Technological investment enhances Society customer service in pandemic
The investment the Society has made into new technology and adaptations to our front-line services, over the last twelve months, has given our customers more choice about how they access their accounts, and enabled our staff to work seamlessly to ensure business continuity and customer service.
The changes implemented by the Society during the Covid-19 pandemic have, undoubtedly, contributed to what looks set to be a record year, running contra to the negative trends seen in other areas of the country’s economy.
Implementation of our digital service, Swansea Online, was brought forward due to the pandemic, following a significant investment in research and development. We would like to stress, however, that it has been introduced to compliment the Society’s branch premises in Swansea, Mumbles, Carmarthen and Cowbridge, not replace them, and allow customers more options to access their accounts – particularly helpful during lockdown periods.
The digital service aims to strike the right balance between allowing customers easy access to their accounts around the clock, 7 days a week, while offering security, assurance, and choice. It has been a great success, with over 1,700 customers signing up in the first few months.
To enhance speed and resilience, upgrades were also made to all branch internet connections, and customers are also now able to withdraw funds to their nominated accounts via email, post and telephone request.
To ensure business and customer service continuity during lockdown, we introduced an innovative VoIP telephone system, which diverts incoming calls to our employees’ laptops, allowing them to work from home and still use their works landline.
To maintain our commitment to opening and not closing branches, we ensured that all branches remained open for socially distanced face-to-face transactions, with staff working on a rota of one week at home and one week at the branch, restricting the number of staff in the branch at any one time. Adjustments were also made to premises to ensure staff and customer safety in accordance with Government guidelines.
Despite the pandemic, the Society has continued to recruit staff across the business. This has been achieved by utilising video conferencing software to undertake interviews. Microsoft Teams and Zoom have also been used for all team meetings and to enhance our employees’ connectivity while working remotely.
Alun Williams, our Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We are very proud of the way the Society has adapted to the very challenging circumstances this year. All of the technology and other adaptations we have implemented have been designed solely with the aim of allowing more flexibility for our customers, whilst keeping them and our staff safe in compliance with Government regulations and advice.
“We have been delighted by the way in which our customers have embraced the new technology, and we look forward to encouraging even more members to use it in the future while adding to its functionality. The important thing for us is customer choice. We kept all our branches open during the pandemic, ensuring all our customers could access their savings and mortgages in a way that works best for them.
“Whether a customer decides to deal with us in person at a branch office, by telephone, by post or online, the service they receive will be the same – friendly, informed, personal, professional and welcoming. All of the technological advancements are just ways to complement that service, and we remain committed to our ethos of opening and not closing branches.”