Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 2 years ago

20) #ExponentialInsights: The Great Pause: Why Now Is the Time for Transformation w/ Samantha Paxson


The pandemic has given us a chance we never get in this fast-paced world. 

“The Great Pause”

A once-in-a-lifetime chance to stop and assess what we’re doing.

 Samantha Paxson, Executive Vice President/Chief Experience Officer at CO-OP Financial Services, says your financial brand should take advantage of it. 

She joins me in today’s episode and we discuss:

-The Great Pause and why it’s the best time for transformation

-How to build trust with your customers

-How to increase engagement and, ultimately, market share in this time

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

We never had a time in history, are at least in our lifetimes, where we've really been able to just stop and be able to assess what are we doing? You are listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Laigh, a podcast that empowers financial brand, marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series, where James Robert Interviews the industry's top marketing, sales and FINTECH leaders, sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the show, Sam. Thank you going to be are well. When you and I talked to kind of frame up some thinking around this conversation, the world was a very different place. A lot has transpired over the past few weeks and you've been busy leading your team, leading your organization. But what is good, what is good right now for you, as you've worked through this, this new normal that we're all trying to pick through together, I was a lot of good things. I mean I read an article in a medium the other day describing this time as the great pause and if you haven't read the article, to it's it's it's really good. Probably great pause, and basically what it's saying is that we've never had a time in history, or at least in our lifetimes, where we've really been able to just stop and be able to assess what are we doing? How can we be doing it better, as we've been kind of going through Maslow's hierarchy of needs that are water, food, you know, kind of view of the world where we've been fighting...

...fires, all of this change that's happening to in our personal lives and our business. So you you mentioned the great pause and you're right. We have not been able to really create this space and time. This has been a almost a forcing function into our work life, into our personal life, our family life, but it's literally one of the for digital growth operating environments that I work with financial brands around, because there's there's the the training aspect, the learning aspect, which you have a big conference that's right around the corner. You have the thinking aspect, of the planning aspect and, as you noted in our in our pre interview, this is like strategic planning in a week. Then you have the doing aspect of everything, but I find a lot of people get stuck in the doing of whatever it is that we're working on. So it is nice to get this space in time and this great pause, as you noted, because it is from there we can move into the fourth environment, which is to review and reflect, learn something and just apply this thinking going forward. So as you've shifted internally, you mentioned here two things that are important, the employee experience and the service or the customer experience. How is that shifting? That thinking shifted for you? In this post covid nineteen world? It's been tremendous to play this out. We really had to put on our mask before assisting others in really looking at our employees, because we have this distributed workforce. Each location had a different set of rules. We did have also essential employees that in our contact center that have to be on the front lines really assisting our memory credit unions. So what their experience was going to be was going to be different than our marketing team or our finance team or our sales teams that are kind of sitting at home.

So we had it. We really had to take within a week and a half. We moved everyone remote, had to get all of the infrastructure stabilized, had to really make sure our frontline staff were well taken care of and as we we just felt as a leadership team, tremendous responsibility to take care of the humans that could be medically impacted by this pandemic. And so that was first and foremost in our minds and took took up a good two three weeks for us to really get our make sure that we managed that the right way and as we were pivoting, I mean of course we were doing that while keeping service levels as solid as possible during all of that transition, keeping up times of solid as possible. What we realize was that, while the work that we've been doing over the past few years has really paid off, because Co op and our board has driven us to really invest aggressively in our organization, to be a platform business, to be able to be agile and responsive regardless of what comes at you, and mostly that was done in order for us to bring in new service sets, new solutions, new things that would be appropriate in a growth environment, but it also works in a risk environment. So first we we took care of our employees, and what that did is that it really gave us a culture lift the employees and we ramped up communications dramatically. We put out daily we have something called the cop snapshot and that was typically a weekly. We now made it daily so that employees would know what to expect. And many of them their schools were closing. We were just talking about I'm I'm now a homeschool teacher and and a cxo. They have all of these new challenges and how do you make it...

...all happen? So they were needing a lot of information. Our CEO, Todd Clark, we were he is speaking with them weekly via video conference, and what we found is that employees gratitude was so high. It really help them be thankful for coop and what we were able to do and it made them hungry to be change agents and do what we need to do for our clients. And so us really focusing first on the employee experience was helping us be more innovative with the changes that were happening in the covid environment, to say what should we do differently to best service our clients and their members? You know, hearing you talk through that, it gives me a lot of hope just for the sheer size of the organization and being able to be agile make these pivots. Leadership, I think, plays a big role in that, and just to hear what todd has been doing with communication, more importantly video communication, to ensure that the human element is still in there, just like you and I are having this conversation. We had a little bit of technical difficulties and hoping that we will see this through, but the fact that I can see you just add so much more richness to everything going on and communication, communicating courage, because, just like this virus, courage is contagious. And gratitude. I was just talking with Dr Benjamin Hardy about this, the importance of gratitude starting in the day. Just put your mindset in the right direction to rise above all the chaos, all the confusion, this crisis, and it is that to limit that. But it's like you said, it's about putting your mask on, an eyes and I know it's the oxygen mass methods, enough that the surgical mask. So let's talk about you've dealt with the employees and and that's had a big impact. About experience, and...

