The Cumberland Wins International Award For The Second Year In Miami

The Cumberland has won an international award after being hailed as one of the best companies in the world for improving customer service.

The building society picked up the award for Best Continuous Improvement System at the prestigious Global OPEX and Business Transformation Awards in Miami.

It is the second year in a row that The Cumberland has received an award at the event despite strong competition from global brands.

Stephen Donne, head of operations at The Cumberland, was also a keynote speaker at the three day conference and told delegates how there had been a focus on investing in training and supporting staff to identify and develop improvements that would make a tangible difference to customers.

“We have a major technology programme working in the background, but this was about acknowledging that while technology will come and help us in the future there is lots we can do without that.

“So we have developed a programme of work that looks at continuous improvement – how we function as a business by really looking in detail at new initiatives, new ways of working and training and supporting colleagues to operate in a way that we are always improving,” he said.

“Customers will have noticed improvements in any areas where they interact with the building society”, he added.

It means that the time taken to approve mortgages has been slashed down to an average of 12 days, for example, and multiple areas have been streamlined such as simplifying the paperwork for relatives around bereavement. 

The Cumberland is now focusing on initiatives within its care hub team who answer calls directly from our customers.  Around 65 initiatives to ‘make life better for customers and colleagues’ have been identified, including ensuring rotas anticipate likely demand at different times of the day to help reduce waiting times. 

“The Opex conference is recognised as the world summit for anyone working in the area of operational excellence and it brings together the world’s best talent to one place to focus on business transformation and excellence.

“The judges quizzed us about the work we had been doing and Sam Bousfield who has worked for The Cumberland for 26 years was able to give really rich feedback and bring it to life. We were thrilled that The Cumberland was picked as a winner for the second year in a row,” Mr Donne said.

Richard Ellison, chief financial officer at The Cumberland, said the award was further recognition of the ‘fantastic journey’ that the building society had been on.

“Our award submission highlighted the levels of engagement from colleagues on our continuous improvement journey, and the success of delivering more than 140 process improvements resulting in increased processing capacity, reduced cycle times, and real cost savings.

“It’s an amazing achievement considering we only started this journey two and a half years ago. And to get such validation from an external professional body for the way our people have applied themselves to operational excellence in support of growing and transforming our business tells us that we’re on the right path to a sustainable future and we’re getting things right for colleagues and our customers,” he said.