Hidden Gems at the Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is one the worlds largest banks. It is also one of the worlds most troubled banks, with several long lasting hangovers still inflicting pain years after the party ended (Financial Crisis, PPI, etc).

The RBS Digital Dashboard

In its most recent update to the market, reporting its Q1, 2019 results, RBS also reported some interesting data from its ‘Digital Dashboard’.

The theme is clear – RBS aims to shift transactions from physical branches to its digital properties. It seems the plan is working, “Physical is reducing”, and “Digital is increasing”.

The data provides an insight into the rapidly changing relationships between RBS and its consumers and customers. Perhaps the most surprising data point is that 28 million cheques were processed by RBS in Q1!

But there are warning signs. The reported metrics are highly transactional, with no information about the quality of those transactions, the number of failed transactions, the customer experience, or whether the transactions supported the right outcomes for the customer, and for RBS and its other stakeholders.

RBS Net Promoter Score

Thankfully, the story does not end there. In the next slide, RBS reports its Net Promoter Score (NPS, measure of customer satisfaction based on answers to the question, “How likely are you to recommend..”). The results are not pretty. Despite the transition to modern mobile apps and artificial chat bots, customers are still stubbornly displeased with RBS.

In another recent survey, RBS ranked bottom of all the major UK banks for personal current account service quality.

While these results make for difficult reading, RBS should be commended for its transparent approach, the data is useful and provides an excellent starting point for future improvements.

Recommendations for RBS

There is a customer experience gap in the way RBS manages its business and digital transformation. RBS appears to be managing its digital transformation mainly based on the volume of transactions, rather than based on consumer and customer preferences. The poor NPS performance bears this out, but without incorporating more meaningful and qualitative metrics, it is hard to see how the situation will improve.

As an RBS executive, I would want to explore the following in greater depth:

  1. Track customer outcomes and qualitative metrics, alongside transactional metrics.
  2. Analyse relationship between digital transformation and customer experience. 
  3. Align financial goals with customer experience goals for greater sustainable growth. 

We have previously reported on how banks are transforming. RBS is leading the way in terms of transparency (more so than most Challenger brands), and now has the opportunity to evolve its approach to bridge the gap between the transactional reporting and management practices, and a more responsive, customer centric approach.