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Alastair Smith, Head of Customer Service Delivery at Santander Corporate & Commercial, outlines how working closely with our customers is one of Santander’s core values.

Q: What is the role of the Santander Corporate & Commercial Customer Service Delivery team?

A: In short, we’re here to make sure that we deliver a first-class customer experience and treat our customers fairly and consistently. To do that, we work closely with colleagues across the organisation – identifying and delivering new initiatives to improve the overall customer experience. Just getting the basics consistently right is also vital and, of course, no organisation is perfect, so we keep a close eye on everyday transactions as well as the bigger picture. As a guiding principle, though, we’ve always been firmly of the view that ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘buyer beware' is dead – long live 'doing the right thing’.

Q:How would you describe Santander’s culture and values?

A. We have a genuine desire to help our customers achieve success – that’s why we talk about ‘fuelling business ambition’, because we know our job is absolutely centred around working in partnership with them. As part of this, our culture is very much about flexibility and positively looking for ways to help – everything we do should be focused on helping customers to overcome problems, or supporting them to achieve a goal.

Q: How are your values communicated to customers?

A: We prefer to show customers what we mean, rather than talking a good game; we believe that we’re the one bank which genuinely puts businesses first, which is why you’ll see us supporting businesses through our Breakthrough programme for high-growth SMEs and continuing to invest in growing our relationship teams and our offerings at a time when others are looking to cut costs. We’ve also got some exciting improvements planned for delivery this year, which we’re really looking forward to sharing with our customers soon.

Crucially, we have terrific people working here who pride themselves on ‘doing things despite’ rather than ‘not doing things because’ and we want to be a bank that’s known for treating customers’ businesses like they were our own, rather than ticking boxes and adding complexity. We also pride ourselves on striving to deliver quickly and on being agile, moving faster than our competitors and trying to cut out bureaucracy.

Q: How do you ensure these values are embodied across the organisation?

A: We’re growing fast, but making sure that we continue to find experienced and passionate people who share our point-of-view. We take pride in being clear about our values and then allowing our relationship teams to work as individuals and approach things in their own way. For us, relationship banking means just that – a real relationship with someone you trust who brings their own individual flair to the equation, as well as their expertise.

We’ve always found that we have attracted staff who want to be part of something different and who genuinely want to join a bank which is open to new ideas and ways of working.

Q: What are the benefits to customers of having a clear culture and values?

A: We hope it means that they get to deal with knowledgeable, helpful and friendly people, whichever channel they decide to contact Santander through – someone who tries to understand their situation and offers practical, workable solutions. But, ultimately, we want to earn our customers’ loyalty by giving them the peace of mind that they have a true financial partner by their side that they can trust. We never take it for granted that our customers have chosen to trust us with their ambitions and we’ve never been more committed to making sure that we give a great service in return.

Find out more about how Santander can work with you: Visit http://www.santandercb.co.uk

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK