Spar Nord

1,800 employees
700-800 in branches

Spar Nord is personalising its digital banking with Salesforce

Spar Nord is building a better banking experience, one Salesforce solution at a time. Spar Nord is developing Salesforce solutions every week to optimise its CX. Spar Nord is delivering a personal banking service in a digital world with Salesforce. Salesforce isn’t just Spar Nord’s CRM: it’s their development platform.

To be ‘the personal bank in a digital world’. That’s the goal of Danish bank Spar Nord, and their Chief Digital Officer and Head of Digital Banking, Morten Baden.

Since 1824, Spar Nord has built a reputation for providing highly personalised banking services. In response to the rise of online banking services, the bank has been working to translate its widely renowned (formerly exclusively branch-based) personal banking services into digital channels. And it’s using Salesforce to do it.

“We’re the fifth biggest bank in Denmark,” says Baden. “That means we haven’t got the resources to be the most digital bank. But we can be the most personal digital bank. Our goal is to personalise the digital experience wherever possible. We couldn’t do that without Salesforce.”


A platform to prioritise relationships over transactions

Before implementing Salesforce, Spar Nord was trying to create better customer experiences using its banking platform – a back-end platform designed to handle transactions, not to build virtual relationships.

“We couldn’t record or track customer interactions,” says Baden. “So we lacked that single view of the customer which you really need to deliver an informed, personalised digital service.”

The platform was also inflexible. The bank couldn’t make changes and customisations to automate processes and drive efficiency – both of which were absolutely key to making the bank’s vision of personalised service in a digital world a reality.

“The more streamlined and efficient we can make processes, the more freedom our people have to focus on the customer,” explains Baden. They kicked off their pursuit of better, more efficient customer experiences by deploying Financial Services Cloud in the customer service department.

Smart routing, automation and self-service options drive efficient customer service

Spar Nord’s service agents deal with around 500,000 customer cases a year, all differing in urgency and complexity. Many enquiries are best handled by the bank’s financial advisors, while others are easily handled by customer support. Using Salesforce’s Omni-Channel function, the bank can now automatically route and prioritise these cases, ensuring each is dealt with at the right time by the right people.

Thanks to Salesforce’s Quick Text function, agents can also deal with cases more efficiently, tailoring predefined messages instead of writing new ones every time. Baden says the bank now finds the idea of customer service without Quick Text “unimaginable”.

The next step in improving customer experiences while reducing the load on service agents was Experience Cloud. Today, it facilitates a range of self-service options for Spar Nord customers – including onboarding, seeing and activating loyalty program benefits, and accessing and ordering VISA cards.

“Up to half the calls and messages customer service receive are questions about cards,” says Baden. “The goal is our agents can guide customers to Experience Cloud to find out for themselves in future – that’s a huge time-saver for everyone.”

All of these improvements add up to one really efficient customer service team. In fact, since implementing Salesforce, customer service efficiency has risen 25-35%.

Enriching and recording advisory meetings in Salesforce

With Financial Services Cloud up, running and working its magic in customer service, the bank quickly turned to its next priority: advisory services. Specifically, the all-important meetings the bank’s advisors conduct with private banking clients.

“The advisory meetings are the most vital customer touchpoint,” says Baden. “It’s where the customer actually meets the bank. They’re comparatively rare events, so it’s vital that advisors are really well prepared.”

Spar Nords’ advisors now arrange and prepare every aspect of these digital meetings in Salesforce. As well as setting a date in Salesforce (with customers informed via an automated SMS), advisors create the meeting’s agenda and build the PowerPoint presentation for the meeting—together with added notes—then share all of this with the customer.

Before Salesforce, conversations between advisors and customers remained between them (and were lost if an advisor left the bank). Today, any agent or advisor can refer to the notes other agents and advisors have saved to inform and enrich their interactions.

The bank uses Salesforce to encourage its advisors to prioritise customer communication over transactions wherever possible. To take one example, they’ve moved interaction insights to the top of the advisor interface – the spot transactions used to occupy in the old platform.

“We want our advisors to always be mindful of the customer relationship,” says Baden. “Salesforce helps us do that. After a meeting, for example, the customer is automatically sent a survey to complete – and their response feeds into a live NPS score that our advisors can see in their dashboards. So they’re always thinking of the customer relationship, and how to nurture it.”

A culture of relentless innovation, enabled by Platform

In early 2021, the bank made a strategic decision to start using Platform as a development tool for improving process efficiencies throughout the organisation. And it all started with a single solution, as Baden explains:

“The first productivity solution we built was for ongoing due diligence. We couldn’t have built that solution on our old platform, but with Salesforce it was easy. And the efficiency gains were massive—the equivalent to having 25 extra employees—with that one solution alone!”

“That was a huge eye-opener for us,” he continues. “Since then, Salesforce hasn’t just been our CRM platform – it’s become our main development platform for customer centric solutions. When it comes to development we used to say ‘mobile first’; now we also say ‘Salesforce first!’”

Spar Nord now employs 16 Salesforce developers to deliver new solutions on a weekly basis. Salesforce developers are thin on the ground in Denmark, so most of the sixteen have been trained up on Trailhead – a process which Baden says is fast and easy, especially since the bank’s increasing stockpile of built solutions enables new ones to be built with minimal coding.

The ideas for most of these solutions come from people working within the bank, who are able to submit them to an idea exchange app – also built by Spar Nord on Salesforce. A steering committee assesses and prioritises submissions.

“We compare the cost against the value of each suggested solution to decide which to prioritise and develop,” says Baden. “The value we’re looking for above all else is how much time it will save us as we optimise each process.”

Compliance is now less laborious – and risky – for advisors

Of all the solutions Spar Nord has developed on Platform, the biggest time-savers are those solutions around compliance. Compliance is a huge priority for banks; it’s also often a laborious, time-consuming administrative process – and vulnerable to human error.

Unsurprisingly, most financial advisors don’t exactly relish carrying out compliance-related tasks. But with Spar Nord’s Platform-built solutions automating and regulating compliance processes, the bank’s advisors spend less time on compliance, while having peace of mind that they’re always complying with regulations.

“Our success depends on us having the best advisors on our team, so we want to keep them as happy as possible,” says Baden. “The more we can minimise the time they spend on tedious administrative tasks, the more we maximise the time they can spend on what they really love doing – advising our customers.”

Spar Nord’s advisors are happier because of Salesforce, and trust the solutions Baden’s team are building on Platform to the extent that whenever they encounter a bad process they ask “can we do that in Salesforce instead?”

A culture of innovation that feeds into Customer Experience

Throughout Spar Nord, the word is now out on the possibilities with Salesforce development. Ideas for process improvements are pouring in from across the bank’s network of branches, and the business’s leadership are impressed.

“People in our head office and other departments, who we’ve not even developed anything for, ask me about Salesforce,” says Baden. “They’re seeing what we can do with Salesforce – and want to know what we can do for them.”

And while the bank’s customers aren’t directly aware of this culture of innovation, they’re certainly enjoying the fruits of the development team’s labours. In a recent survey of Denmark’s six biggest banks, Spar Nord was ranked as the bank with the most satisfied corporate customers – for the fifth year in a row.


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