CIM/e-Marketing Award-Assignment #2: Analysis of NatWest Online Banking


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This report presents a case study on NatWest Online Banking strategies and practices that led to great customer satisfaction and tremendous reduction in costs.

As part of the Chartered Institute of Marketing programs, Naja Faysal was enrolled in the Professional Development Award in e-Marketing via Cambridge Marketing College

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CIM/e-Marketing Award-Assignment #2: Analysis of NatWest Online Banking

  1. 1. NatWest Online Banking Strategy By: Naja Faysal CIM/ Professional Development Award in E-marketing Cambridge Marketing College ………………………… Communication Executive Leo Burnett – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia ………………………… Bachelor Degree in Communication Arts – Advertising and Marketing Notre Dame University – Lebanon Cambridge Marketing College E-marketing Award – Assignment 2 Written in Dubai on the 21st of March, 2009
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.0 Executive Summary 2.0 Introduction 3.0 Discussion / Body 4.0 Services and products a. Personal banking b. Private banking c. Business Banking d. Commercial Banking 5.0 CRM 6.0 Achieving Usability through Distinctive Design 7.0 Communication Tactics – Explaining the services in an appealing fashion 8.0 Delivering Trust through Bricks-and-clicks online integration 9.0 Partnerships and Cross Selling 10.0 Conclusions 11.0 Recommendations 12.0 Bibliography 13.0 References
  3. 3. 1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY NatWest Bank is a leading UK bank that belongs to the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. is the online banking service for NatWest customers offering a variety of services and products. The purpose of this report is to explain how NatWest used the web for both providing service to existing customers at the same time as cross selling other finance products and services as an additional “route to market”. The significant part about is its simple design and tone of language, where site visitors can navigate through the website and easily find the information they are looking for. The approach to design goes even further by providing useful and relevant educational guides and tips for each target segments according to what type of banking they are using. In addition, a very well crafted customer centric approach, putting the customer on top of everything, which leads to an amazing e-CRM strategy and using technology to provide an added value. All of the above were able to leverage the online experience of the site visitors makes them get the most of their online journey. Important to mention is how the website responds to the behavior of the local UK customer base, especially by assuring the physical presence either through direct phone numbers or finding the nearest branch. Also, a key to NatWest’s success was in establishing key partnerships and building lasting relationships that were so much of value to their customers. We were able finally in this report to give a picture of how success can look like in the online banking business; a highly competitive marketplace that requires giant efforts to keep up with the pace of technological advancements and consumer demands. A customer who is holding the rein, has far greater control over relationships, more choice over channels, and can demand better service.
  4. 4. 2.0 INTRODUCTION NatWest Bank was founded in the year 1968 when the National Provincial Bank (est.1833) and Westminster Bank (est.1836) merged. In March 2000, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group completed the acquisition of NatWest in a £21 billion deal that was the largest take-over in British banking history. NatWest is now part of one of the world's largest financial services groups In January 1997, NatWest launched an online banking service, following the completion of a two-year PC home banking trial. The service allows customers to access personal, business and credit card accounts; however the company decided not to offer the service via the internet because customers indicated that they would not use it because of the risk of people hacking into their bank accounts. So the service started instead via a direct link telephone line and modem hooked up to a PC. NatWest today offers, one of the fastest growing online banking services in the UK. The number of people signing up for the service was surpassing expectations and clearly shows that can help customers manage their finances at a time of their choosing. Not only this, but also NatWest has launched what it claims is the first international money transfer service over mobile phones offered by a UK bank to add to its success another story and to further embrace technology to deliver convenience to customers. The purpose of this report is to explain how NatWest used the web for both providing service to existing customers at the same time as cross selling other finance products and services as an additional “route to market”.
