Putting customers at the heart of The Co-operative Bank


An innovative focus on ethics, honesty and a transparent customer experience delivered award-winning and dramatic results for The Co-operative Bank.

The results

90% increase in credit card applications
325% increase in current account page visits
NPS increased by +5.9 (21 points above expectation)
‘Loving Your Customer’ award at the UK Financial Services Experience Awards

The challenge: alignment

At the outset of this project to transform The Co-operative Bank’s online customer experience, Head of Digital Martin Sheerin was resolute; things go better when you align your organisation with your customers’ needs. Amazing for us to hear! But customer-centricity is hard to enact when teams work in silos – even if you are an ‘ethical’ bank.

The bank had also experienced reputational difficulties and our project attracted a lot of internal attention.

The solution

Our initial research convinced us that the Co-op Bank had to shift its focus from sales to service. We distilled our findings into a set of three principles that guided the design of a new online banking journey:

  • Transparent
  • Simple
  • Reassuring

Rather than slogans dreamt up by a marketing agency, these principles emerged from the intersection of customer research, the bank’s core values ("Listening and caring about what matters to you") and the spirit of the FCA's mission ("...to ensure firms have their customers at the heart of how they do business").

To deliver an experience that embodied these principles, we knew we would have to bring everyone involved on the journey with us; from commercial, product and compliance teams to senior stakeholders.

In doing so, we exposed the evidence for our customer-centred design decisions and created an audit trail showing that we were acting in customers' best interests.

  • The exclamation mark is useful, they let you know when you will be charged.
  • Definitions are very helpful, explains all the financial jargon.
  • It was easy, straightforward, not long winded.

By fostering cross-functional working relationships from the start and working with an iterative design method that involved the right people at the right time, we helped Martin build trust between the compliance and commercial teams and gain confidence from the wider business.

During rigorous validation testing of our new journeys, customers - without prompting - used the words ‘transparency, ‘simplicity’ and ‘reassuring’. After launch, the commercial benefits were quickly realised too, with conversions and the Net Promoter Score increasing beyond expectation.

We’ve had fantastic feedback from our customers and business for whom this project will provide ongoing value.
Martin Sheerin, Head of Digital - The Co-operative Bank
Stu Charlton

Let's discuss your challenge

Contact Stu Charlton: stu.charlton@cxpartners.co.uk

Or read more about how we help our clients innovate in the financial services sector.