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Metro Bank: Magic Makers

Metro Bank launched in 2010 as Britain’s first new high street bank in over a hundred years, and they knew it was time to do things differently.

Metro Bank is dedicated to offering its customers exceptional support and service as well as helping small businesses grow and thrive. Metro Bank is committed to embedding innovation into its core strategy and looking to next generation services which can support their customers and local businesses.

“Metro Bank Magic Makers”, launched in 2021 and was designed by L Marks to identify market disruptors whose products and services have the potential to create significant benefits for customers, partners and colleagues. The ten week Innovation Programme places startups at the heart of operations at Metro Bank in London. During the programme, these businesses worked alongside senior executives to test their solutions in a safe environment and explore opportunities for longer-term commercial partnerships. In addition to addressing key business challenges, the Magic Makers programme provides insight into the breadth of disruptive technologies reshaping the sector while inspiring the sort of entrepreneurial mindset that accelerates progress.

“We are really excited to see what is out there that can make a real difference in our customers’ lives. The impact of technology and innovation on our lives is a game changer and we want our customers to share in any benefits we can bring to market.”

Kat Robinson, 

Customer Experience Director of Metro Bank

The opportunity areas selected for Metro Bank Magic Makers covered evolving customer service offerings, improving internal efficiencies and providing valuable data insights, included in the categories: Metro Bank Magic Moments, Operational Efficiency and automation and Data Analytics for customer insights.

After receiving over 100 applications for their first programme, Metro Bank invited 16 teams to attend Pitch Day on 20th July 2021, hosted in their office in Holborn. Three startups were selected to join the programme: Surfly (Netherland), Solidatus (UK) and PolyAI (UK).

Results

Surfly  

One of the solutions which came through the operational efficiency and automation category was Surfly. A very exciting business solution focusing on augmenting and humanizing existing customer journeys thanks to co-browsing. The solution allows through the website to collaborate with customers on any online journey, annotate webpages, meet face-to-face with added video, share and annotate documents within a session and finalise customer journeys with certified e-signature.

Surfly’s technology could be used for an extensive range of potential applications within Metro Bank. For the programme, Surfly built the landing pages that were used for testing. During the ten weeks, Surfly worked with key stakeholders from Metro Bank in several departments and focused on few use cases that were elicited as time consuming to resolve over the phone. 

Metro Bank colleagues found it to be a great and unique concept. They said that Surfly would increase efficiency across the bank as they achieved a 100% “right first time” in all scenarios tested. It has been recognised that this would be a much more personalised approach to interacting with customers.

“The programme was absolutely run phenomenally. I do a lot of accelerators and I think the L Marks team was instrumental to drive the project. It was a real collaboration between L Marks, Metro Bank and the three startups.

 – Tariq Valente, Surfly

POLYAI

PolyAI was the second startup in the operational efficiency and automation category.  PolyAI automated voice agents use the power of AI to hold human-like conversations, understand what users are saying, and respond accordingly. 

Metro Bank wanted to explore the use of a human-like voice agent which could help their customers resolve simple queries more quickly. This in turn would free up colleague time to focus on more complex, value add customer interactions.

During the ten-week programme, The PolyAI team visited the Amaze Direct team in Slough to experience Metro’s customer service firsthand. The PolyAI team was then ready to start building the voice agent that sounds just like a Metro Bank representative. During the building phase, Metro Bank and PolyAI worked together on giving the voice agent a personality: the voice agent became Aimee. Once the first version was ready, Metro Bank’s core mentor group started testing the agent. 

The whole Magic Makers programme has been expertly put together and ultra-professionally delivered. The level of engagement has been second to none. Truly first rate. Both Agathe and Alex have been extraordinarily helpful throughout the programme. Working with them has been a delight. 

 – Mark Ewin, PolyAI

SOLIDATUS

Finally, we had Solidatus in the data analytics for customer insights category. Solidatus is a web-based application that enables organisations to understand how data flows through their systems by providing the most intuitive, flexible, data lineage discovery and visualisation solution. Solidatus is focused on breaking down data silos and provides a method to increase organizational understanding through the socialisation of data. 

During the ten-week programme, Solidatus built models that were designed to visualize the data journey, which includes its origin, transformation along the way, and an explanation on how and why the data has moved over time. The models also help understand whether the data is valid, accurate and complete. The regulators are asking for banks to be able to demonstrate transparency showing that they understand the financial crime data mapping and controls. Solidatus offers confidence in how alerts are generated, and data involved. It detects issues, identifies controls and data gaps.

“In the ten weeks programme we created friendships, throughout the close collaboration to achieve the shared goal of success.”

– David Pinto, Solidatus