to do this we needed to understand what customers – both existing and prospective – needed from the website.

“We were delighted with the new website and so were our customers. Conversion rates increased by 30% and we were in better control as a result of the platform we developed. Our ability to pivot and deploy bespoke journeys meant we could maximise new commercial opportunities.

“What an adventure this project has been,” said Flynn. “It’s all about the team pulling together and we assembled a great team. We managed to work together and figure things out on the way and that’s why it was a success. I’m really pleased with the result. It’s a great feeling to see the new site out there, to hear the customer feedback on the experience it delivers and to see it performing so well!”

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