  5. 5. 3.0 SERVICES AND PRODUCTS Quality product, quality service, and quality sites are basic prerequisites to achieve online customer loyalty. Reward schemes can also be used to enhance loyalty. (E- marketing Essentials - third edition, by Dave Chaffey) achieved 9/10 for interactivity, 8/10 for content, navigation and speed by Lafferty's Internet Ratings which ranks Europe's leading financial services websites. The site visitors can easily navigate through out the 4 banking services listed below: o Personal Banking o Private Banking o Business Banking o Commercial Banking Later on the report will explain how NatWest used the internet to deliver services to its customers, whether they were ordinary people, VIPs, Businesses or Brokers. NatWest used a different approach to each target segment to disseminate different messages. Now talking about the website structure, it is clearly identified that the log in panel is on the top-right corner all the time. It is clearly differentiated in colour and design with a “key” sign to get you the message right away. Another fixed part of the template is the search area in the top-right corner (right above the log-in panel). Next to the search area there is another fixed navigation bar with the following tabs: o Accessibility: in this page, NatWest posted its commitment to making the site more accessible and support the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The product directory has been designed to meet the WAI recommendations. In the page as well, there is a list of Browsers that are compatible with the website, a Keyword shortcuts, in branch information, tips on using cash machines, information about using telephone banking. Also, very important in this page is the information
  6. 6. about special services designed for Customers with Visual Impairments and Customers with Hearing Impairments. o Contact us: in this page, NatWest posts a list of Toll-Free phone numbers for each department. Also different contact numbers for each banking type whether personal, private, business or commercial. Moreover, there are links to find your branch and complaint procedure information. o Nearest branch: this page helps customers to find branches for NatWest that are most close to their location. They can even sort their search according to the services these branches offer and don’t offer. Another part of the template is the bottom bar containing the following: o Website terms and conditions: this contains legal information about the content used in the website. It also contains information about exclusion of liability, personal data, copyright, trade marks, advice, changes to this website, telephone calls, internet communications, Australian residents, regulatory information, and general information. o Privacy: here NatWest explains the use of cookies. They identify all types of cookies they are using and the third parties monitoring them. They even inform site visitors how to disable the cookies. o Security: here site visitors get information about how to spot common scams, how the NatWest website can protect the customers, how to protect their computers and how to report a fraud. o Affiliates (see section 3.8 Partnerships and affiliates) o Media: here there are useful links to websites for press releases and other important information for media reporters o About us: here is the history and some other recruitment information o Glossary: here the abbreviations and the terminologies are identified and explained
  7. 7. a. PERSONAL BANKING The personal banking tab is the home page of Here are the majority of the customers. Right below the main navigation bar, another navigation bar is there for quick reach of specific pages that customers might need to go to at any time. Then goes an animated pink colored banner, the site is simple and clear. Below the banner and without having to scroll down, all related services will appear in boxes with headlines and sub headlines. Basically, these services that are most used by the customers and they need to find them as soon as they log in to the website. The personal banking page is the richest page on the website. It provides all the services the customers might need. So if they want to use the online banking, they can easily click on the panel to direct them to a secure page for loging in. If they want some advice on wealth management they can click into money sense panel where they can benefit from a lot of guides and tips. Not only this, they can speak to professional advisors at any time. Another panel for the internet-based tax-free savings using the e-ISA where people can benefit of a tax free on their savings through an internet based model. Also here, visitors can find their nearest branch. On the personal banking page as well, there is another panel (under the 4 boxes) where customers can check into important links. These links are categorized by o Important Information o Help & Guides o Security and Safety o Ways to bank with us This section is absolutely a value added service to the customers. It shows a great deal of taking care of them and providing all the information they might need in their experience on the web. Finally, at the bottom of the page there is a small explanation of the key terms of the navigation (the one right below the main navigation bar).
