The Australian Business Award for Service Excellence recognises organisations that have successfully implemented initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to customer service excellence.

Founded in 1817 as Australia’s first bank, Westpac Banking Corporation provides consumer, business and institutional banking services along with wealth management and administration to customers across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

In response to dramatic changes in the world of banking and financing in recent years, Westpac have invested in a comprehensive program of work to reinvent their key customer experiences. Westpac see the digital revolution as a fundamental shift in the relationship between them and their customers, which has provided an opportunity for them to become much more customer-centric in their systems, processes and operations. As a result, they’ve built a strategy that aims to deliver dramatically simpler and more convenient banking to empower customers to bank on their terms.

To achieve this, Westpac committed to leveraging digital advancements to provide greater efficiency, convenience and control for customers through automation and self-service. In addition, however, they believe that banking is more than transactions. With the understanding that customers also want help and advice, they have placed an emphasis on ‘digital assisted’ rather than unassisted service.

Westpac’s solution was to attempt to deliver specialist services from a specialist service excellence hub, via video conferencing to all 687 branches nationally. The new service model aimed to reduce waiting times, eliminate the need for multiple trips to the bank or for customers to travel to specialists and ensure a consistently level in customer service nationally.

Extensive training was delivered to branch staff to ensure a strong understanding of the new communication channel throughout all Westpac branches, and as each specialist service was added to the new service channel additional training was developed for Personal Bankers. Materials and processes were created for all new staff and an e-academy online learning unit is being developed for all 5000 branch staff. The video conferencing platform’s flexibility and scalability has also allowed the system to become a core communication tool for all staff between branches, head office and operations.

Implementation of the service excellence hub has helped Westpac to provide their top specialists to any branch in the country, reduce travel and waiting times and ensure consistent service across all of their branches nationally. Westpac has been recognised with a Service Excellence Award for the implementation of the service excellence hub in the Australian Business Awards 2016.