At NatWest Group we’re all different, but we share the same purpose-led focus and values to truly champion potential. Our values are: Inclusive, Curious, Robust, Sustainable and Ambitious.

In our ‘Let’s talk values’ series, we profile colleagues who live and breathe our values. Read about our colleague Heather Hearn-Poole, who truly brings our ‘Curious’ value to life.

When we get curious, we get results

If customers are starting to notice improvements in our digital banking services, an IT teacher named Mrs Griffiths should take her part of the credit.

It was Mrs Griffiths who inspired a lifelong fascination for tech in at least one pupil, Heather Hearn-Poole. Today, as Digital Experience Lead within our Digital Innovation and Design team, Heather applies that curiosity to the transformation of our digital offering.

By her own admission, Heather was the kind of student who constantly had her hand up to ask the next question. It’s an approach that continues to help her to find new and better ways of getting results.

Most recently, this inquisitive style was deployed to support the bank’s customer remediation activity. A prompt to provide updated tax information is never going to be received with delight, but she set out to make it a headache-free process for customers, through a more user friendly, digitally led customer experience.

“Our team had created some forms for coronavirus support which were roughly similar, but this was taking things to a whole new level,” Heather says.

She set about honing the complex 70-point questionnaire into something more digestible, while tweaking the system’s functionality to make it more user-friendly. Colleagues helped test the new process,  completing Heather’s draft forms and suggesting improvements.

The team got curious; they asked our customers what they thought and the results were impressive. There was a healthy conversion rate from the 500 customers asked to complete the forms in a pilot. Analysis showed that those who got as far as looking at the form were likely to use and submit it.

Heather’s work on the project was informed by her recent study for a diploma in user experience. “It took a year to complete, but it was definitely worth it to understand the customer journey in a task like that,” she says.

It’s not just her technical know-how that Heather works to build up. She’s developing her softer skills too. Heather’s presented at industry events, something she admits can be nerve-wracking, but worth it if it presents the chance to be a role model for other women in tech.

In meetings, Heather’s still that person with her metaphorical hand up, keen to ask a searching question. But then, she’s far from alone in that these days.

“Covid has been a catalyst for people questioning more than ever how things are done. It’s pushed things forward a lot faster than they would otherwise have moved,” she believes.

“Every team needs someone who’s prepared to question the status quo and ask how things could be done differently. But it’s a balance: you also need people who are expert in how things have always been done, and who are flexible about listening to new ideas.”

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