Be Inspired Series
Self Service Representative
Christine’s 20 year career has seen her take on several roles, from cashier in Hillsborough branch to team member of Customer Direct,beforerecently taking up her current role in the Lisburn branch
What does your job entail?
My role is to help all our customers in Lisburn branch understand and utilise the different services available to them to improve their overall banking experience. I promote any form of self service banking including express deposits, ATMs, telephone banking and online banking. All of these services are aimed at making banking more convenient for customers, whatever their needs and providing choice and freedom as to how, when and where they do their banking.
A key part of my role is assisting customers to learn more about the benefits of using these services. I offer customers short demonstrations of how our online banking service, eBanking, works, helping to remove the fear factor some people have. Most customers quickly adopt online banking when shown how easy it is to use and how much faster and convenient it is. For example, a customer can make a bill payment at home through eBanking in two minutes. That's a real tangible benefit that customers can appreciate. Another important aspect of my role is working with local businesses and showing how using Business eBanking can radically improve how they run their business, from accessing real time account information to real efficiencies through more effective cash management.
How did you get into this line of work?
When Northern Bank became part of the Danske Bank Group in 2005, I moved from the branch network into Customer Direct, working within a specialist team providing services enabling customers to access and manage their finances at their own convenience. I also worked in customer eBanking support which gave me great knowledge of the online banking system. Both these positions have been key to my success in my current role.
What changes have you seen in how people do their banking over the years?
The digitalisation of society has had a significant impact on the way we pay for goods and services. For example, we no longer buy goods with cheques, instead opting for cards or online payment methods and most people now get their wages paid directly into their account.
Ten years ago online banking didn't exist. Today more and more people are choosing to do everyday banking such as checking their balance, paying bills or transferring money online. We also now live in a 24/7 society where people are increasingly time pressured and want round the clock access to their accounts. At Northern Bank we are very proud of our leading edge internet banking and we have evolved our services to meet these needs and there is no doubt that the use of technology and the internet particularly in banking, will accelerate in the years to come.
Is banking becoming less personal as more and more people use online banking?
Banking will always revolve around people and relationships. However customer needs are changing and the nature of the interaction has been enhanced. We're finding that people are using our branch network for face to face advice on their more complex banking needs, whilst using self service channels for things they can easily do themselves.
It's all about choice and convenience. Some customers like to use online or telephone banking but others prefer to use the branch. We want to enable our customers to bank with us in the most convenient and efficient way possible for them.
Certainly we find that businesses are adopting online banking in large numbers, but interestingly we're also finding that our older customers are the most likely to become active eBanking users.
What makes working in your industry interesting and challenging?
The most interesting and rewarding aspect of my job is helping people. I get real satisfaction working with local businesses in Lisburn. Some businesses register for eBanking but many don't utilise it fully. Part of my interest comes from understanding the business needs and showing how eBanking can really make a difference. The challenge is often to remove the fear some people have of new technology, reassuring them that it's both easy and secure.
The best way is to show people and guide them through step by step, enabling them to learn at their own pace. Recently I met quite an elderly customer who, by her own admission, didn't know much about the internet nor did she have a desire to learn about it. When I talked through the benefits around making online transactions securely and keeping an eye on her account, she wanted to learn more and now banks online.
What does the future hold in your field?
The future is multi-channel banking, providing different platforms and services to suit customers' needs. On some occasions customers will want to use telephone banking to quickly transfer funds or access their eBanking account to pay a bill.
Other times, customers will want to come into their branch for an appointment to get specialist advice or use the area set aside in branches for self service banking. It's about providing more convenience for customers so they are empowered to make choices about how they bank and manage their finances in a way that fits with their lifestyle or business needs.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my 15 year old son and I try to incorporate regular exercise through walking. I also have a passion for good food and wine.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I have toured France on the back of a motorbike with a friend. This was a tremendous adventure which started from Cherbourg right down to Provence and allowed me to see some spectacular sights and indulge my passion for good food and wine.