Westpac prioritises customers during COVID-19 with personalization at scale

It’s challenging enough to stay connected to 13 million customers, but even more so when you want to make each interaction more personal. Westpac is determined to tackle both challenges successfully. Despite being one of the largest banks in Australia and New Zealand, the organisation sees itself as simply “people helping people” — a good way to sum up its commitment to building deep, enduring customer relationships.

For the digital marketing team at Westpac, that commitment means finding new ways to personalise customer experiences online. In recent years, the company has assembled the tools, technology, and processes to deliver personalisation at scale.

“With personalisation, the challenge is how to use real-time data to make our experiences more relevant to customers when they need our help,” says Chris Thomas, senior manager for personalisation enablement at Westpac. “However, to ensure ROI we also need to ensure our employee experience is efficient and engaging, enabling our personalisation programme to scale.”

With the ability to dynamically display content tailored to each customer, Westpac has achieved remarkable increases in high-quality digital sales — by 54% through initial activities, and through scaling and optimization, now lifting sales performance by 159%.

And the digital marketing team is producing and managing content in a quarter of the time previously required. Its processes also meet requirements set out by the bank’s risk and compliance teams, providing full traceability of content.

So how did Westpac do it?

Empowering the people behind the experiences

When people visit westpac.com.au, they’re usually looking to do something specific, whether that’s opening a credit card account, applying for a loan, or seeking another service. The easier it is to find relevant information, the better. But making that possible on a large scale requires a lot of planning, creativity, and hard work behind the scenes.

One challenge is managing the immense amount of content needed to personalise experiences for millions of customers. Westpac’s digital marketing team uses Adobe Experience Manager to centralise its content; streamline the long string of approvals with compliance, marketing, product, brand, and risk; and establish a “create once, publish everywhere” (COPE) approach. By bringing everything together through Experience Manager Assets and Sites, the team gets to market faster with personalised experiences for customers, while making the entire process a lot easier to manage.

Another challenge is learning enough about customers to know what to deliver — and then delivering it in real time. A custom-built API links online banking to other digital channels, exchanging information with Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Target, and Adobe Analytics. This gives Westpac insight into who its customers are and what they need, so it can deliver targeted offers and messaging no matter where customers are or what devices they use.

COVID-19 tests Westpac’s ability to deliver — and the bank succeeds

The team’s ability to adapt and deliver rapidly has made all the difference in Westpac’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In short order, the bank set up a dedicated customer support hub on its website and integrated a chatbot using Adobe Launch, relieving pressure on the call centre and helping customers get quicker answers to questions.

“Having the right tools in place has enabled us to communicate quickly with customers, which at this time is so critical to their ongoing financial health,” Thomas says. “We’ve been able to pivot the use of our Adobe toolset to support our customers as part of responding to over 300,000 requests for help.”

Using Experience Manager, Westpac created numerous financial hardship forms, which enable customers to apply for assistance programs. For example, people who lost their sources of income can apply for deferrals on home loans and credit card payments. Businesses can apply for things like temporary funding assistance through the Australian government’s JobKeeper program and merchant terminal fee relief.

The digital marketing team also relies heavily on Experience Manager Assets to keep its content in order and its messages aligned — striking the right tone for the situation. With all assets in one place, the team can quickly replace old images with more relevant ones in web pages and ads.

Strong customer relationships are a powerful business strategy

The impact of COVID-19 underscores how critical it is for any organization to be ready to adapt to any situation. Westpac offers a powerful example of how prioritizing customer relationships in the best of times laid the foundation for a solid strategy that can stand up in even the most challenging conditions. And with the tools and processes in place to deliver the right customer experiences at just the right moment, the bank knows it can continue to help customers prosper.