Santander UK helps more businesses prosper with Salesforce. (2023)

Santander’s purpose is simple: to help people and businesses prosper. As a customer-focused bank, it has always placed a strong emphasis on building and maintaining relationships. And with digitalisation, Santander has taken relationship management to a completely new level -especially for its corporate and commercial banking customers.

“We would like to anticipate our customers’ needs by getting to know them better,” said Jonathan Holman, Head of Digital Transformation, Corporate & Commercial Banking, Santander UK. “With Salesforce, we can bring greater insight to our customer relationships and interactions. Our teams can now see every request, complaint, and opportunity connected to a customer on a single dashboard instead of having to consult multiple systems.” This has helped to free up around 10-15 hours per relationship team, per week.

Digital onboarding process cuts account opening times by 80%.

Santander UK’s corporate and commercial banking teams offer financial services products to corporates and SMEs from startup to £500 million turnover. It has 615 branches, 60 corporate business centres, and an SME market share of 4.5%.

Santander has embarked on a multi-year digital transformation programme that will optimise its processes, empower its teams, and enrich customer experiences. The onboarding journey for new corporate and commercial customers has already changed beyond recognition. “On average it now takes just two days to open a corporate banking account compared with 12 days previously,” commented Holman. “The process is 100% digital; we’ve gone from using 39 different documents to just one dynamic online form.”

Santander provides corporates and SMEs with faster access to loans.

The rapid and seamless onboarding process for new corporate and commercial banking customers is underpinned by a number of cloud-based solutions, including Salesforce, DocuSign, and nCino. “We’ve implemented best-in-class SaaS providers for core capabilities, such as CRM,” said Holman. “We selected Salesforce because it understands the financial services sector and has the functionality roadmap to enable us to move forward together.”

Santander used the same SaaS ecosystem to transform its multi-billion pound corporate and commercial lending operation. With teams using 13 disparate systems as well as some manual processes, it used to take corporates and SMEs up to 90 days to receive their loan.

By leveraging the nCino Bank Operating System, which is built on Salesforce and available on the Salesforce AppExchange, Santander can now ensure data continuity at every stage of the lending approval cycle - from the opportunity being logged in Sales Cloud through to the loan letter being digitally signed by the customer. “By digitalising and automating the lending process, we can execute faster, which benefits our colleagues and our customers,” explained Holman. “As a result our end-to-end processing times have been materially reduced.”

Supporting customers through difficult times.

The bank’s ability to react and execute quickly was put to the test during the Covid-19 pandemic when demand for commercial lending dramatically increased. In the space of just a couple of weeks, Santander received 900 loan requests from its corporate and commercial customers and tens of thousands more from small businesses under the UK government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

All new loan requests are logged, categorised, and tracked in Sales Cloud, which simplifies reporting for regulators and the bank’s management team. “Our digital ecosystem made it much easier for us to adapt our processes. Within two days of getting the loan letter template approved by our legal team, we had it configured on our lending and fulfilment platforms,” explained Holman.

Santander UK helps more businesses prosper with Salesforce. (1)

The data in Salesforce will help us anticipate our customer needs and bring greater automation and personalisation to our banking services. We want to empower our relationship management teams to provide the best possible customer experiences and the best possible outcomes.”

The data in Salesforce will help us anticipate our customer needs and bring greater automation and personalisation to our banking services. We want to empower our relationship management teams to provide the best possible customer experiences and the best possible outcomes.”

Responding to unexpected peaks in demand.

There was also an increase in demand for capital repayment holidays: Santander normally responds to around 50 requests per week - this rose to an average of 500 during the pandemic. “With Salesforce, we can meet our customers’ needs faster and respond to market changes faster,” said Holman.

As with any digital process, Santander needs to ensure the integrity of customer and financial data. With Salesforce Shield, it can encrypt confidential company data and personal details during the onboarding and lending journey, which aids compliance with GDPR.

Empowering service teams to work more flexibility and respond more intelligently.

As well as adapting its lending processes, Santander needed to mobilise its people - especially its 130-strong service team - to work remotely. As Sales Cloud, nCino, and DocuSign are all cloud-based solutions, Santander’s teams can access them from any location, which makes it easier for the bank to operate remotely while still providing an optimal service to its customers.

“With Salesforce, our teams are empowered to work anytime, anywhere and from any device,” commented Holman. “Mobile access helped to spread the load on our virtual private network during peaks in demand.”

To enable some colleagues to work remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, Santander also had to make its telephony features available via VOIP. “With Service Cloud, our service teams were already set up for success as it’s hosted in the cloud and offers great uptime,” added Holman.

Nurturing customer relationships with value-added services.

The service team handle around 26,000 customer interactions a month and work closely with the bank’s 600 relationship managers and directors. All of these interactions are categorised and logged in Service Cloud, which provides the bank with a wealth of management information. This means Santander can identify recurring issues, which will support its plans to introduce secure messaging to help to reduce call volumes.

“We want our service team to have the time to nurture customer relationships and provide value-added services,” explained Holman. “With Service Cloud, we can achieve greater operational elegance and ensure we respond to customer requests and complaints in agreed timescales.”

The service team uses Chatter to collaborate with their sales and relationship management colleagues on open customer cases. This has been particularly useful with an increase in remote working at the bank.

Communicating with customers at scale and with speed.

The relationship management team also have visibility of any communications sent to their customers, for example event invites or interest rate notifications. “With Pardot, we can communicate with our corporate and commercial banking customers more intelligently and at scale,” said Holman. “It’s been particularly useful when we’ve needed to get messages out quickly to different customer segments.”

Capturing richer data around customer relationships will be key as Santander continues on its digital transformation journey. “The data in Salesforce will help us anticipate our customer needs and bring greater automation and personalisation to our banking services,” explained Holman. “We want to empower our relationship management teams to provide the best possible customer experiences and the best possible outcomes.”

Santander delivers on its digital ambitions with Salesforce.

The bank already has a great reputation: in 2019, Santander’s NPS score put it in first place for business and corporate customer satisfaction. As Santander continues to add new digital functionality, such as automated email routing and caller recognition within its service centre, customers can expect an even richer experience.

“With Salesforce, we can accelerate our digital ambitions and tap into new integration and automation opportunities that will help us to continue to provide the financial services that corporates and SMEs need to prosper,” said Holman.

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