At the heart of member experience

At the heart of member experience

Published: 19 August 2022

Working together, our Mortgage Support team, and Savings and Online Support team, are at the heart of our member experience operation.

Both teams come under the leadership of Nic Briston, Mortgage and Savings Operations Manager, who joined the Society in 2016, and has been in her current role just over a year.

“From the moment I walked into Darlington Building Society, I could see the passion the staff had for doing what’s best for members. It’s a privilege to nurture that commitment to doing a fantastic job for our members,” says Nic.

All change

“In the areas of the business we cover, it has traditionally been a very manual job, but a lot of improvements have been put in place to create more automated services, especially as part of the payments and mortgage journey. That has resulted in reducing the risk of errors and, therefore, the pressure on staff,” explains Nic.

As a highly respected employer, we have a lot of colleagues who have served the business for a long time, so adapting to different ways of working isn’t always easy.

However, Nic says she is “enormously proud” of the way colleagues have changed their mindset due to their determination to give members the best possible service.

She also highlights that the way they responded to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic – moving to homeworking almost overnight to maintain member services– was “phenomenal”.

Working in Mortgage Support and Savings and Online Support

Both support teams perform vital roles because they form the foundation of member support within the Society.

The Mortgage Support team looks after all the members’ mortgage needs. They can deal with any mortgage query right up to and including when their mortgage is redeemed.

The Savings and Online Support team help existing saving members, with any queries about their account and support them with making any payments. This team also helps members using our expanding online banking platform.

“When you work for Darlington Building Society, you are completely focused on what’s best for the member. It’s not just about profit and loss, and members are not just a number. We want to make sure that every one of them is looked after correctly,” says Nic.

“If you don’t look after members in the right way, you’ll quickly lose them. Therefore, colleagues have to have great attention to detail, and service has to be a passion.”

What’s to come

From the perspective of savings, the future will see more automated services introduced to enable members to log in online, open savings accounts and manage their own money.

In mortgages, the industry-leading IRESS Mortgage Hub was introduced at the beginning of this year with a focus on attracting new borrowers. What comes next is the expansion and improvement of the service we offer to our mortgage members.

That means that we’ll be able to offer more functionality for the wide variety of different mortgages we offer through our commitment to manual underwriting and providing greater flexibility for members.

From the team’s perspective

Overall, there are 12 people working in Nic’s two teams, and they bring a wealth of experience and skills to our customer services operation.

Beverley says: “I have worked for Darlington Building Society for almost 25 years now. I have worked previously at the front end of mortgage applications, however since moving over to Service Excellence last year I find the work interesting (and challenging sometimes). The work is very varied including mortgage completions right through to dealing with Solicitors with Title Information documents and Redemptions (when the mortgage ends). The main thing I enjoy in this role is my colleagues and people I work with. We all get along really well and are very supportive with each other in the more challenging periods of the role.”

Sharrie says: “I may not have been here long (8 months), but I love working for Darlington Building Society. There is a real sense of “people matter” whether it is members or staff. A real pulling together to help each other and I love the element of inclusiveness. I’m not afraid to speak up or make suggestions for change and there is always something to keep me busy!”

Julie says: “Having worked in Customer Support for just over 5 years after a few other roles within the Society I feel I’ve finally settled down. The department is like one big family, everyone is so friendly and supportive of each other. The work is challenging at times, very varied but ultimately rewarding. Prior to joining the team I had no idea how involved the role would be, covering everything from mortgage funds release to mortgage redemption and pretty much everything else in between. Supporting our members on their post completion journey and making sure they stay with us for as long as possible.”

You can learn more about working life at Darlington Building Society here.