BBVA USA Exceeds Customer Expectations in Search Experiences With Yext & Adobe
- Financial Services
- U.S. Headquarters
- Birmingham, AL
When a crisis strikes — be it financial, public health, weather-related or otherwise — it doesn’t take long for people to seek out their nearest bank, either physically or online. This makes sense: during times of financial uncertainty, customers naturally have more questions about everything from simple logistics — “Is my bank open?” “Is it safe to come in for a withdrawal?” — to long-term financial planning. Data bears this out, showing us that customers are now searching more often and asking more questions related to businesses across verticals.
During a crisis, providing customers with access to the information they need — when things are changing so rapidly and so much is uncertain — is paramount. “Being ‘advanced’ in customer experience maturity is now a necessity, not an aspiration,” explains Christopher Young, Director of Financial Services Industry Strategy at Adobe. “AI plays a critical role in delivering meaningful experiences at scale, not just in the analysis of data but in content creation, automation of site personalisation and delivery of one-to-one communications.”
This, however, can be a major challenge for even the most technologically sophisticated organisations — so BBVA USA made a plan.
The U.S. subsidiary of the global financial institution, BBVA, BBVA USA operates 649 bank branches in the United States, stretching throughout the Sunbelt states from Florida to California. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the bank had its work cut out for it.
“We were already working with Yext to manage our listings across third-party search experiences,” explains Steve Creel, SVP, Director of Online and Mobile Websites at BBVA USA. “That was to make sure all of our branch information, ATM information and officer information was correct out on the world wide web. Our relationship with Yext really began after we had gone through a period of growth — there were acquisitions in the mix, and looking at all of the Google and Bing results, it was a mixed bag of accurate and inaccurate information. Yext gave us the ability, in real time, to go out and make changes as needed to those branch and ATM networks.”
When Creel first found out about Yext Answers, he signed BBVA up as a beta user. “I was looking to rebuild a brand new branch locator and the timing was just perfect,” he says. “We were just developing the scope and requirements for that development project when I attended the ONWARD conference and heard about the new Yext Answers product. That was the catalyst for some additional conversations to say, if this works as it’s being envisioned, it could totally replace the branch locator, the ATM locator, the officer locator — all of those little elements that I needed.”
As a beta partner and early adopter of Yext Answers, BBVA USA integrated the advanced site search tool with its existing website, which is built on Adobe Experience Manager, and worked with the Yext team to make sure it was set up to meet the bank’s needs. So BBVA USA was already up and running with Yext Answers when the pandemic hit.
“A lot of people were saying, ‘I need access to my account,’ ‘I need access to my cash,’ ‘Are the banks going to be open?’ and we were able to immediately use the power of Yext Answers to make those updates in real time across all of our properties,” Creel recounts. “We had used Yext Listings in the past to respond to inclement weather. For example, we have a lot of branches in Houston, and Houston has had a few incidents of flooding. So, we were used to being able to go into the knowledge graph and mark individual branches as temporarily closed, or put all holiday hours — whatever we needed to do to notify our customers in real time to any limitations, late openings, early closings or temporary closings to a particular branch or set of branches. But then COVID-19 hit and suddenly we were having to make updates across several hundred branches.”
Because BBVA USA centrally manages its information across search experiences, including its own website, the global banking brand was able to reach customers with real-time updates during the COVID-19 crisis.
Of course, customers had a lot of questions about physical bank branches, but they also had more nuanced questions unique to the COVID-19 crisis. “People had a lot of questions related to the stimulus checks,” states Creel. “They had questions related to PPP loans, about children’s safety and about stability — all kinds of different questions started coming in. Of course, Yext gave us insights to watch as people asked nuanced questions in search, but we were also in daily communication with our customer contact centre, the call centre operators and our social media team. We were trying to watch the trend lines. Then, we used Yext Answers to write up FAQs, set up cards and position those within the search results on our website to get succinct information to people directly and then link them through to more in-depth pages. We set up an entire portal specifically for COVID, both on the consumer and the small business side.”
Using the Yext platform in combination with Adobe has allowed BBVA to manage all of the important public-facing information about its brand centrally and surface that information to consumers when they ask questions online. “We’ve been working with Adobe for as long as I can remember,” Creel says. “Even before we began using Adobe Experience Manager, we were already using Adobe Analytics. Yext Answers integrated easily. With all this centralisation, there are fewer artefacts and less opportunity for error. And the speed of implementation is great. When I make an update in our knowledge graph, not only am I publishing it across all our listings, it’s published on our website too — and any systems that are calling into the website for that information.”
BBVA USA reacts swiftly to customer behaviour and search trends, providing an excellent customer search experience.
Using Yext Answers, BBVA USA experienced a 140% increase in site search volume from January 2020 to June 2020. Also from January 2020 to June 2020, BBVA saw a 180% increase in clicks to MLO pages — driving a total of more than 8,000 clicks from qualified leads during that six month period.
During those same six months, more than 45,000 FAQs were viewed on BBVA USA’s website — empowering those customers with on-site self-service support and deflecting a significant volume of cost-intensive calls to support centres during the confusion of the pandemic.
Creel recognises that providing an intuitive and reliable search experience is critical to meeting customer expectations, reducing support costs and, ultimately, to increasing conversions. “We’ve seen a great evolution in how people search for and consume information,” he explains. “Just watching the evolution of Google, for instance, gives us clear insight into what customer expectations are and what direction they’re going in. People aren’t typing in keywords, they’re actually asking real questions — and they expect real answers.”
“I’m constantly in the Yext platform,” he continues. “And I’m constantly learning new things. We just launched the Hitchhikers programme last week, so I’m really excited about gaining additional insights. Sometimes I feel like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got this down to a science.’ But I know I’m just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”