Redefining Service and Innovation: How Nest Bank’s Strategy Challenges Conventions
Keeping up with the digital age and rising client expectations places a premium on innovation in the banking industry. Especially for a bank, where trust is crucial, ensuring operational security and protecting customer data is fundamental. Concurrently, a dedication to sustainable development and social responsibility is vital, as are improvements in customer service and the provision of distinctive, individualised experiences.
First Vice President of the Management Board, Distribution and Business Development Division (Chief Commercial Officer, CCO)
Nest Bank has developed a unique position in the banking sector, revolutionising old practises with cutting-edge pricing, sales, and customer service approaches driven by Janusz Miloszyk's inventive leadership. Discover how Nest Bank, led by Miloszyk, uses technological advances and cloud-based approaches to compete with larger competitors while maintaining a competitive edge despite its smaller physical presence.
What makes Nest Bank Poland stand out as an innovator in the financial services sector?
In cloud technologies, based on public cloud solutions, we were among the first in the industry to adopt them. Currently, almost all of our operations take place in this modern environment. The degree of cloud adoption in our organization is truly phenomenal, which allows us to constantly innovate and supports the efficiency of our work.
As a leader in mobile payments, we offer almost a full set of mobile payments available in Poland. Our customers can pay in a way that is most convenient for them (Apple Pay, BLIK P2P, Garmin Pay, Google Pay, Swatch Pay, Xiaomi Pay). In addition, what sets us apart is a payment ecosystem with a dedicated NestPOS (a SoftPOS type application, offered in collaboration with PayTel), which allows converting a phone into a payment terminal. We also offer a virtual card that is almost as functional as a plastic one, but available in an innovative, digital form and on a “right away” basis.
Our collaboration with Visa opened the door for us to further product innovations. As the first bank in the world, we implemented Visa Mobile payments integrated with online and mobile banking. We were also the first in Poland to offer foreign transfers via Visa B2B Connect. This is evidence that reputable organisations, such as Visa, appreciate our skills and choose us as a partner to implement innovative projects.
We also stand out when it comes to the remote account opening process. We were among the first in the Polish market to introduce video verification, followed by a modern process that allows opening both corporate and personal accounts using a selfie (incidentally, the first such process implemented in the cloud). Two weeks ago, we also introduced an option for document verification through its electronic layer, and soon another method will be added – the mCitizen application. All this to make our services even more accessible and convenient.
Can you share an example of how your bank has disrupted the traditional banking model to offer something new to your clients?
In a way, we are rebels in the banking industry. Our innovative approach to pricing and sales, as well as our high level of customer service, set new standards. Despite a reduced network of branches, we are technologically at the forefront, and our business model sends strong price signals to the market.
Agility is our middle name. We are not afraid to make bold decisions, such as transitioning to the cloud. As a result, despite our smaller scale, we can operationally match the banking giants, and our cloud solutions allow us to quickly implement innovations.
We also successfully utilize modern, technologically advanced tools for managing communication with customers, such as SalesForce Marketing Automation. It’s a cloud tool with built-in AI features that allow us to reach customers faster and more efficiently. We are growing in the field of artificial intelligence and use it both in marketing processes and make it available to employees. Our ‘nest’ chat GPT – named Eagle Owl, answers all questions related to the bank’s internal documentation. Banking law, internal regulations, procedures – whatever it is, Puchacz knows the answer, and we can save time.
But that’s not all. We also strive to stand out with our fresh, original communication. Animated advertising spots catch attention (we are the only ones doing such a thing on the Polish market), as does the promise of “0 permanently.” We focus on originality in every aspect of our business – we don’t just want to, but we truly stand out from the competition.
How do you measure the success of an innovative project or service?
We primarily measure our successes through the satisfaction of our customers. We are an organization for which the voice of the customer is paramount. Beyond being a technologically advanced bank, we also want to be perceived as a reliable business partner. That’s why we closely monitor all functionalities and listen to our customers’ voices. Technology allows us to collect customer feedback much more efficiently than would have been possible a few years ago. This includes functions such as crawling comments gathered on the Internet, rapid analysis of incoming calls through voice to text, and sentiment analysis after delivering a marketing campaign. All of this provides us with additional insights into how our customers perceive us, and we use this information to continuously improve.
Additionally, in almost every process, we check satisfaction by measuring both CES (Customer Effort Score) and NPS (Net Promoter Score). Before any major implementation, we conduct research with customers, and we have an internal UX/UI team that, besides designing solutions to be as intuitive as possible, also conducts in-depth, individual interviews with users.