  8. 8. b. PRIVATE BANKING The private banking is designed for customers who expect superior service, excellent products and the very best value from their bank. This is how NatWest Private Banking page welcomes its VIP customers. On this page, important customers are rewarded by exclusive benefits. They are also provided by information about products and services that develop their wealth and make the most of their banking experience. Also there is a dedicated contact us section for private customers. c. BUSINESS BANKING NatWest Business Banking is a very rich site for budding entrepreneurs. The site provides free e-courses on setting up a business plus a free of charge award-winning business software. It also provides an online library of Business Guides and expert tips and guidance on everything such as e-marketing, managing your finances, conducting a reality check on your new business idea and developing a business plan in the easiest and quickest way with the NatWest Business Planner. The business banking site is divided into 3 main parts: o Day to Day: The day to day deals with current accounts, payment management, sign up for online/phone banking, insurance and protection, international services, industry and community services and carbon offset o Borrow: The borrow part deals with business overdraft, cards, loans, financing and mortgages. o Save and invest: the save and invest part deals with instant access accounts, deposit account and bonds. On this site, more banner ads are displayed offering business services that we will talk about in section 3.2 Cross Selling
  9. 9. d. COMMERCIAL BANKING On the commercial banking page, there are 4 main sections: o Financing o Liquidity o International o Payments o Online services o Managing risk In addition, with NatWest OnLine, real-time share dealing is just a click away through the stockbroker button on A simple and easy to use share dealing service [available as part of NatWest Stockbrokers BrokerLine Service] enabling investors to place deals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During market hours, deals in over 1,000 leading UK stocks will usually be traded instantly, with deals going straight through to the market. Commission rates are competitive and investors can choose whether to hold their stock in certificates or electronically, using a nominee or CREST personal member facility, for which there are no additional set-up or ongoing costs. There is also free access to share prices, company information and market news. Very important to mention that on this micro site, there is a feedback panel asking visitors to participate in a survey about their online experience. Another panel inviting people to subscribe to a business magazine (Commercial Sense)
  10. 10. 4.0 E-CRM A recent customer relationship management (CRM) initiative by NatWest Cards required unprecedented co-operation between the bank's marketing and IT departments, according to Tony Davis, head of customer marketing for NatWest Card Services. Operations and finance teams were also involved, making project management of the CRM implementation all the more important. The company has a long-established CRM strategy, but like many types of businesses it is moving from paper, telephones, and simple computer databases to integrated, Internet-based CRM. NatWest's Davis said: "The system can be scaled for the Internet and other interactive media. For example, we're looking at the customisation of Web sites as they're used by certain individuals. Also, of course, there's email. We'd all like to ditch some of the very expensive direct marketing programmes for email marketing." To make this happen, NatWest partnered up with Prime Response Inc. which is consistently recognized as a leading integrated eMarketing Automation visionary in the fast-growing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry, with customers include blue-chip, consumer-oriented companies in the financial services, communications, retail/e-commerce and transportation and leisure areas such as AirTouch, Allianz, The Associates, British Airways, Credit Suisse, CVS, Deutsche Bank, E*TRADE, Fiat, KPN, Mattel Interactive, MediaOne, NatWest, 1-800-Flowers, and UPS. Partners include Andersen Consulting, Fair Isaac, HP, IBM, Microstrategy, SAS Institute, and Sun Microsystems. NatWest Cards is one of the first organizations to quantify the impact of deploying its CRM strategy and demonstrate a strengthened relationship with its customers. Through its use of Prime Response's (NASDAQ, EASDAQ: PRME), integrated marketing solution, Prime Vantage, NatWest Cards is capable of developing and executing one-to- one marketing programs across all customer touch points. In its initial use of the solution, NatWest Cards created targeted marketing campaigns to its customer base and early results show a healthy customer profit uplift through increased card usage. The company
  11. 11. is now able to execute more relevant and event-related marketing programs, enabling it to create a measurable difference in customer behaviour. NatWest achieved a total Return on Investment in the Prime Response product suite within one year, illustrating the success of its CRM program facilitated by implementing Prime Response's integrated marketing software solution. Tony Davis, head of customer marketing, NatWest Card Services, commented, "These initial results are critical in demonstrating to the business, evidence of the value to be created through a truly customer-centric approach. Our CRM strategy is all about recognizing customer differences and offering a unique mix of contacts and offers which motivate mutually rewarding behaviours. The Prime Vantage solution allows us to link our segmentation and segment strategies with the operating platforms, which drive customer contacts. Customers clearly appreciate it when we demonstrate an understanding of their needs and we are delighted with the early results." NatWest Cards' Customer Relationship Management strategy is increasingly seen as ground breaking in the UK, building relevant propositions and dialogue based upon its wealth of customer information. 5.0 ACHIEVING USABILITY THROUGH DISTINCTIVE DESIGN There is no wonder why is so successful. The website is carefully designed to create an experience that helps customers make sense of the products and services available to them. The design is clean and simple, combining an understanding of consumer buying habits with a simple hierarchy of navigational signage. Clear signposting for online banking, consistent link language and simple product tables all make the experience far more enjoyable. After the transformation to this new design, the results were immediate, 120% increase in account activation for Savings and 30% increase in account activation for Current Accounts.
