Lloyd’s of London: Lloyd’s Lab
L Marks partnered with Lloyd's of London to create the insurtech accelerator Lloyd's LabRead more
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 10 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.”
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).
Building on the success of the first lab, this second instalment of the Metro Bank Magic Makers incorporated a number of new features. In addition to working with startups to drive innovation, Metro Bank invited internal colleagues to participate in the programme this year. To further integrate internal innovation in the lab, a Fusion event was organised where 5 startups and 4 internal teams came together for three days to create a proof of concept that could be tested in the lab
After the Fusion, Metro Bank invited 2 startups and 1 internal team to join the lab and get access to first-class mentorship and insights from leading experts in the finance sector.
The teams selected were Linistry (Hungary), Oiyaa (UK) and Return of the Hack (Internal team)
During the 10-week programme, the startups and internal team worked with Metro Bank to demonstrate value and strong business cases. The 3 teams worked across two categories: Making Life Easier for our Customers and Becoming the UK’s Best Community Bank. Linistry piloted their solution in the Croydon Store allowing customers to queue virtually or book appointments. Oiyaa tested the demand for their product by conducting focus groups and interviews with business and retail customers. And, Return of the Hack tested their tech and demand with a survey of Metro Bank’s customers and a series of interviews and interactive sessions with the technology with colleagues.
At the end of the programme, Metro Bank decided to continue incubating the idea from Return of the Hack as it can be integrated with other products and they will continue having a relationship with Linistry.
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 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
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
As part of the second edition of the programme, Linistry was chosen for making life easier for our customers and becoming the UK’s best community bank category. Ministry is a Queuing and Appointment booking solution.
In a short time, Linistry has been able to gather key data that allows Metro Bank to have a better understanding of the services required by clients at their stores. Not only does their solution work in terms of queuing and appointment booking, but the data that Metro Bank was able to gather in a few weeks was already invaluable.
During the ten weeks, Linistry were able to test their solution in the UK as entering the UK market is one of their goals and this partnership allows them to grow in the way they want to. Tailoring their solution to Metro Bank’s needs raised potential issues and opened other possibilities for future implementation.
“It was our smoothest experience ever with a pilot customer. Metro Bank and LMarks works like a charm.”
– Gyula Kovesdan, Linistry