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Jane Streat, Head of Client Services at Lexington Reception Services, finds out how the ‘Virgin Money Lounge is taking customer experience to a new level.

Imagine creating a space where your customers can go and relax, enjoy amenities, interact, feel part of a community. The space is about banking, but no banking actually takes place. I wanted to understand more about Virgin Money’s latest innovation, the inspiration behind it and see how it supports customer service. Here, Bill Percy, Customer Experience Director at Virgin Money, shares all.

Virgin Money Lounges are… Our way of showing how different banking can be. We’ve taken a service-orientated approach, we want customers to feel happy about visiting our lounges and it’s a touch-point for our brand. These are places where customers can unwind and local community groups can meet up.

Long lasting customer relationships… We wanted to move from a traditional and transactional ‘in and out’ bank model, to create something much deeper than that. These spaces are geared to build deeper and longer-lasting customer relationships. “While attractive products are important to customers, a servicerich environment can deliver real differentiation.”

Coming up with the idea… There’s an interesting story of serendipity in the first lounge. Virgin Money moved offices in Edinburgh and there was this fantastic space. Whilst most companies probably would have used it for their boardroom our Chief Executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, felt customers should reap the benefits. From there, the ‘lounge’ concept was born.

Tailoring the experience… Each lounge is designed with a sense of place and aims to be an active participant in the life of its city. In this sector (banking) where trust has taken a battering, the Virgin Money Lounge promotes a powerful beacon of how different banking can be. Whilst customers can enquire about services and do online banking via the iPads we supply, we don’t sell products or conduct any banking as such in the lounge – it’s more about experiencing a different side of the relationship and brand.

The passion shines through…Our colleagues are fantastic and go out of their way to provide amazing customer experiences, making sure every interaction counts. In addition to that, our lounges are thoughtfully designed, comfortable, contemporary spaces and our customers love them.

It’s a really simple model… but the magic is executing it brilliantly. A large part of what my team provides is customer research and insight. We take great pride in listening to our customers and acting on what’s said.

On winning the ‘Satisfaction Innovation of the Year Award’… It’s down to the strength of our ‘Voice of the Customer’ programme. We take a very thorough and professional approach when listening to our customers. We are rigorous and passionate in interpreting their feedback – and we produce actionable insights from it.

Bill Percy, Customer Experience Director, at Virgin Money says, “We’re seeing a real difference in the way we do business as a result of listening to our customers – and crucially, our customers can see it too.”

Focusing on the future… We strive to continuously improve our digital capability to make it easier for customers to access Virgin Money products and services through their mobile devices. We’ve seen real success with this – our website is the most popular channel for customers.

But we still need to be mindful that many customers want face-to-face interaction too – which is why we continue to invest in our network of stores and lounges.

Virgin Money’s secret to great customer service

Attitude is key: A genuinely positive and happy attitude always shines through

Remember that all situations are different: All customers are unique and so are your colleagues

• Design products and processes to help colleagues to be the very best they can be


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