Forms processed in 3 months
Serve customers more effectively across branches and digital channels
Boost competitiveness in an industry increasingly shifting to digital
Streamline everyday interactions with customers
Launched government loan programs in 36 hours during COVID-19 — ahead of competitors
Created and released 21 digital self-service forms in only months
Processed 140,000 forms in 3 months, replacing 15,000 branch visits
Increased digital self-service rate by 9%
Mike Gamble is passionate about building great customer experiences and working with people who enjoy what they do. “When those two things come together, you can really have positive impacts on customers. It feels good,” he says.
Lately, Mike has had a lot to feel good about. As the director of analysis and design at London-based TSB Bank, Mike is helping to drive the bank’s three-year digital strategy, including a £120 million investment in digital channels and self-service options. His team — a group of “empowered, curious fixers,” as he calls them — has made enormous strides in creating seamless customer journeys online.
The goal? TSB Bank wants to serve customers better. It has more than 5 million customers across the UK, from consumers to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It expects 75% of its customers to use online banking over the next few years, and it knows going digital is the key to staying competitive.
“Our purpose is to provide money confidence for everyone, every day,” says Suresh Viswanathan, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at TSB Bank. “For me, this includes a focus on being ‘digital inside and out.’”
As TSB Bank launches products and services across digital channels, Mike’s job is to make sure digital experiences are easy, intuitive, and centred on customers. “Banks sometimes assume customers want bells and whistles, but they don’t,” he says. “When it comes to their financial health, customers want journeys that are simple and flawless.”
That means making daily interactions as smooth as possible and streamlining the sometimes mundane, yet critically important, processes customers rely on to manage their money. Opening and closing accounts. Changing an address. Disputing a charge. And doing it all with the choice of their preferred channel — digital or in a branch.
Some of the forms supporting these activities were already on the bank’s website. But because TSB Bank relied on an external agency to update them, making changes was slow. As customers looked for more self-service options online, Mike and his team knew the slow process was no longer viable. They needed to be faster. Just how much faster would soon become clear.
In early 2020, TSB Bank had just completed a successful proof of concept (POC), using Adobe Acrobat Sign and Adobe XD to create a self-service form allowing customers to close a bank account. After carefully testing and vetting the form with internal stakeholders, the bank was ready to go live.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Like many other countries around the world, the UK implemented strict lockdown measures, and some branches had to close temporarily. That created a huge influx of demand for online banking services. All at once, Mike and his team had to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.
“We hadn’t even yet gone live with the first form, and suddenly we needed to get the next 15 out as quickly as possible,” Mike says. Fortunately, the Adobe POC gave TSB Bank the tools and processes it needed to ramp up and adapt to a dramatically different world.
“Whether by luck or great insight, our plans fit perfectly into supporting customers during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Mike. “When the pandemic hit, we had all the right partnerships lined up on a variety of fronts, and Adobe was front and center.”
Director of Analysis and Design, TSB Bank
In the months following the initial lockdown, TSB Bank launched 21 self-service forms on its website and started using Acrobat Sign to enable e-signatures on forms for address changes, bereavement, overdraft inquiries, and more.
“We’ve been able to introduce several self-service solutions, whether for applying for new products, changing personal details, or applying for government loan programs,” says Suresh. “These solutions have been used over 250,000 times since their introduction, allowing customers to apply for much needed help quickly."
TSB Bank was exceptionally fast to provide business customers with access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption and Bounce Back loan scheme applications. The UK Government introduced these programmes to alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on SMBs — and banks had just seven days to start accepting loan requests. Using Adobe, TSB Bank had the forms live in 36 hours.
“Many small businesses flocked to TSB Bank because we were one of the first to offer the full suite of application forms for coronavirus-related loan programs and payment holidays,” says Mike. “We’ve processed a massive number of Bounce Back loan applications, all submitted through the forms we manage using Adobe.”
The bank saw a big shift to digital channels during the pandemic, with the digital self-service rate rising from 84% to 93%. That translates to tens of thousands fewer in-person interactions, keeping customers safe at home. In fact, TSB Bank processed a total of 140,000 forms in three months, saving 15,000 branch visits.
The increase in self-service has also reduced call center volumes. That’s due in large part to the TSB Smart Agent, a chatbot, powered by LivePerson, which TSB also launched during the pandemic. When a customer expresses a need — perhaps for a loan repayment holiday — the chatbot is smart enough to link to a relevant self-service form. That digital hand-off not only alleviates inbound traffic, according to Mike, it also “sent customer satisfaction scores through the roof.”
For Suresh, COVID-19 was a test that the organization passed. “Working with Adobe has allowed us to be agile in our response to the pandemic and the rapidly changing situation ahead of us. This has required us to move at speed and ensure programs can be consistently updated as needed.”
As the COVID-19 lockdown eased across the UK, TSB Bank took stock of the situation. The organization had fast-forwarded through a significant portion of its digital transformation and emerged stronger as a result. Attention has been focused back to business as usual — and how to continue building frictionless customer journeys with speed and agility.
“We continue to roll out self-service forms using Adobe, and customers are finding and using them without any help,” Mike says. “That means we’re doing our job of making the processes as easy and intuitive as possible.”
Ease of use is especially important when people are facing difficult times, and there are few things more difficult than bereavement. TSB Bank wants to make sure its services alleviate the hardship instead of adding to it. People filling out bereavement forms are not necessarily TSB customers, and they’re often grieving. Self-service saves them the trouble of visiting a branch or contacting the call center. And TSB Bank can respond to those important requests more quickly. The bank has processed as many as 200 bereavement forms every day and estimates a saving of 200 hours daily.
In fact, efficiency and response times have improved across the board. For example, when a customer submits a form to dispute account charges, the streamlined process shortens the overall journey by two or three days.
And for every process that requires customer identification, TSB Bank uses Acrobat Sign Government ID verification, integrated with Microsoft Power Automate for a highly secure, automated workflow. When customers submit a request, they receive an email asking them to verify their identity.
COO, TSB Bank
The empowered, curious fixers on Mike’s team are now looking for new ways to use Adobe to further improve efficiency and convenience. That includes video banking, allowing customers to connect with branch employees virtually instead of in-person. It also includes equipping branch employees with mobile tablets, so they can help customers fill out forms in person and sign directly on the device.
The bank is also looking to extend the integration between Adobe and Microsoft Teams — streamlining the process of designing, testing, approving, and launching new forms. According to Mike, these improvements are just the start.
“This year has been about laying the foundation,” he says. “There are several ‘digital accelerators’ that helped us build our digital capabilities, and Adobe is one of them.”
This mindset goes all the way to the top, where TSB Bank leaders understand the value of strong partnerships.
“Turning paper-based forms digital has been a real game-changer for us,” says Suresh. “It has demonstrated the benefit of a modern, flexible digital infrastructure and the value of working with strong, capable partners.”