RBS Wants To Regain Its Customers’ Trust, After The Dark Days Of The Financial Crisis

Over the period of last ten years or so, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has seen its reputation take a battering.

Nearly 73 percent of the bank is still owned by the taxpayer after having being bailed out by the U.K. government during the global financial crisis in 2008. And now the bank is focusing on the future almost ten years on.

“RBS is probably the poster child of the financial crisis and we’re well aware of the mistakes we made in the past,” David Wheldon, chief marketing officer of RBS, said during a television show.

“We’re well aware of the legacy issues, but that was the bank that we once were,” he added. “We’re focussing on the bank we are today and the bank we want to be in the future. And what we want to be is the ‘most preferred’ bank.”

The customer and its customer facing brands will be the complete focus of the bank, Wheldon added.

With respect to customer service, trust and advocacy, RBS wanted to become number one by 2020, Wheldon said. But would it be possible for the bank to achieve its ambition of becoming the most trusted bank? Wheldon said that although challenges clearly remained, it certainly was.

“It’s certainly a stretching target because…if you look at RBS, it is still the least trusted brand in the least trusted sector,” he explained. An important part of the process is focusing on customer facing brands such as NatWest and Ulster Bank.

“By doing this… we’ve really been able to get our staff focussed again on customer facing brands, leaving RBS behind us, because that was the global brand that we were attempting to build before it went wrong.”

The slogan “we are what we do” used in a recent ad campaign for NatWest is an example. From the caring nature of a parent carrying a sleeping child to hooligans kicking tables and chairs, a black and white film showed various types of human behavior.

The film, according to Wheldon, showcases a way of getting permission to be heard again, and the ad was something of a mea culpa for the bank.

“Inside there as well is the human truth: we’re all what we have done, we’re all what we will do,” he said. “We’re no different,” he added. “We are what we do, so it was an admission of fault and an invitation to hold us to account, and our customers do exactly that.”

He wanted RBS to be trusted again, Wheldon said looking to the future.

“We’ve rebuilt pride internally and that’s a really important thing for us because at its heart our strategy is… (to) engage our colleagues,” he added.

“If we engage our colleagues and motivate them they’ll service our customers well. If we do that well enough, our customers will advocate us. And there’s a beautiful virtuous circle there that will lead us to number one.”

(Adapted from CNBC)


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