Thus, high satisfaction confirmed by studies, comments on social media or in the App Store and Google Play, as well as high CES and NPS indicators, are our most important business measures. Along with user satisfaction come other, more tangible indicators. Customer satisfaction is our ultimate goal, and with it, at some point, comes a positive P&L.
Can you describe a time when an innovative initiative didn’t go as planned and how the organization learned from it?
Sometimes we come across a product that simply doesn’t work the way we’d like it to. We don’t get discouraged; instead, we try to improve it by tweaking small elements. It’s essential to remember that innovations don’t always succeed immediately, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good solution.
Patience is key when working on innovations, but also the ability to recognize when it’s time to let go. Sometimes it’s just not worth wasting more time and energy – one should apply some game theory and consider whether further actions make sense.
Our journey to digital transformation hasn’t always been smooth. In banking, many functionalities promoted by banks colloquially “didn’t catch on.” Perhaps they are still waiting for their moment due to slow adoption and, perhaps, changes in user habits.
What role do partnerships, perhaps with FinTech companies or educational institutions, play in your innovation strategy?
Examples of our collaboration with fintechs illustrate how dynamically we are developing our activities. One aspect of cooperation with partners is acquisition, where we benefit from the databases and perks provided by our partners such as Allegro, Empik, Ikea, and many others.
We are also open to innovations, as evidenced by the introduction of new solutions like NestPos, which we implemented in collaboration with PayTel. Thanks to the dedicated NestPos, we have created a tool that is affordable, eco-friendly, and above all, functional because it allows transforming a phone into a payment terminal without the need for additional devices. Our cooperation with Identt, on the other hand, enables us to utilize modern technologies in the field of identification, which is another step towards building the future of finance.
How is Nest Bank adapting to the shift towards digital and mobile banking?
At Nest Bank, we actively respond to the growing demand from customers for online banking services. To meet their expectations, we invest in the development and improvement of our online banking platform and mobile application, which are becoming increasingly intuitive and functional. Moreover, we introduce innovative solutions, such as contactless payments using smartphones, biometric security systems, and chatbots for customer service. We were the first in the world to implement Visa Mobile, and onboarding with a selfie, introduced in November of last year, allows opening an account in less than 10 minutes. We also emphasize the education of our customers regarding online transaction security. On the occasion of Cybersecurity Month, we created a special tab on the website, and we also educate customers about the methods of operation used by fraudsters. Thanks to these actions, we not only adapt to changes in the industry, but we are also at the forefront of trendsetters when it comes to digital and mobile banking.
From your pespective, what are the most significant trends shaping the future of retail banking?
In today’s dynamically developing financial world, we observe several key trends that are gaining importance. Among them, artificial intelligence must be mentioned first, enabling the development of increasingly advanced and personalized solutions. Thanks to AI, we can better understand the needs of our customers and provide them with products and services that are perfectly tailored to their expectations.
Through strategic partnerships and using the databases and benefits from our partners, we are able to expand our offer and provide even more advantages to our customers. Collaboration with various companies, such as Allegro, Empik, or Ikea, allows us to reach a wider audience and build stronger relationships with customers.
An extremely important element we focus on is the quality and customer service model. We strive to ensure that every interaction with our bank is as positive as possible. We constantly improve our procedures to meet the growing expectations of our customers and provide them with the highest level of service.
Sales and analytics based on prevailing customer trends are other key areas for us. We develop modern sales strategies based on deep data analysis and customer behavior. This allows us to create tailor-made offers and precise targeting, which results in greater effectiveness of our actions.
All these trends are interconnected and aim to create a better, more innovative, and customer-centric business model that will allow us to maintain a competitive advantage in the market.
Are there any global banking trends that you think will not apply to the Polish market?
At Nest, we enthusiastically and determinedly take on the challenges of implementing new technologies and developing innovative applications. Such an attitude and a drive for continuous modernization have allowed us to achieve significant successes and establish our position in the market. Over time, our offer has continuously expanded, and the technologies we use have evolved to meet the growing expectations of users.
However, the world does not stand still, and we constantly look around for innovative trends and solutions. It is worth noting the Brazilian NuBank here, which is an excellent example of how groundbreaking a business model can be. This company has gained recognition for its unique approach to banking, emphasizing simplicity, transparency, and service accessibility.
