Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 10 months ago

72) #ExponentialInsights: 5 Steps to Improve Your Customers’ Financial Wellness


When it comes to the virus, the end of the pandemic is in sight.

But the financial implications will be felt for years.

And financial brands need to step up and help.

That’s why Whitney Loe, Director of Business Development at Ignite Sales, has outlined a 5-step plan every financial brand can follow to help their customers’ long-term financial wellness.

In this episode, we discuss:

- The pandemic’s impact on financial wellness

- What “digital” really means

- The 5 steps you need to take to improve your customers’ financial wellness

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

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player. have to be out there taking care ofyour customers, and that's how they're going to continue to thrive and evolve.But part of it is adapting, and it's adapting at a much quicker pace thanwhat we have seen in the past. The pandemic showed us anything. It's wehave to move faster. MM, mhm. You're listening to banking on DigitalGrowth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing,sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential bygenerating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part ofthe Exponential Insight series, where James Robert interviews the industry'stop marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom toexponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Greetings inHello, I am James Robert Ley and welcome to the 72nd episode of theBanking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of theExponential Insight series, and I'm excited to welcome Whitney Low to theshow. Whitney is the director of business development and ignite cellswhere they are digitally guiding customers to wise financial choices.Welcome to the show with me. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Thank you forhaving me today. Well, you know, we're a couple months in two 2021. And whatI'm interested to start this conversation is what are you mostexcited about right now for financial brands, when you just reflect on theprogress that has been made over the past few weeks since we started thisyear together? Um, first of all, I'm just happy to be and what I would calllike the post pandemic stage. I think we're all finding Army normal. I thinkeverybody is coming up for air and, you know, catching your breath and andgetting ready to move forward and in the new environment that we're in. AndI'm excited for financial brands in particular because 2020 was the mostdevastating year for Americans in many capacities, but especially with theirfinances. And I'm excited for financial brands to be able to guide thosecustomers back to financial wellness and to be there to help them get wherethey need to be on their journey. And I think it's something that we should allaspire to do. And it's something as an industry, that should be our number onepriority right now is to help everyone recover from what took place last yearand what's still happening this year. Yeah, What's still to come? Becausewe're not We're navigating through this. And if I go back and listen to some ofthe early podcast, I was making predictions that, you know, a couple ofthings were gonna happen. We're gonna have the health crisis. We were goingto have a financial health crisis. We were going to have a societal crisisthat knowing what that looked like. But it's like I was going back to study the1918 1919 flu pandemic. And it's like you start identifying these patternsand and then we're going to have the mental, the mental health crisis comingout of all of this and a lot of it is tied to. We're just There's just somuch on our plates right now, you know, as individuals as you know, personally,professionally, organizationally and and and for you, I think and and really,for me, I I try to just keep a positive mindset with all of this because it'sso easy to go down the negative dark rabbit hole and one of the ways thatthat I look at keeping a positive mindset is just reflection, like whathas been going well and also what have we learned? So could you articulate andmaybe distilled down a Just a key lesson that you've learned navigatingthis journey over the past year? One of the key takeaways, I think ineverything that has occurred in a lot of things have occurred, but from aperspective of financial perspective. And I choose that because, actually,you know, come from the financial...

...industry. I worked in banks, and then Iended up getting a job at a credit union, drink the Kool Aid and that wasit. And so you know that that motto of people helping people really meanssomething to me, and it really resonates to me. And what I've learnedthrough this pandemic is that, you know, there are people out there that arereally suffering, and they really do need help with their finances. In thefinancial capacity of 2020 it wrecked people's lives overnight in some cases,and the fact that there are people that are having these, you know, mentalhealth issues. I mean, suicides are up anybody that is choosing to end theirlife because of their financial situation, because of the embarrassmentthat they feel and anything like that just breaks my heart. And so as anindustry, I take it personally to think that, hey, you know, we really do needto make this. Our number one priority is to help them on this financialwellness goal, and we have to do it quickly, and we have to do it also theright way. We have to have the right tools to actually help customers andconsumers and members that are out there. So that was my biggest takeaway.Was just watching the, you know, the pain and the hurt and and being like,Let's do something about it, Yeah, no, exactly like, let's turn those lessonsand that insight. We start to turn it into action, and that's you know why Iappreciate the work that you're doing and and and the rest of the team atignite cells and and and to that point, when you think about this idea of cellsdigital cells in this post covid world, what is a commonly held belief that thebanking industry might have but you passionately disagree with, um when Ithink that the word digital has honestly almost become overused. And Ithink it's become confusing to a certain degree because I thinksometimes when you're talking to financial institutions and you say theword digital where their mind goes really is technology and deliverychannels. And so I feel like sometimes we get off topic and we're moreconcerned about the pieces of technology and the delivery channelsversus actually the real engagement and what is actually like digitalengagement and member engagement in customer engagement. And so I thinksometimes we need to step back and say, Okay, what is it really that we'retrying to solve and in what capacity delivery channels are great, But whatare you going to do to actually solve the problem in order to be able to putit into a delivery channel and get it to that customer? So that's one thingthat I think sometimes we just get too focused on the technology part of itand not focused enough on actually how we're solving the problem, because thetechnology is just the tool. The vehicle to help guide someone frompoint a to point B. But the conflict of that, the challenge is when, at theexecutive level, a technology purchase decision is made not really thinkingabout how that's going to not necessarily impact the account holder,the customer, the member's life, but those that have to deploy thetechnology, the employee experience. And so it's a double edged sword oflooking at. How is this technology going to either help enable or couldmaybe create some fear? Conflict resistance? How do we navigate thoseconversations more so internally when it comes to helping others say, Youknow, technology is used to empower what you're doing to empower the livesof others, not to be a threat or to take away your job. How can we putpeople's minds at ease? So that's a really good question. And, you know, Iread your book and you made a really good point in your book, which was allof the departments and financial institutions have to come together tomake this work. This isn't just for the I t department or the marketingdepartment or anything like that. So you all have to to come together anddecide. Ultimately, you know what is...

