Cognisco helps a World Leading Bank to improve part of their customer service operation

A leading global bank and financial services provider operating in more than 45 countries and employing over 140,000 staff worldwide.

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“Operating with sophisticated products, services and processes, in a regulated and highly competitive environment is a constant challenge for any organisation tasked with delivering consistently excellent customer service. Couple that with pressure coming in the form of consumer comparison sites and league tables, a media all too keen to expose any possible chink in your armour and an ever vigilant and increasingly litigious regulator, it’s easy to understand why so many well-known and high profile organisations, are placing increasingly urgent  emphasis on uncovering the hidden gaps in what staff really understand about the day to day processes and procedures of their role and why those gaps have such a pernicious impact on them simply getting the basics right”.

Alex Poppleton – CEO Cognisco PLC.

About the Company:

A leading global Bank and Financial Services provider operating in more than 45 countries and employing over 140,000 staff worldwide. 

The Key Objective:

To be the first choice for the consumer by leading with Customer Service Excellence. Call Centre Operations (UK & India) were the initial focus of the project with an intention to extend the programme across the Branch Network.

The Challenge:

Despite continual investment in training, e-learning and knowledge management, staff members were still making small but consistent errors in handling basic customer queries, resulting in dissatisfied customers and increased operational costs and inefficiencies.

Who had the challenge? 

Senior Directors, responsible for the performance of Direct Channels were the key stakeholders but internal service providers from Knowledge, Talent, Learning and Development were also key to the programme’s success.

Cognisco Provided:

Expert Occupational Psychologists, Consultancy and a unique and penetrative Situational Judgement Assessment Process to:

  • Assess – identify training and coaching needs.
  • Identify – broken and complex processes and gaps in the training.
  • Act – grow personal bankers to be expert advisors to improve customer experience.
  • Reassess – measure effectiveness of the training and to increase understanding scores by 20%.
  • Collaboratively design and review the original knowledge and talent insight question set to identify appropriate sets of questions in terms of functional relevance and subject matter.
  • Provide reporting which identifies specific areas for targeted interventions including: banking enquiries, debit interest, direct debits, guaranteed transaction fees, transferring money, standing orders, queries and complaints and personal reserve usage fees.
  • Expose previously “invisible” and insidious gaps in each individual’s real level of understanding about how to apply the knowledge provided in training, to ensure they were able to respond to and resolve the customer queries accurately and efficiently, while meeting the process and policy requirements of the Global Retail Bank consistently.
  • Advice on a redesign of interventions (remedial actions), training approaches, tools and materials to ensure they more adequately met the needs and objectives of the staff and the business.
  • Transfer the required skills and knowledge to enable the in-house team to author and develop their own tools, resources and assessments.
  • Provide on-going validation and advisory to ensure accuracy of the approach and alignment to the company’s operational and strategic objective.
  • A global approach to standardising best practice.

Deploy a single platform (my*KNOW) that provides a lens on existing Knowledge & Learning systems which enables

  • Staff to

o   Access and take the regular and required assessments in bite-sized modules in an easy and convenient way which more suited their work pattern.

o   More easily and quickly, find and access relevant and accurate support, knowledge and training materials.

o   Track and monitor their own learning and development progress.

  • The Knowledge and Learning and Development Team to

o   Review and remodel existing tools and resources and develop new ones certain that they will consistently and accurately meet the specific needs of the staff, the operational demands of the business and are continually in line with the corporate strategic objective.

o   Provide Staff access to the knowledge and learning that already exists in a manner which Staff find easy to find, use and engage with.

o   Use the specific and empirical data and evidence to more accurately plan and budget for future training and development needs.

o   Roll-out changes in policy and procedure more effectively and more efficiently.

  • The Business to

o   Gain an immediate benchmark and specific understanding of what each individual staff member truly understands about each key area or topic and what and where the hidden issues and gaps are that require remedial action.

o   Address and fix the previously hidden gaps in employee understanding that were leading to the continual errors in handling customer queries.

o   Ensure that all new employees were more rapidly and comprehensively “on-boarded”.

o   See and understand emergent trends or gaps in knowledge and understanding that may pose a risk to the Customer Service provided.

o   Easily and conveniently track, monitor, manage and report on staff training and development needs on a specific, individual and team basis.

o   Get more value from their already significant investment in e-learning, training and Knowledge Management resources.

o   Extend the success in the Call Centre operation across their Branch network ensuring a consistent Customer Experience across all channels.

Business Benefits:

  • More effective use of coaching and development time.
  • More and better use of existing Learning & Development and Knowledge Management Resources.
  • Faster more effective and efficient roll out of new policies and procedures.
  • Demonstrable improvement in Staff understanding of key focus areas.
  • Visibility and Transparency of progress and potential issues at team and individual level.
  • Multi-level, Global and real-time reporting.
  • Improved employee engagement.
  • A framework for continual improvement.
  • Benchmarking best practice.
  • An objective measure for ROI.
  • A unique approach to assessment – A Situational Judgement scenario based approach.

my*KNOW Benefits:

  • A skills gap analysis to identify additional tactical and strategic Personal Banker training.
  • Accurate information to establish a training budget in a more systematic way, rather than simply using the previous year’s budget with an increase for inflation.
  • Provision for clear documentation and recording of eLearning, product information and new processes and regulatory standards.
  • Accurate information for tactical resourcing decisions to enable strategic HR planning such as succession planning, demographic profiling and identification of recruitment requirements.
  • Opportunities to identify cost and time savings through effective use of staff resources.
  • Accurate information to identify the transferability of expertise across different business units.
  • The recording of specific competency levels for development purposes that provide an organisational picture for training and Personal Banker self-development.
  • Alignment to organisational and Personal Banker key performance indicators that can be mapped to competency and assessment records to monitor trends in the effectiveness of specific interventions in response to organisational requirements.


  • Overall average understanding increased by 20% which met the Company’s objective.
  • Over 2,000 Call Centre Staff across UK & India are now using my*KNOW to achieve Customer Service Excellence; and will soon roll out to its Branch network.
  • New areas being assessed and developed on an on-going basis.
  • After a successful pilot stage, out of 2,034 Personal Banking Advisors, 23 UK and 6 India Advisors achieved above standard in all topics – previously there were none.
  • Direct Debits had the largest average increase in understanding, a +15 point score increase from an understanding of +48 to an understanding of +64, along with a confidence increase of 5 to 88.
  • Banking Enquiries and Debit Interest saw increased understanding of +10 and +11.
  • 5.7% of Advisors were identified as having ‘Misunderstanding’ – that’s 122 Advisors.

The highest understanding and confidence are Debit Interest (Understanding +83 & Confidence 92) and Returned Transaction Fees (Understanding +81 & Confidence 93).

Project Steps:

  1. Agree initial area for assessment
  2. Build and Design specific Situational Judgement Assessment
  3. Pilot 200 Call Centre Staff and Trainers
  4. Review and audit existing learning tools and Knowledge Management provision
  5. Review results and remodel Assessment
  7. Connect to existing learning tools and Knowledge Management Resources
  8. Align existing internal benchmarks and KPIs
  9. Define and create management reports
  10. Roll out to 2,000 Call Centre Staff
  11. Begin planning for extension to Branch Roll Out

Cognisco Products and Services Used:

  • Consultancy & Occupational Psychologists
  • Situational Judgement Assessment Methodology
  • my*KNOW
  • Question Bank
  • Authoring, Training & Validation

Contact to request the full case study and find out how Cognisco can support your organisation.