For us, observing and analyzing the activities of entities such as NuBank provides a valuable lesson and inspiration. It allows us to understand the direction in which modern banking is heading and which innovations might be accepted by customers. Thanks to this, we have the opportunity to adapt best practices and implement innovative solutions, ensuring that we continue to lead technological development in Poland.
How are you leveraging big data and analytics to improve customer experience and service delivery?
In the era of digitization, the use of big data and advanced analytics has become an integral part of the strategy of many modern banking institutions. At Nest Bank, we approach these tools as keys to gaining a deeper understanding of our customers and their needs. By analyzing data on our customers’ behaviors and preferences, we can tailor our offer to make it as attractive as possible. Putting this into practice: the offer can be matched to the profile of a business. If we know that a particular company provides door-to-door services for its clients, it’s highly likely that to help it grow, we should focus its attention on payments or a payment terminal installed on a phone in the form of an application.
Moreover, thanks to solutions based on machine learning, it was possible to create processes such as opening an account with a selfie along with real-time image verification.
Big data and machine learning solutions have enabled us to significantly optimize the execution of marketing campaigns by analyzing time preferences and methods of delivering information individually for each client. Such models are recalculated in real-time and consider a number of variables that affect whether it’s better to send customer information in the morning or evening, so as not to disturb but still break through with a message. Such actions help minimize complaints, as customers don’t feel overloaded with information and see value in it. As a result, our CTR indicators have improved several times.
Modern data analysis and the use of machine learning, including LLM language models, also allow us to implement solutions such as chatbots, which respond to customer questions quickly and effectively. We started by implementing a chatbot for internal customers. Today, every employee can ask a question within the bank to our bot, presented as a wise owl. Soon, we will be deploying our bot for customers so that they can obtain essential information about offers, terms and conditions, and in the near future about the products they own.
The last but very important aspect is the use of AI to better understand customers by shifting the analysis regarding our Internet and mobile banking usage. Analyzing paths and potential UX issues becomes much simpler with such solutions, helping us continually improve interfaces, making the use of our services even more intuitive.
What steps is Nest Bank Poland taking to ensure the security of its digital platforms amid the increasing risks of cyberattacks?
The security of digital platforms is crucial for us, as cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated. Our approach to cyber threats focuses on multi-level risk analysis and appropriately implemented security measures. Parallel to the development of technological safeguards, we build awareness of threats among our employees and customers who use digital platforms on a daily basis.
What are your personal benchmarks for success in leading a modern banking institution?
Managing a modern banking institution is no small challenge that requires a multifaceted approach. In my understanding, the key element of running such a business is innovation. In the age of digitization and growing customer requirements, banks must continuously introduce innovations to not fall behind.
In today’s world, nothing is more valued than the security of operations and protection of customer data, which is absolutely crucial, especially for an institution like a bank. Ensuring the protection of banking operations and customer data is the foundation of every financial institution.
At the same time, an essential element of success is focusing on improving customer service and providing unique, personalized experiences, both in online and offline interactions. Sustainable development also cannot be overlooked – social responsibility brings benefits not only to beneficiaries but also to shareholders.
Flexibility in action, the ability to quickly adapt to dynamically changing market conditions and legal regulations, are other aspects that are inherent features of a new generation financial institution. Whether it’s changes in customer preferences or global economic events, the ability to react quickly and change swiftly is essential. As a manager of an organization, I must be prepared for various situations and decide quickly what will be best for the company.
It’s also worth emphasizing that operational efficiency, meaning the optimization of internal processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs, is the foundation of stable development. Moreover, building strong relationships through cooperation with external partners, such as fintechs or other tech companies, often leads to the creation of innovative solutions and products.
Equally important is investing in the development and training of one’s own team, ensuring that employees have access to the latest knowledge and tools necessary for effective work. To me, they are the heart of the entire organization, and their development and satisfaction have a direct impact on the company’s success.
Can you share some insights into your leadership style and how it has evolved to navigate the challenges of the digital age in banking?
First and foremost, I must mention my approach to innovation. In the digital age, technology has become an integral part of banking, so it’s crucial for me to continuously track the latest technological trends and consider how they can contribute to better serving our customers and making the bank operate more efficiently. I want my team to learn the same. I emphasise critical thinking, the ability to make decisions quickly, and training.
It’s also important for me to have contact with the people I work with. In the digital age, where many interactions occur remotely, I prioritize transparency. I believe it’s the key to building trust and effectively solving problems.