There is no doubt that COVID-19 has transformed the life of society by driving the acceleration of digital adoption. In the way of enjoying leisure, shopping, working … technology has been present. And also in the way of connecting with financial institutions. Santander Spain closed 2020 with 5.2 million digital customers, of which four already use the mobile application. It is a figure that has multiplied by four in the last three years and that experienced its greatest growth during the past year, motivated by the mobility restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Only in the first month of the confinement, the entity registered 300,000 new digital clients, 15% of them over 70 years old. Because, although until now the elderly avoided using these channels, fear of the pandemic and confinement have made them begin to incorporate technology into their day to day, also in financial matters.
In this context, explains Javier Tomé, director of Digital Experience at Santander Spain, Banco Santander has launched a mobile application in our country promoting a new digital ecosystem that has allowed them to take a great leap in their ability to offer products and services through channels on-line, focusing on improving the customer experience. It is not about replacing the bank office. In fact, even in the worst months of lockdown, seven out of 10 offices remained open. But there is no doubt that customer preference in 2020 has been on the digital side. Last year, the entity increased the use of its virtual channels by 69%, while increasing the quality of its services. This is demonstrated by the satisfaction index of its customers, doubled in the last 18 months. Thus, the study Digital Banking Maturity 2020, carried out by the consulting firm Deloitte, recognizes the app as the fourth best in the world. In addition, its global digital capabilities (application plus web) are ranked eighth.
The Spanish ‘app’ is a benchmark for exporting to other European markets, thus improving the user experience of many more clients and moving towards a common operating model throughout Europe
Javier Tomé, Director of Digital Experience at Santander Spain
“It is a more useful, more human, more customizable and smarter application that brings together all of our products and services through a highly improved user experience,” says Tomé. And the results of this bet are also appreciated in its use. “77% of our digital customers already use our app, with an average of 22 accesses per month ”, he indicates. “None of this is surprising if we take into account that to develop it, the comments and evaluations of more than 1.2 million users have been collected”.
The Santander application offers its customers to carry out all the usual operations and others that are not so: switch cards off and on, have a 100% Bizum experience, split purchases, pay or return receipts, geolocate expenses, check the PIN and CVV , make transfers, value your home at market price and obtain a suggested rental price for it; or search all your past transactions, among other services. In this technological bet, the reinforcement of Santander Personal, its network of digital managers, has also been key, a service that allows operating remotely as if you were in the office but without having to travel. In total, 550 specialized managers are available via chat, video calls, email or the free phone. And the functionalities will continue to increase in 2021, since, according to Tomé, improvements are carried out every six or eight weeks, incorporating increasingly disruptive solutions that, in his opinion, “are setting the benchmark in the sector”.
The app Furthermore, Spanish “has been selected as a benchmark for exporting to other European markets, thus improving the user experience of many more clients and moving towards a common operating model throughout Europe,” says Tomé. It is, in short, an exponent of the strategic priorities that the group is setting globally and, more specifically, in Europe. An action that encompasses One Europe, a new operating model that takes advantage of the entity’s international scale to offer a better customer experience, relying on a common culture and sharing processes and technology.
In particular, Santander is going to unify its customer relationship strategy in the European countries where it operates – Spain, United Kingdom, Portugal and Poland – with a reinvention of the branch network (Work-Café), expand Santander Personal and launch a common mobile application, for which the Spanish model will serve as the basis. With this, its 15.1 million digital customers in Europe will interact with the bank through a single app that will share 80% common elements in all countries, while 20% of the services will be specific to each territory.
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