  12. 12. 6.0 COMMUNICATION TACTICS – EXPLAINING THE SERVICES IN AN APPEALING FASHION Communicating language was very well crafted on NatWest website. Not only it is clear, accurate and transparent but also brief and very simple to understand. In addition, it is friendly, open and approachable and it engages and inspire the consumer… A lot of examples can be found, for instance: e-ISA Internet-based, tax-efficient savings Why pay tax on your savings interest? e-ISA gives you up to 3.51% AER (variable), and the taxman doesn't get a penny. Another important point that appears in NatWest communication language is the use of the terms “safe” and “secure” to assure people that their money is with good hands and to establish trust with them to invest more into the relationship. For example: Online Banking: Manage your money 24/7, using our safe and secure service 7.0 DELIVERING TRUST THROUGH BRICKS-AND-CLICKS ONLINE INTEGRATION For the people who still have limited trust with the digital medium, NatWest integrated the physical evidence clearly and boldly in their website. On the top right navigation bar for instance, there is a fixed link to a page where consumers can find their nearest branch. The same link is found on many other pages through out the website especially on the personal banking page.
  13. 13. In addition to the “find your nearest branch” page, visitors can always find toll-free numbers where they can call for any reason. There are also professional advisers a phone call away for people who need long term help managing their finances. 8.0 PARTNERSHIPS AND CROSS SELLING Partnerships are an important part of today’s marketing mix. The same is true online. Resources must be devoted to managing your online partners. Many large organizations have specific staff to manage these relationshops. In smaller organizations it is often neglected – a big missed opportunity. There are three key types of online partnerships that need to be managed: o Link-building o Affiliate marketing o Online sponsorships All should involve a structured approach to managing links through to your site. (E-marketing Excellence by Dave Chaffey, page 310) Link-building: NatWest is listed at the top results in most search engines. Thanks to the leading quality links to the website. NatWest link is available in most financial related websites in the UK, for instance and place information about NatWest including a link to the NatWest website. Also NatWest is available in many price comparison portals including Yahoo Finance. Affiliates marketing: NatWest established an Affiliate Programme inviting people to become part of its ongoing success in providing financial services to the millions that use them. This programme offers a wide range of products and services for Personal, Business and Corporate customers. There is no cost in becoming an affiliate and what affiliates need to do to earn extra revenue is to promote NatWest products & services on their website. Benefits are summarized below: • Earn extra revenue • Easy to sign-up • Choice of product
  14. 14. Online Sponsorships: Where it was hard for us to track the pure online sponsorships of NatWest, it was quite obvious that NatWest throughout the years has signed many sponsorship agreements including pure online and mixed (online and offline). For instance NatWest was the main sponsor for the India vs England cricket series broadcasted on multichannel TVs and on google videos. Also NatWest organizes and sponsors the Islands Games with a purpose of bringing the Islands together for the benefit of sport and for the continuing personal development of everyone concerned. Moreover, has teamed up with one of the biggest names in the Internet world - Yahoo! UK & Ireland - plus IBM and BT - to bring banking and Internet services together in one place, including: • Free Internet banking for NatWest personal and small business customers, where customers can still use branches, telephone banking and cash machines • Real-time Internet share-dealing for any private investor, as a part of NatWest Stockbrokers' Brokerline Service1, where investors didn't have to bank with NatWest • Free Internet access with NatWest OnLine with a NatWest/Yahoo! home page,, giving customers the choice