Banner Bank website on mobile device

Experience Design Bridging a gap in the customer experience

Banner Bank is a Pacific Northwest financial institution with more than 100 locations in three states. With Washington roots dating back to 1890, it offers personal and community banking, commercial banking, and real estate lending, among other financial services. Well known for meeting client needs and focusing on overall customer experience, in 2012 and 2013 Banner Bank was ranked with the “Highest Customer Satisfaction in Retail Banking in the Northwest Region” by an independent international research firm.

In late 2013, however, customer surveys and interviews, as well as third-party audits and reviews, indicated a vast difference between offline (in-branch locations) and online experiences. In addition, updating the site was painful for the internal team because of the outdated and hard-to-use legacy platform. The goal was to offer all stakeholders—internal and external—an exceptional website experience.

“ is our flagship branch. It’s where anyone will go to learn more about our company or to find out whether we’re the right bank for them,” says Dianne Larsen, Senior Vice President of Marketing.

Digital vision and brand experience support the entire customer lifecycle

The long-term vision for the site is to offer a seamless brand experience for existing customers, as well as prospects, across the entire customer lifecycle. Designing the site to live up to the high standards of customer satisfaction in Banner Bank’s values, Connective DX took an outside-in approach to the user experience, going beyond just resolving pain points in the current system and truly addressing customers’ needs in a meaningful way. 

Connective DX stood out as truly understanding our customer experience problem and our business goals. They were instrumental in helping us evolve to a more unified experience and to make a real difference to our clients.

Dianne Larsen

Senior Vice President of Marketing, Banner Bank

Foundational work included organizational alignment on Banner Bank’s digital vision followed by primary customer research to establish three brand experience principles—local, personal, and trusted—which guided all decisions regarding content, personalization, functionality, and design.

Banner Bank experience principles 

Personalization and geo-location help bring experience principles to life

These principles were woven into all aspects of the initiative, in an effort to better connect with the customer. We maximized the ability to personalize the content, so local, relevant content now shines through when the customer can use it most.

More than using geo-location to simply find a local branch, aspects of Sitecore’s DMS take personalization a step further, placing customer testimonials—and helpful branch employee content—in targeted, useful areas.

The user experience highlights content and tells the stories of local people—real Banner Bank customers—to make the experience more personal. Localized Banner Bank employee stories will follow, as this transparency into the actual people who make up the Banner Bank experience inherently engenders trust in the brand. 

Extending the brand experience across the entire digital platform

The majority of transaction experience are hosted on a plethora of third-party linked applications. This added complexity to crafting a seamless experience, so additional focus was put on those points of integration, from both technical and user experience standpoints.
Banner Bank website on laptop

In addition, to move toward a more connected experience and get better visibility into customer engagement and transactions across the entire digital ecosystem, the Connective DX development team started preliminary testing of Sitecore’s new Federated Experience Manager (“FXM”) module. FXM extends Sitecore’s analytics and personalization capabilities, and even Sitecore-driven content, to other external, third-party websites.

“The new site enables us to easily present meaningful and compelling information to help shape favorable opinions of our brand and our company,” Dianne says. “We chose Sitecore because of the promise it held toward providing an easy-to-use CMS/WMS platform. We chose Connective DX because of their expertise with Sitecore and because of our similar cultures in taking great care of our clients and relationships.”

Behind the scenes magic optimizes content management and site performance

From an operational perspective, one of the biggest wins for Banner Bank with the new platform is around quantifiable measurement. With new KPIs and analytics dashboards Banner Bank can now track site performance and marketing campaign success, enabling data-informed testing and optimization of content, personalization, messaging, and conversion paths.
Banner Bank website on computer monitor

The new platform also offers an enjoyable and easy experience for the site authors and marketers. was previously on a cumbersome and clunky CMS platform, and only a few people within the institution had the ability to make site updates. Because of the limitations of the previous CMS and the inability to make even simple content updates in a timely manner, messaging on the site was infrequently updated, layout and presentation was suboptimal, and the customer experience was not aligned to the offline (in-branch) brand expression.

With the new Sitecore site updates are quick and easy. Authors can quickly create marketing landing pages and populate new regional and testimonial content, as well as post timely news and announcements, ensuring consistency between the offline and online brand experience.

“The new CMS is easy for the entire Marketing team to use,” says Tammi Olund, Integrated Marketing Manager for Banner Bank.” We now have a great tool, as well as a design and content structure that ensures our updates remain on-brand and consistent with our branches.”

Business impact is a beautiful, easy-to-use, well-thought-out, fully responsive site. The new site allows Banner Bank to connect with their customers in a more authentic way. The online presence now reflects the brand experience and values that Banner Bank's customers experience in the branch, and the preliminary data is in: Customers are engaging much more with the new site, as shown by pre- and post-launch engagement analytics.

Related Thinking

Delight isn’t for everyone

As some of the Delight 2014 attendees experienced, airlines continue to focus on maximizing revenue rather than delivering a great customer experience. Most airlines today choose to scale back service and pack planes so tightly that using the traditional four inches of seat reclining space has become a battle between customers for personal space. If we’re seeing an arms race brewing over how two adults come to an agreement over how to share four inches of space, it’s clear that for many organizations, customer experience is all marketing and not part of the business strategy.

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