...your goal. And how are you going toidentify the problem? Sometimes I think we all get together. And we're just,you know, we were brainstorming and we're talking, and we're like, Okay,well, this sounds really cool. And this looks like a really good shiny object.And maybe this will be really good. And sometimes I think we end up throwingthings against the wall and hoping it's gonna stick. When if we were actuallyengaging with the consumer on the level that they're desiring and asking theright questions and guiding them, I don't think we would have to sit thereand wonder what new technology is best and what they're going to want. Becauseif you're asking them when you're interacting with them and you're askingin the right way, you're already gonna know. So then all you do is you takethat information, that data, you analyze that you put it together andcome up with a plan and implement what it is that they are actually lookingfor. So you're not assuming anymore. You're taking the Assumpta part out ofit. Yeah, let's talk about that. That idea of coming up with a plan becauseyou and the team at Ignite Sales wrote a guide, which is a five step plan forimproving your customers. Financial Wellness. What was the impetus to tosit down and put together? It's It's a great piece of content, very practicaladvice. We'll talk through some of the the insights, but I want to get intowhy do this to begin with in the first place? And really, what role doesfinancial wellness play for the future growth of financial brands? That's Imean, that's a great question, you know, ignite. We've been in the industry for20 years more on the bank side than the credit unions, and our goal has alwaysbeen customer service and customer engagement. But when the pandemic cameup and we saw the toll that it was taking on, you know, Americans acrossthe country and and also in the financial institutions who werescrambling, trying to figure out how am I going to continue to interact withthese customers and help them get where they need to be? When we can't open ourbranches right, we can't. Nobody can come into a branch, and our onlinecommunication platforms might not be where it needs to be. And so really, itjust came to like a screeching halt for some financial institutions, and it wasreally scary as an industry to try to figure out Hey, how are we going to getback and get connected to these customers again and help them? And sowhen we're talking about, you know, writing this this white paper andtalking about financial wellness, financial wellness is the key tosuccess. For financial institutions to continue to exist, you can't becomplacent, can no longer sit back and wait to see what everybody else isdoing. You have to be out there taking care of your customers, and that's howthey're going to continue to thrive and evolve. But part of it is adapting, andit's adapting at a much quicker pace than what we have seen in the past. Thepandemic showed us anything. It's we have to move faster. Absolutely, andit's that idea that AQ adaptability quotient plus e Q Emotionalintelligence is going to They're going to be too competitive advantages, andyou talk about this idea of speed, Jan Belen is quoted in the White paperquote. Banks have a window of opportunity to lead in financialwellness. But they need to move faster if they want to stay at the forefrontof this amazing opportunity and and, for some clarity, say, financialwellness. How is that different than what this industry has spoken about foryears? I think with some half truths or not really big commitments behind,which is that idea of financial education, financial literacy. How isfinancial wellness different than financial education or financialliteracy? So it's incredibly different. And if you had asked me that questionfive years ago, I would have told you you're crazy because I would have beenlike, Oh, no, it's all about financial education and credit Unions are big onfinancial education and they should be. I just don't know if it was absolutelyexecuted in the right manner at different times. Um, you know, we havein credit unions, you have a lot of certified financial counselors andthings like that. But you've got humans asking other humans questions. So whatdoes that mean? That means everybody...