...experiences a big part of stays, conversation and really the opportunities in a post covid nineteen world. So how would you define the customer experience or, for credits, the member experience in today's digital world? Really, from your perspective as it stands in the one are the opportunities to that matter going forward? Yeah, I'm so. We're saying in pretty much four different ways, if you want to roll that all up, digital transformation has never been hotter, it's never been sexier. It is really important and it's and essential. I know it is something that we've all spoken about for a few years now, but man, we are grateful and that our board pressed us to really invest in the infrastructure and the teams and they developers and doubled down on our distributed workforce and having talent available from everywhere, just getting the best talent. When you put all of those things together, having data scientists like really having that all together. It helped us be able to shift like that and so us being able to turn really quickly, even in the midst when the COVID was happening. We had just put in the biggest piece of technology. Had To have the biggest tech upgrade in our contact center that we had ever had and the teams were in the midst of doing that technology shift when covid hit and then we had to move. We had to move the teams that were in our Dallas location to another location, take some of those teams, make them remote, have dual site continuity with our Iowa location. So that went off without a hitch. We were able to do that with vary with limited impact to our clients and we ended up dealing with double the capacity of our call...

...volumes and had service levels remain stable. So when we talk about digital transformation, it's crucial in a time like this and what we understand about consumer sentiment and behavior, it's they will give us all a break because they understand covid. They'll do that near term, but come the fall or you know, as this kind of drones on, they're going to expect that kind of response and that kind of service level as they would expect from Google or any sort of big tech company. And so the things that we need to be thoughtful about our digital first everything where even we're a payments companies, so we see our crediting and clients, the most sophisticated, are really looking at all of the ways that they digitally engage around the payment experience, how they're making it transparent, how they're embedding themselves and digital merchants and putting putting together full rewards programs and marketing programs using Amazon and and those types of merchants that are digital. First, and then the credit Nians that are just really kind of dipping their toe in the water. They're just seeing a run on debit cards. They're like they have members that are typically cash members that are now asking for debit cards that are unrolling in the pays and apple pay and Samsung pay, garment pay, all of these different types of all of the digital pays. And then, you know, we're just really needing to reassess what is that digital environment look like to to do business remotely? Secondly, we're in a took no touch world, so contactless is through the roof. Everybody is asking for contactless and they are experiencing that point of sale environment either using a digital wallet or using their contactless cards. So we're seeing a lot of skip the dit types of efforts and campaigns and, of course, rounding out that financial...

...wellness between both of those things on in the payment's environment near term. We saw a lot of skippa pays and and really demonstrating that empathy for for our member base. And then on the flip side, we need to be really be thoughtful about remote service. How are your members doing business with you or when you're not going to be seeing them and person so how what is that journey like within your credit union and how do they take advantage of your services, whether it's spend, say, borrow and best protect? What does that what do all of those use cases look like in a remote service environment? And then fraud, I mean car not present, fraud is starting to go up dramatically. So how are you making sure that your teams are managing that? So it's it's just really rethinking that employee experience and the member experience through their eyes and it's leading with empathy and using we talked about the operating system, having your operating system and your service model be digital first throughout all of those and there's very simple things that you can do to just start that. Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the way consumer shop for and buy financial services forever now. Consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch, if they walk into a branch at all. But your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing and sales leader. But it doesn't have to, because James Robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey. Visit www dot digital growthcom to get a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth, or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon.

Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today to confidently generate ten times more loans and deposits. Now back to the show. Yeah, you know, hearing you talk through that digital transformation, digital first, digital payments, and it's to that last point the I the idea on digital payments, because what I'm seeing is it's almost a quad tsunami, because we've had the health crisis, which is going to lead into the financial health crisis, which is going to lead into the societal crisis, which is all of those, because job displacement, for example, thirty percent unemployment is a prediction going into two thousand and twenty one. That's going to then lead to the psychological or the mental crisis. So you talked about, like the financial wellbeing, because there's such a strong correlation between physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing and really read it. The bottom of that is is financial wellbeing. And the longer that we stay in the situation, the more that consumer habits, consumer behaviors, almost like new neural networks are being formed in the consumers mind of how they're they're buying, shopping, banking, paying. So there are vast amounts of opportunity. One of the things that we, I think it's important to be cognitive of when we talk about experience, is, and you use the word empathy, it's the financial hardships and trust. Trust will become the credit. UNIS most valuable currency. I've always talked about making the you know, deposits in a consumers trust bank being their mind. What can can crediting, what can financial brands do to make those deposits, those trust deposits... the consumers? There's a few things to think about with that. Trust can be defined as character and capability and character is definitely something that credit us really own. I mean we're known as being the bid guys doing the right thing from a capability standpoint. You might not trust that a crediting you can do all of the things that you would expect them to do. Or do it. You're this seed it. Would you expect it? or the manner, the method and would you expect it? So there is what consumers end up doing is that they're finance from no maths. They are they are dig no maths, pulling in their different use cases from different partners. I have a I have a story. Anybody that knows me. When I started working at Cob I was as blackberry that did three things. It made phone calls, that kept my calendar and I could send a really weird text message like that took forever on that keyboard. I now have an iphone, a smartphone that has a hundred eleven different companies that I can carry around with me everywhere, and typically my day is traveling, and so I need to be able to do business with all of those different providers regardless of where I am. So what the end consumer has been doing in terms of trust is finding the quickest point from a to B and that whoever can execute a use case, and this the phone, the aggregate and environment of the phone, is the one that wins. The challenge there is that the end consumer doesn't have a good idea of how they're doing in their final mancial life when they have fragmented all of those use cases. They can't tell how am I performing on my cash blow, how am I doing with my retirement? How am I doing and saving for my eight year old's college education? What does that what does my insurance look like? And I think the opportunity for credit unions is to... to double down on the empathy and the the trust that they have that they're going to do what's best for their members while they reaggregate financial services and truly behave as this ecosystem of engagement and financial wellness. And that's how you build trust that can turn into market share. We are saying transaction volumes down because people are not just are not spending in a nondiscretionary manner or a discretionary manner. They're putting everything into the base that they essentials. But we have a real opportunity to be there for our members and to demonstrate that empathy and what they can be doing from a financial wellness standpoint over communicating with them, we will win. The battleground today is on engagement and financial wellness and when you put that together along I still believe that I'm payments as part of that engagement. When you put that all together, we're building that trust and we're growing market share and you will also see you loans pick up. When you do that, you will see that correlation between that engagement and payments, day to day lifestyle and you being embedded in the day to day lifestyle of the member with those life stage big ticket items that happen for the credit news depend on is a bread and butter. You know, I really like that perspective. Trust is character and capability combined, and so when I look at experience through through the Lens of Digital Growth Institute, it's really twofold. It's it's the digital experience with the DX, but that that's only one side of the equation. It's also the human experience, as we talked about before, and using technology to bring people together for good. So here's a question. I'm... executive at financial brand out of Credit Union. I get what you're saying, Sam but, like I can't get everyone on board. And you said crediting isn't really known for speed. But this covid nineteen is a forcing function to force some of this digital transformation that's been in the conversations. Fear. What can I do to help bring others along so that we can move forward in a unified manner to implement some of this thinking and really build experience? Is that Bill Trust that that generate leads, retained leads and you to use your work reaggregate the Credit Union. That's funny. It feels overwhelming. I know for for credit unions that feels really like a lot to look at their the entire experience that they're delivering and all of their channels and all of their use cases, like how I optimize this? What's interesting is that covid night team is forcing them to do it. They're having to look at their branch experience, as I will, how we need to change this to make it safe for our members. We need to have members outside. They would if we're open. They would then have an appointment and then they get to come in and meet with one of our team members and member services representatives. We're doing this. We're transforming the experience already. We're looking at elevated call volumes, we're looking at greater uptick and, like I said, that payments vehicles and all of the unselar services that goes go around those payments vehicles were seeing an uptick and digital engagement on in digital banking and all your social channels, how you service those clients. So we are doing it. What I would recommend is that what we tend to do is we look internally. I said look inside first. I would actually flip that for designing the experience for the...