of banking online and surfing the Internet from just one location • Access to My Yahoo! (voted Financial Times Website of the Decade) - where customers can personalise their home page so that all your favourite information is displayed as soon as they log on, including their NatWest account balance(s) and five most recent transactions. NatWest is the first bank in Europe to offer this service • Access to Yahoo! Finance where customers can view their account balance(s) and last 25 transactions • Yahoo! UK and Ireland's web guide and news headlines, and customers can access all the other Yahoo! services such as e-mail, share prices and sport. Moreover, in 2001, NatWest signed a partnership with Internet company to provide a domain name registration option to the bank's SME customers, at a discount rate. - a Verisign company - offered NatWest SME customers a full domain name registration service at a 15 per cent discount.
  15. 15. NatWest has also provided the SME’s the BusinessEdge (NWBE) service, which was launched in June 2000. The NWBE provides its existing 850,000 business customers with support required to enable their online business, offering them email and a guide to e- business and website services. Going back to cross selling, it is important to note how significantly the NatWest website is designed to deliver the service required by the customers and at the same time cross selling other products and services like insurance, credit cards, loans, tax-free e-accounts (cash ISA), security software (Rapport, from the financial security experts at Trusteer) and professional consultancy. 9.0 CONCLUSIONS After looking deep into the NatWest website, we can conclude the following key findings that were crucial for the success of NatWest: o The website’s design is clean and simple, combining an understanding of consumer buying habits with a simple hierarchy of navigational signage o Not only the website provides essential online banking services like account details, transfer…etc, but also it provides valuable financial advice that helps customers making decisions and managing their wealth o The commitment to lead in innovation and technology to provide convenience to its customers. The CRM initiative is a good example. o NatWest was able to leverage the online experience of the site visitors by providing extra services and products that each target segment most probably will need at a certain time. Also very important that many services and guides are provided for free. o Their integrated physical proof gives people the trust to pursue online banking at ease o NatWest were very successful in establishing partnerships and relationships that were valuable to their customers. Yahoo is a great example. In addition, their affiliate programme helps promoting NatWest products online in an efficient way. o The tone of communication on site engages with customers in a friendly way, making reading through the website an enjoyable experience
  16. 16. 10.0 RECOMMENDATIONS NatWest needs to engage passive site visitors. The is established with valuable links and well optimized for most search engines. This means, a lot of potential subscribers might be visiting the website to read through the information presented. However, the website doesn’t actually engage with those visitors. A newsletter subscription would be a great idea. First, we need to encourage visitors to register using rewards and prizes and then build a profiled data base of people who we can push promotional messages and customize offers to cater their specific needs. The important attribute of this idea is that these people are really interested in such service, because they chose to click on the NatWest website.
  17. 17. 11.0 BIBLIOGRAPHY e-Business and e-Commerce Management (third edition) by Dave Chaffey eMarketing eXcellence: Planning and Optimising Your Digital Marketing (Emarketing Essentials) (third edition) by Dave Chaffey 12.0 REFERENCES,39024673,11015311,00.htm [Accessed 21/3/2009] e&c=news&ss=date [Accessed 21/3/2009] [Accessed 21/3/2009] PC?DCMP=ILC-BETASEARCH [Accessed 21/3/2009] [Accessed 21/3/2009] startupFURL [Accessed 21/3/2009] [Accessed 21/3/2009] [Accessed 21/3/2009]
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