...asked something differently, andeverybody does something their own way, and there's nothing wrong with that.But if you're not asking the same questions consistently, and you're notengaging in a consistent manner. It's really hard to have financial education,take whole and so financial wellness, that is, that's just the customerjourney. To be able to have peace at night when they go to sleep to notworry about you know where they're going to get the money for their nextmortgage payment or have their water cut off for their electric cut off. Or,you know, am I going to be homeless, especially since the pandemic,especially with, you know, people losing their jobs and gettingfurloughed. So this goes way beyond financial education. You can sit thereand talk to them and try to teach them things, and not that you shouldn't andthey want to learn. People want to be good with their finances, but it goesso much deeper than the education. It's how you make my life better. How canyou improve my situation? And they're looking for that from their financialinstitutions, financial wellness, financial empowerment and this is Thisis not a very popular thought that I'm about to share and definitely willruffle some feathers. Financial literacy and there's research comingout showing that financial literacy alone is actually more detrimental to aperson's financial well being, because you're giving them the knowledge that'screating a false sense of security or expertise. But there's not the followthrough to apply that knowledge or the expertise to guidance, the counselingto make that knowledge stick and create those positive behaviors. So I reallylike what you're talking about getting getting good at asking good questionsbecause you break down here a five step plan to do just that and and I want totalk through each one of these points here because they're very practical,which is number one Discover customer needs, which is number one in thisprocess to build a plan for financial wellness. Can you talk about what thatis and how to apply that thinking? So when you're talking about when we talkabout discovering, um, customer needs, it sounds like a really simple concept,and in most people's minds it is. But it's actually more complicated thanwhat even we realize. It goes so much beyond saying, Hey, you know, do youwant this checking account or how do you want? You know, this loan, it'sabout actually deep diving into the customer's financial situation andlearning what it is that's actually going on. And so at at night, that'sthe big thing that we do is. We're asking the questions, but we're askingthe questions in the right way and then the right capacity, and it's a deeperlevel than and then just a lot of this is, you know, at the at the basic level.It's just okay, what You know, I'm gonna push this product or servicebecause it's what I know and I don't know these others, and I really don'tknow what that's going on with them. But this just looks good and I'm goingto offer it to them. And what happens is they end up getting in the wrongproduct and service, and they end up getting frustrated and they gosomewhere else. You haven't really accomplished anything. You haven'treally discovered what's going on with them at the financial level. You justgave them something and hope that it will work for them. But part ofdiscovering the needs and asking the right questions, it really it comesdown to service, and when we talk about service, service is not where you pointthe consumer to what the financial institution is wanting to sell servicesobjectively, providing the consumer what they need. Two totally differentdifferent concepts. And if you think about it, a lot of times financialinstitutions do want to run promotions or specialist and push certain productsand services, and there's nothing wrong with that. But at the same time, wehave to still be asking what it is that they actually need. And we have to beguiding them. They want to GPS. They don't they want to know, Hey, where doI need to be going? And how can you help me get there? And how can you tellme things that I may need without me even knowing it's no more of thislooking back at this historical data...

