Did you know you can handle almost all of your banking-related matters by simply calling Nordea Customer Service? All you need are your access codes to verify your identity. Nordea's customer service officers seek solutions to your questions from early morning to late at night.
A large open-plan office is abuzz with sound: there are people talking, typing and occasionally even bursting out in laughter. Wall-to-wall carpeting helps to muffle out the sounds of footsteps and echoes. Sunshine peaks through the blinders, and outside a constant stream of cars is moving along Teollisuuskatu.
Inside, a customer service officer answers an incoming call with a friendly greeting: "Nordea Customer Service, this is Janne."
At the other end of the line, a customer is trying to contact their personal banking adviser at a local branch in order to transfer assets from investments to a current account.
"We can easily do that on the phone, if you like," Janne suggests.
Once Janne has verified the customer's identity, it does not take him long to transfer the assets from one account to another. Janne quickly reviews the customer's data on his computer screen, and asks if there is anything else he could help with.
"I noticed you have a Nordea Credit card, but as a Key Customer, you would be entitled to a Nordea Gold card. It comes with added benefits such as a travel insurance policy, and there would be no extra charge for you. Would you like to apply for a Nordea Gold card?"
Once Janne has helped the customer to apply for a new credit card and handled other banking-related matters, he thanks the customer and wishes them a nice day. Next to the computer screen on Janne's desk, you can see the secret weapons of a person who talks for a living: a water bottle, Sisu pastilles and lip balm. Janne takes a swig out of the bottle and picks up the next call.
"Nordea Customer Service, this is Janne."
Customers from Lapland to the Spanish Gold Coast
Another customer calls in to book an appointment with their banking adviser.
Although Janne is stationed in Helsinki, the customer's accent reveals the call is coming from somewhere in Western Finland. Each day, calls come in from all corners of the country.
"Our service is not restricted to any specific geographical area. Customers contact us from all over Finland and even abroad. For example, last week, one of our customers called in from Spain," explains Anna Vaara, who heads the customer service team in Oulu.
In addition to Helsinki and Oulu, Nordea Customer Service has offices in Salo, Vaasa and Tallinn, Estonia. Phone calls are just one way of contacting the customer service. In less urgent banking matters, customers can also send messages via Netbank or Mobile Bank. Customers may also set up online meetings, where they can discuss, for example, their housing loans or savings plans face-to-face with a customer service officer from the privacy of their own home using a laptop or tablet and a phone.
"Overall, we get some 10,000 contacts from customers through our various channels every day," says Vaara.
Same services you would get at a local branch
Vaara, now a team leader, has worked at Nordea for nine years, and her work has ranged from telephone service to internal training and initiation of new employees and to answering messages from customers in Netbank and Facebook.
"By calling Nordea Customer Service, you can obtain almost all of the services available when visiting a local branch," she says.
The service selection is constantly updated and adapted to changing customer needs.
The service selection is constantly updated and adapted to changing customer needs. Through Nordea Customer Service, you can easily handle various everyday banking matters via phone. You may, for example, apply for cards, open or close accounts, make a fund savings agreement and handle investment-related matters, or apply for unsecured FlexiCredit.
"If you get the urge to redo your home or make a costlier purchase, you can contact Nordea Customer Service to seek finance for fulfilling your dreams," says Vaara.
Access codes are the key to customer service
"Do you have your access codes with you?" Janne asks over the phone. It is the question he most commonly repeats during the day.
"Yes, I have them on my phone," says the customer, and uses the Nordea code app that can be downloaded on a smartphone. Only after Janne has properly verified the identity of the customer, can he offer personal service.
Without access codes or the code app, customer service cannot address personal banking matters, and can only provide advice at a general level. No allowances can be made when it comes to banking security and secrecy, and thus customer identification with access codes is always a must.
"Identification with access codes is equal to presenting an ID and providing a signature," explains Vaara,
and notes that it is best to always keep your access codes with you when travelling or whenever you might need to handle banking matters. It is best to carry out the identification procedure right at the start of the phone call, as this allows for smoother service and enables the customer service officer to provide individual service from the offset.
It never hurts to ask
Colourful bars on the screen show the number of customers currently waiting for their turn and the waiting time in minutes. When the lines are busy, customer service officers pick up the pace to ensure all customer calls are answered.
Customer service officer Tuija answers a call from a customer who has received an unwarranted interest payment notice. The system shows all payments are in order and the sum stated in the payment notice seems off. Tuija puts the call on hold in order to quickly consult a colleague on the matter.
Vaara considers it important that team members encourage and help each other and share information and expertise. Often a colleague will know more about a certain issue, and in any case, it never hurts to ask.
"What our customers don't see is how much our team members help each other in coming up with solutions," says Vaara.
Friendly service and surprising solutions
"How much do you know about ASP savings?" Tuija asks a young woman who has called to discuss saving up for her first home.
"I know a little, but I am uncertain about interest rates," says the customer.
Straight away, Tuija is on top of the situation, and begins to explain how to make a savings plan and what a suitable monthly instalment could be. The customer struggles to estimate the amount of income left over from her part-time job and student subsidies.
Tuija understands her very well. "I know this can be a really difficult question to answer!"
All matters are, however, gradually sorted out over the course of the phone call, and the customer ends up with a savings plan and first deposit on a brand new ASP account.
"Is there something else I could help you with?" Tuija asks at the end of the call, and both she and the customer burst out laughing, as the one-hour phone call has already seen them work out a considerable number of banking-related matters.
According to Vaara, the key to customer service is to listen and to be genuinely interested in the customer. A friendly approach is of course crucial, but good customer service also entails suggesting new solutions to and providing positive surprises for the customer. The secret to good customer service is always offering something extra, thus providing the customer with more than they were anticipating.
"For instance, a customer may be planning a trip abroad, and will call in to check the security limits on their card. We go one step further and make sure the customer's credit limit is sufficient, remind the customer to keep their access codes with them, and ask if they have travel insurance," says Vaara.
"Our goal is to never say that something cannot be solved,"
When the customer service officers face a difficult situation, they do not give up, but instead try to come up with alternative solutions.
"Our goal is to never say that something cannot be solved," Vaara explains.
Be sensitive to the unique circumstances of each customer
Important work information has been assembled on the office notice board covering an entire wall. The board also shows that Janne has been named the week's most successful employee.
According to Vaara, successes are celebrated together. Success in the customer service team can amount to almost anything: one team member returned from a study leave and managed to take over new ground in selling financing, while another customer service officer received good feedback.
In between phone calls, team members exchange a few words on topical issues and headlines of the day, although more detailed discussions will have to wait for a lunch or coffee break. One team member has a grey rubber band, used for stretching in between calls.
Banking is involved in both the happy and sad phases of life. Births and deaths. New relationships and breakups. To ensure successful customer service, our experts must be sensitive to the unique circumstances of each individual customer. Good customer service requires empathy, understanding of the customer's situation, and the ability to talk to customers at their level.
"Customer service needs to be adapted to each customer," says Vaara.
Banking is not just about dealing with numbers - it is about being a part of a customer's life, for example, when someone calls in thrilled after having found their dream home.
"I appreciate being able to see our customers fulfil their dreams," Vaara says.
When Nordea's customer service officers know where their customers are in life, they are better able to suggest solutions and provide great customer experiences.
"We are not only interested in why our customers call in, we are interested in the customers themselves."
Nordea 24/7 provides customer service in Finnish around the clock, every day of the year.