Nationwide taps into SAS smart analytics to discover customer annoyances

The system analyses customer feelings by employing natural language processing and artificial intelligence


Nationwide and SAS Smart Analytics have teamed up to develop technology designed to identify what really riles customers.

The tech combines artificial intelligence and natural language processing to identify customer sentiment, helping the company solve problems with customers and boost its reputation.

The platform processes the language used when customers contact the building society through its email platform. It works for users logged into its online banking platform, analysing how many emails are sent to and from the customer, why they contacted Nationwide, whether it was resolved and the mood of the customer throughout the communication.

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Initial tests showed that Nationwide could deal with customer enquiries more efficiently, directing customers to a solution available on its digital channels, rather than sending messages backwards and forwards.

"Within a short PoC using SAS text analytics to analyse member enquiries, we established several concrete ways to make our service legendary," said Graeme Reed, senior manager of analytics at Nationwide.

"For example, we discovered that many members contact us because they require proof of the travel insurance they gain through their FlexPlus current account. The documentation is available on our website, but if we make it easier to find, then more people will access it on a self-service basis."

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He added that other customers were contacting the company because online statements did not provide the information needed to be used as a proof of address. By using this data and tweaking the information available on online statements, Nationwide has been able to cut down the number of communications related to statements.

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"In total, by guiding more members towards digital channels and avoiding unnecessary enquiries, we identified significant inefficiencies from the secure emails alone. We can reinvest the savings generated by improving these processes in other products and services," said Reed.

Nationwide is now working on extensions to its tech infrastructure, including deploying SAS Visual Text Analytics software later this year to analyse voice conversations with customers and building a data lake to house unstructured data.

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