A network of banks, the personal touch
SpareBank 1 SR-Bank, part of the SpareBank 1 alliance of independent Norwegian banks, offers a full range of financial services, including personal banking, loans, and insurance. It operates 36 branches across Norway, serving over 300,000 private and business customers with a personal touch.
“We want to create a bank where our agents and advisors really know their customers,” says Fredrik Tjaum, Team Leader, Customer and System Management at SpareBank 1 SR-Bank. “If they have the customer’s complete history at their fingertips, they can personalize the experience and reinforce our brand promise.”
Like most customer-facing businesses, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank wanted a single, reliable customer record that its call center agents and banking advisors could share securely, but like many large organizations, it did not always find it easy to maintain a coherent, comprehensive view of every customer lifecycle. “We called it ‘the black hole and the maze,’” says Tjaum.
To consolidate customer data and simplify service and advisory interactions, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank began in 2016 to build up a centralized customer engagement platform on an on-premises version of Microsoft Dynamics. In 2019, it switched to cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service to help build more reliable customer records, extend accessibility, and to streamline its customer service practices. The bank then adopted Unified Interface for a faster, more flexible experience for its employees.
A single customer view for everybody
“We chose Microsoft because of its ability to deliver new features and respond to our customer needs more effectively than any other provider,” says Tjaum. “And because we also have the full stack of Microsoft 365, it has built-in interoperability so we can continue using the products we’re so familiar with.”
With Dynamics 365 Customer Service, banking advisors and call center agents have a common engagement platform. The bank centralizes all customer data in Dynamics 365 and gives everyone full visibility into the interactions SpareBank 1 SR-Bank is having with its customers through multiple channels, driving continuity between sales and support. Call center agents use tools in Unified Interface to create and manage cases and display pop-up customer information to help guide support calls.
“The system we’ve built in Dynamics 365 means we can assign a ticket to every case, streamlining handling throughout our departments,” says Tjaum. “We can then update the case with different statuses, depending on which stage in the journey the customer is at. This also helps our call center generate more than 1,000 opportunities each month during the service process.”
An all-inclusive experience with Unified Interface
Seeking more ways to streamline workloads, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank moved to Unified Interface, the new, all-inclusive default experience for Common Data Service apps, including Dynamics 365 Customer Service. Unified Interface optimizes and standardizes interactions and viewing experiences across Common Data Service apps using responsive web design principles. Using Dynamics 365 Community resources to help plan its transition, the bank piloted the migration with a small group of users in early 2019.
As an early Unified Interface adopter, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank was able to pace its migration, introducing the new user experience to its teams with minimal disruption. After the pilot, it rolled out Unified Interface to its private banking teams in mid-October 2019 and the corporate banking side in March 2020.
Better customer insight, faster responses
In meetings, banking advisors now have a 360-degree view of the customer in one place, including their contact history and order information, which gives the advisors better insight into the customer’s needs. The bank also uses Dynamics 365 with Adobe Campaign, which provides data-led recommendations for next best actions.
“It’s changed from each banker having their own way of engaging with customers to SpareBank 1 SR-Bank having one consistent approach,” says Preben Pedersen, Senior Supervisor, System Management at SpareBank 1 SR-Bank. “With Dynamics 365, we can follow up in a much more efficient and customer-friendly way than before.”
With increased control and oversight, the bank can respond faster to customer queries. Because every advisor and agent can access a full history of each customer’s interactions with the bank, it can spread inbound contacts between its 36 branches to help ensure that everyone quickly gets the answers they need without waiting in lengthy phone queues. This is boosting customer satisfaction, too—in 2019, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank won a Kantar TNS customer survey award for “Best customer service in financial industries” for its call center operations.
Simpler processes, new tools, and a lower IT burden
Call center agents, banking advisors, and other SpareBank 1 SR-Bank employees use the modern, high performance Unified Interface to simplify processes in Dynamics 365. With new tools such as a consolidated timeline view, advisors and agents can access full customer histories without having to click between tabs.
And the change to Unified Interface has helped the bank reduce the maintenance burden on its IT teams. “With Unified Interface, we went from using custom code to an out-of-the-box approach,” says Pedersen. “We have all the functionality we need, it’s easy to manage, and deployment is much easier. It has also reduced load times for the case management and the whole platform is far more stable.”
Customer-centric banking experiences
With Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Unified Interface, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank is striving to deliver a more complete, customer-centric experience regardless of how the customer interacts with the bank. “Whether you email us, call our contact center, or go to a branch, you’ll find an advisor that knows the same things about you and can help you in the same way no matter what,” says Tjaum.
As the bank continues its optimization journey, it can now take advantage of opportunities to keep extending its customer engagement ecosystem with other Dynamics 365 business applications such as Sales, Marketing, and Field Service, or with low-code applications, process flows, and even virtual agents the bank can build itself with Microsoft Power Platform. “We see a whole lot of opportunities ahead of us,” says Tjaum. “We’re trying to make SpareBank 1 SR-Bank the best combination of the digital world and the relationships that our people build with our customers—and Dynamics 365 is instrumental to that.”
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