Northmill Bank + Zendesk: omnichannel, personalized, scalable support
Northmill Bank is challenging the status quo in banking businesses with a fresh approach that creates personalized, transparent experiences for its customers. Leveling up with Zendesk doubled its CSAT response rate and saved it two and a half headcount during a season of rapid growth.
"Zendesk lets us anticipate what customers want, quickly solve their problems, and help customers help themselves. Even though they can always call us and we pick up the phone in around 41seconds."
"Zendesk has become more of a platform for the whole business. We use it as a touchpoint for so many other things now. It’s an important part of handling our customer experience, and to have that one single platform to use is really valuable."
CSAT reply increase
staffing equivalent saved
Change comes slowly in the banking industry. A handful of entrenched financial companies often dominate a market, and complex regulations make it difficult for new companies to challenge the incumbents. But Northmill Bank is shaking up the industry by being tech-driven and drawing inspiration from unlikely sources: streaming music and video platforms. These platforms offer a highly personalized and fresh experience for users, redefining what it means to serve customers. Northmill Bank aims to bring that same personal relevance and intelligence to the traditional industry of banking.
“We look at ourselves more as a tech company than a bank,” said Simon Nilsson, Chief Commercial Officer at Northmill Bank. “We take more of our cues from companies like Netflix and Spotify than we do from the big Swedish banks.”
Northmill is a neobank that exists entirely digitally and has no physical branches. Customers control every aspect of their financial life through an app that makes it easy to do everything from applying for a loan, setting saving goals, or paying bills. The company prides itself on creating a transparent, highly personalized experience for its customers. They boil everything down to the aim of improving people’s financial lives.
Moving to a better customer experience platform
Even though Northmill Bank’s email, phone, and live chat support consistently received high marks from customers, the bank’s agents faced considerable workflow issues behind the scenes. From juggling four separate email inboxes to not having a unified view of the customer experience, the support team needed help.
Northmill Bank’s first step was to choose a solution to unify its email support, so the company started out with Freshdesk. While this helped them pull everything together, the way they were growing revealed they needed a different tool—one that offered a way to connect its growing number of channels, more analytics, and increased productivity and efficiency.
After evaluating several platforms, including Salesforce, Dixa, and Genesys, Northmill Bank found what it was looking for in the Zendesk Support Enterprise Suite. Zendesk had the solutions Northmill Bank needed: a connected platform that would provide a modern, omnichannel experience with robust self-service functionality, including a 360-degree view of the customer experience. They also got a modern platform where everything could be connected, but not one that was so complex it took too many resources to manage.
Their growth also meant they needed a technology partner instep with their changes in configuration and operations. Consistent communication was key, and they found that with Zendesk. “When we choose vendors, we often think about it like we’re going on a journey together, so it’s important for us to feel that connection. We need to feel like the partner cares as deeply as we do about our vision to improve people’s financial lives,” Nilsson said. “Zendesk cares about Northmill Bank and our success, which is one of the key reasons we chose them to begin with.”
Fast implementation, immediate results
Northmill Bank’s support leaders anticipated some hiccups as the bank implemented Zendesk—but to their surprise, the transition took just three weeks, with zero down time.
That rapid implementation—backed by local Zendesk resources—drove immediate benefits for Northmill Bank. Previously, the support team had to log in and out of multiple systems to track down the basic information needed to resolve customer problems. Now the team has a unified view of customers and their data, improved internal collaboration, and the ability to manage SLAs with precision.
Meanwhile, Northmill Bank built a help center to deploy self-service content, freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues.
“It’s important to align our customer service and customer experience so we don’t need to constantly ask customers basic questions,” Nilsson said. “Zendesk lets us anticipate what customers want, quickly solve their problems, and help customers help themselves. It is about meeting the customers on their terms.”
It’s this commitment to smart, personalized service that has helped Northmill maintain a 90 percent CSAT score and double its customer CSAT survey completion rate since deploying Zendesk.
“Zendesk helps us really understand the customer journey and gives agents everything they need—like understanding what interactions a customer has had with us before, and in what channels,” said Erik Holting, customer support manager at Northmill Bank. “It also gives us useful information like whether a customer was satisfied with their experience during our last interaction.”
Bringing data to build a scalable support system
Northmill Bank also uses Zendesk to improve its operational efficiency; for example, support team leaders can now measure agent performance across channels and teams. That has led to increased productivity in the face of fast growth, enabling the neobank to scale its level of service while also avoiding the need to hire an additional two and a half agents. This has been extra important since the launch of their very popular product Reduce, which helps people lower their interest rate on existing credits.
“Zendesk has been very helpful for our management team and agents alike,” Nilsson said. “Since we no longer have siloed systems, it’s much easier to give agents feedback and understand their workload, because we’re looking at one set of data. That was much more difficult before, because it was like comparing apples to oranges when it comes to different channels.”
Northmill Bank has also used Zendesk as a way to connect its 150-person team across locations in Sweden, Finland, and Poland, making it easy to share data and work collaboratively. For a business that once viewed its support operations as being in “survival mode,” seeing its chat and call volume drop by 50 percent while improving the quality of customer conversations has been a boon.
A platform partner for the future
“Zendesk has become more of a platform for the whole business, really. We use it as a touchpoint for so many other things now,” Nilsson said. “It’s kind of a hub for our customer experience, and to have that one single platform to use is really valuable for us.”
As Northmill Bank continues its rapid growth and moves into new products and regions, it continues to work with Zendesk to build upon its strong service and support foundation.