Mizuho Bank’s Individual Customer Retention Department, which develops various financial products, implemented LINE WORKS. The objective was to achieve more immediate and secure communication between sales representatives and support team: to build a system where the support team can provide instant answers to product inquiries from sales staff. Nowadays, employees use LINE WORKS to contact and exchange information with colleagues; this helps them to shorten working hours with improved efficiency. We interviewed Mr. Kajiwara, Mr. Nakamura, Mr. Suzuki, and Ms. Nishihashi from Individual Customer Retention Department about specific usage scenarios and the effects of implementation.
Please tell us about your business, roles, and responsibilities
The Individual Customer Retention Department supports customers who have high transaction potential with asset accumulation. The department is also responsible for the marketing and development of products such as funded investment trusts and mortgages. As a Senior Deputy General Manager, my responsibilities include managing the entire department while assisting the Department Manager.
The Sales Development Team that I belong as a Deputy General Manager is responsible for developing new products tailored to the general housing loan management system and other social needs. Recently, various products such as housing reverse mortgage (a system that elderly rent their living expenses as collateral for their own houses) and housing loans targeting LGBT are emerging.
The Sales Development Team connects to the intranets of approximately 100 business partners and runs the ‘Mizuho Promenade Web’ that guides all members of affiliated companies to a personalized financial product. I am mainly in charge of operating this web.
I recently moved to the Sales Development Team to take part in the planning and promotion activities of ‘Mizuho Promenade Web.’ Previously, I belonged to the Direct Sales Promotion Team that performs sales activities of housing loans and savings products to business partners.
What were the challenges you had before introducing LINE WORKS? Also, why did you choose LINE WORKS?
The professional team to support sales activities within the Individual Customer Retention Department was formed as a result of the diversification of products. Unfortunately, the support team was having difficulties responding promptly to sales representatives who often inquired about the contents of their products. Therefore, I felt the need to have a seamless communication environment and was in search of a more responsive tool compared to e-mails. That is how I came across LINE WORKS, a secure chat-based solution with UI familiar to LINE. I paid attention to how its implementation would not require any special training.
Our bank has approximately 40 Mortgage Loan Centers that handle affairs related to the Mortgage Loan reception all over the country. We believed that LINE WORKS would help strengthen the connection among Mortgage Loan Centers.
The mid-term management plan, announced by Mizuho Financial Group in 2016, includes promoting “Operational Excellence,” that aims to reduce working hours and cost. At the time of implementation review, I proposed LINE WORKS as a tool that can contribute to the company’s “Operational Excellence,” by shortening the employees’ working hours.
How did LINE WORKS meet the strict security requirements of the bank during the implementation process?
We made LINE WORKS only accessible via iPad provided by the company; we actively prohibited the access with personal PC or mobile device and also locked the external connection to LINE. We also forbad sending files and images with LINE WORKS – all to safeguard sensitive corporate info. We never had to experience the leakage of customers’ personal information by setting all data on the iPad as unprintable as well.
Prior to the full-scale implementation, we conducted a pilot test with approximately 50 members of the Sales Development team to verify that there was no possibility of confidential information leakage.
The team worked in shifts to monitor the conversation after forming a list of banned terms. We would check all the conversation logs from the day before and rectify the situation when the forbidden words were detected. Moreover, we even established a system that can regularly monitor the work situation of surveillance personnel, overseeing the condition from multiple angles.
Even though the conversation can be accessed at any time from the labour management point of view, we still established a regulation that log data cannot be saved outside of business hours.
What are the implementation effects of LINE WORKS? Tell us about the specific use cases
We could receive immediate replies from the support team since LINE WORKS became the product inquiry tool instead of fixed-line calls. I am satisfied that we built the system for information exchange just as we originally intended.
The Sales Development Team has offices in both the Tokyo Sales Branch(Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku) and the head office(Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku), making the Sales Department employees visit here and there a daily routine. There were many times when I had to go back to the office, because either I couldn’t send a reply right away, or didn’t know I had a call. One of the implementation effects is the reduction of unnecessary travel time, and cost as LINE WORKS empowers a connected and agile workforce.
With LINE WORKS, I could quickly deliver the info that I want other members to know at ease. For instance, when my time of return from outside duties is delayed, I can send a message in a group chat assuming that at least one member would read it. Also, there is a significant difference from easily neglectable e-mails: ‘read’ acknowledgement feature. It allows us to take care of urgent matters by calling the person who has not yet read the message.
I once had a video conference with the head office employee to share a reflection on my sales performance of the day. I was away to the outer region for sales activities and was able to communicate seamlessly as if my hotel room was an actual conference room. Moreover, I can check the log history by time and can use it to review the conversation later.
LINE WORKS’ Instant messaging allows us to skip greetings for form´s sake and concisely send the core message. Thus, we can now work less hours efficiently. Furthermore, LINE WORKS is an in-house communication tool that enables us to convey a point with stickers or emoticons. We are permitted to use stickers and emoticons using a communication solution intended for internal use.
I believe LINE WORKS contributes to the ‘Operational Excellence’ by streamlining the communication and thus shortening the working hours.
What features do you use other than the chat?
I used the Form feature to have the employees vote for an e-mail address for customer contact point in line with the launch of new services. The feature also comes handy when adjusting a schedule for various meetings, including studies. In the past, I had to ask each person individually or send a group e-mail. Thanks to LINE WORKS, such burden has diminished considerably.
How would you like to use LINE WORKS in the future?
It would be great if we could connect with the Tokyo Sales Department and the Osaka branch showing our references and data using the voice/video call features.
Currently, only the members of Sales Development, Direct Sales Promotion, and some of the Housing Loan Center are using LINE WORKS. In the future, we plan to expand the number of users in the Housing Loan Center and fortify the system to be promptly responsive to support sales representatives’ inquiries. Moreover, I believe that it would be better to replace e-mail announcements for each Housing Loan Center from head office with LINE WORKS.
As for Sales representatives, I think it would be more convenient to let them make use of LINE WORKS with the work iPhone provided by the company. To make this happen, we must make adjustments in the existing security measures and operational regulations related to restricting the use to iPads. Overall, we plan to actively review the use of LINE WORKS in the future to improve work efficiency.
※ All details, affiliations, and positions specified were gathered at the time of interview.