...member and against our use cases. He look at the basic things that we do for our members. We have them save, spend, Invest, borrow and we keep their money safe. So those are the basic use cases of what we do at a credit union. And when you think about who those people are that you are providing those use cases to, crediting INS tend to cast the widest net possible and say we are everything to everyone, and that is a challenge when we are community based financial institutions that have limited resources, limited staff. We don't have that the capital investment to compete at the same level as big tech and thin tech and the top three banks in the country that are investing dramatically into these things. So it is helpful to focus. We do work. There's a credit me in our borderline credit men that has has a tremendous case study on how they really focused and they said we are going to focused on on these really tech savvy, connected types of members and make tough choices about what are we going to cut, what are we going to say no to in order to enhance the experience for this member? So you have to get very focused on who your members are and what that experience is across those use cases and you do design. You get very clear and understanding those members and design from their point of the point of view in so practically the way that you do that. I do believe it's important to journey map. I do important. Believe it's important to have a cross functional team within your credit nion of many functional areas where we're really understanding what does that...

...look like and collaborating on that and then you make choices on what are we willing to change? I know a credit nion that decided that they were gone. They were going to cut their branches and cut their ATM footprint participate in a network of ATMs so that they could invest in digital. There's many choices to make when you're saying build by or partner, but when you are clear about who your target member is and what they want and design or think about it from their perspective inward, they're going to be a lot more successful and prioritizing where you should be investing and understanding creating metrics around are you going to gain market share if you make those strategic bets. So start from the consumer and go in and don't have seventy two different consumer types as their person as. You really have to focus that right there. Don't have seventy two different personas. I can't tell you when we go in and we do digital growth diagnostics and we see, and I've seen, said I've seen upwards of ninety different persona types. This is about simplifying the complexities and we have to start the simplification internally, because otherwise the complexities than just just spread out externally. And I liked what you said. This is about people, putting people at the heart of all of our thinking and all of our doing. Its human centered design. But most importantly, it's having the courage to say no. It's having the courage to let go of the past and it's not personal. It's just what goad us where we're at today will get us to where we need to go tomorrow. So I'm finding courage is really required at a time like this. Sam It's been sexual, a wonderful courage, scary, and...

...that is hard, but it is it is exciting to like. I think that we have to see it. We're very good at saying Oh, that won't work and that's not good and people can show their value and saying like things are wrong. We it's much harder to be have a builder's mindset or gap mindset around this. This is a people meet us, these members meet us that and they're getting annoyed by chase. They are annoyed by Bank of America and really how they've handled covid so we are being served up as incredible opportunity right now. This is giving us the space, as the credit UNI movement, to say we're an important part of the financial services fabric and we can really help people right now and look, we're here and we're going to show you how I'm going to do it, and I think that's something we missed in two thousand and eight. We missed it. That, and and that is the opportunity and really it's it's been such a wonderful conversation. A lot of practical ideas for someone listening. I'm going to take take your recommendation on focus and I'd like to ask you one last question. Let's shorten the curve twelve months. What is your recommendation for financial brand or credit union to focus in on, if so that we don't have this list of seventy two things that we need to do, but if you could maybe just say you know what this is. It's not the end all, be all, but it's just going to get you started in moving in the right direction. I would say we need. You need to double down on how you're investing right now so all of the shifts that you're making now keep going with them. Throw the original budget out the window and the original strategic plan. It's important for us to be focused on a digital first environment. Look and see the trends that you saw. How what? What was member behavior like? When you make these ships, can't be open to really measuring what just happened and...

...saying, all right, let's keep going with this because it's the digital is going to go faster. It is what we're seeing from our competitors really, not even in the banking space, but in the big text space. Apple got into financial services and payments. They are that is the daytoday. Member engagement, and I think as credit unions we look too we look too much and at our land metrics and our our piano to drive our strategic choices. That's looking backwards. I think we have a up an opportunity to look forwards and to say, how are members behaving and where are our technology competitors coming in? And we need to make sure that we can be trusted from a capability standpoint. So, as we've seen, member behavior moved to completely remote to having everybody basically in, including my eighty seven year old mother in law, do her banking remotely and via a cell phone. We have to be digital first, remote service and be available in a no touch environment and I think that's going to help us speed up this idea of digital transformation and that flexibility on how we bring talent in and how they work I think needs to continue, very much, so, very much. So it so looking forward building trust once again through character and capability digital first, Sam, if someone wants to continue the conversation that we started today, what's the best way for them to reach out to you and say hello? Linkedn's always great. I'm Samantha Passon on Linkedin and I'm also pretty active on twitter as well. Sam Smithe Packson twitter. Excellent. Sam, thanks again for joining me on another episode of banking on digital growth. Absolutely thank you, James Robert. Until... time, be well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Laigh. Like what you hear, tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcast, Google podcast or spotify, and subscribe while you're there. To get even more practical, improven insights, visit www dot digital growthcom to grab a preview of James Roberts best selling book banking on digital growth, or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around twelve key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate ten times more loans and deposits. Until next time, be well and do good,.

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