...and things like that. So when it comesto Discovery, you've got to ask it in the right way, helping the unawarebecome aware like it's almost like if we're looking at this as health care,it's a diagnostic, and we're going through because you know, people ifpeople come in and their self diagnosed meaning, uh, well and and and we and weasked the wrong question. What what type of checking account do you want?It will lead them down the path to your point of potentially frustration andconfusion, and they'll just leave. But when we put those guard rails on thebumpers of of a bowling lane to guide that that ball down the the alley sothat they can get a strike and and and feel really good about the progressthat they're making, it's providing a framework, which which brings us topoint number two. Not only should we ask or, as I teach here go all in, ask,listen and learn and then lean in to to offer the solution to the to the painpoints. But you said something here, Number two, which is to record goals.That is probably one of the most important things you can do in yourdigital transformation journey. And this is this is where digital becomesso powerful. Imagine you're having these conversations, you know, withyour customers. And, um, it's your front line staff and whether it bethrough call center in your branch, um, even a chat bot. However it is, ifyou're not recording that information and taking it and storing it andanalyzing it. How are you going to know what to anticipate or work to next toprovide to that customer? And that's where the digital comes into play. Sowith our platform, we're asking these questions, but we're taking the answersand we're saving them. And we're putting them in reports that you justbasically log in and you've got all of this data at your fingertips ready togo. And no more like analyzing it, trying to pull it out of your core,throwing it into an Excel spreadsheet, trying to clean it all up. Now theseare reports that you just get in and look and you know exactly what's goingon. And we can tell you so many different things with our DataAnalytics, and that's incredibly powerful because you're going todiscover that maybe that customer does need a home loan, or maybe they need acar loan. But maybe it's not right then. Well, if you're not keeping up withthat and you're not going back and touching base and saying, Hey, you know,you said you might be buying a car or house or something. I just wanted tocheck in. You're losing that opportunity. He's going to be able toremember all of those conversations and remember to pick up the phone or sendan email and call that customer. It's taking a proactive stance. It's aproactive stance. It's actually really interesting that we're talking aboutthat. We have an article coming out with you in sight. I think it's nextweek and it touches exactly on this. And the title was it of it is you sayyou want a home? Oh, do I have a car loan for you? Because right so theytold us they wanted all they told us they wanted to hold three months agowere completely forgot about that. So we're gonna send them this, you know,mass marketing email about about a car loan. It's much deeper than that. Butthat's what's going on there, telling you one thing. And sometimes we'redoing the exact opposite, and we've got to stop that. Yeah, So we asked goodquestions. We diagnosed. We discover customer needs number one. We recordgoals number two, and and that's really where we can turn. And I love how youframe this. We turn the data into analytics and the analytics become theinsights that we can take action on. Which brings us to point number threeoffering accurate and easy suggestions, and that almost echoes what wasmentioned before. It's about small steps, small steps. It is definitelyabout about the small steps. It's about the the guiding. It's not just going,Oh, hey, what you need because they don't always know what they what theyneed. It's about uncovering what's going on and you being the oneproviding the solution and some people liking it now. I mean, we have a lot ofterms that we use in the industry cross selling deep selling. But actually, oneof my colleagues at IGNITE has the perfect phrase, and she calls it deepadvice. And that's exactly what it is. We're advising them what they need theyneed to be doing and where they can get... their financial wellness journey.And and one of the statistics out there is 57% of consumers. They just want tobe heard by their financial institution. They just want to be listened to, andand that's what we're doing in this capacity with these guides and thislevel of engagement. Well, that that's your digital EQ. That's your digitalemotional intelligence. You know, you're just offering that that ear tolisten to and then provide the prescription, the cure to the solutionto their pain points. Which brings us to number four tracking and measuringprogress. Because if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. And then howare you going to know if you're moving forward on that journey? Which pointNumber four is to provide a wellness score? Yeah. So this is, uh, this isone of my favorite concepts when it comes to financial wellness, andbasically, their wellness score is having an analysis for where they stand.It's similar to your FICO score. Score, score, score. Excuse me, but we'regiving members away, you know, to actually gauge their progressionbecause financial wellness is a lifelong journey. It's going to beforever adapting and changing or each individual consumer. But this givesthem the ability to gauge where they are in that journey, so it's able togive them some confidence and some security to know that they're actuallyreaching those goals. And for the financial institution, it's the samething. It's letting us see that there were working towards that goal and it'sshowing us that we're helping them get there. So we're on this path togetherand so we can both set the same goals and set out to accomplish them together.And that's why we're focusing on this wellness score and also, you know, toget more even practical. We want to get it to a level where you can actuallysee what's going on with your peers to, because we all like your peercomparison. So you know, we want to take it to that next level as well.It's definitely a new way of looking at financial wellness and it definitely anew way to help the consumer get to where they want to be. I'm a bigbeliever that financial coaching is the next level up, like every checkingaccount gets packaged with a financial coach and the financial coach is notthere to tell someone what to do because I was having this conversationwith someone here at the Digital Growth Institute the other day. You never wantto ask someone what they want, but you also never want to tell someone whatthey need. You ask the good questions. You get good at asking good questions,and then you can provide a recommendation and a path forward forthem. But you have to provide a way to measure the progress that they'remaking. Progress must be greater than perfection because I think it's so easythat when we look at the journey, the path we're always measuring against thefuture state, which as you move forward, that horizon line is always going tomove forward. So you're never going to feel like you're making any progress.You measure progress by looking behind where you came from. This is a greatidea with the wellness score. Which brings us to number five. That idea ofthe coach, the accountability number five here is just check in. Yeah, justcheck in. That's really important. That's something that I think sometimeswe don't do enough and we all get busy. Let's let's be real. We all have busylives, personally and professionally. We all wear several different hats, butsometimes I think that the consumer experience stops after the accountopening. I don't think that sometimes we follow up in the ways that we should,and one thing at at at night that we really work on with our partners, andwhat we're really proud of is we give them away to actually check in withtheir customers. And I I'm a firm believer of taking care of thecustomers you already have. I know that we all have to get out there, and wehave to get new customers and bring in, you know, new consumers. But if you'renot taking care of the ones that you already have, you're not really doingyourself any service by not going back. And I liken it to like a financialwellness checkup, and and we keep...

...talking about this analogy. But if yougo to the doctor and you tell them what's going on, you expect him to beable to diagnose you and then give you the tools to fix it. And I think whathappens sometimes in financial institutions is we'll talk to them,even like the financial education, and we'll be like, Okay, this is what youneed to do, but we're not giving you anything to help you get there, and soI think it's really important to go back and do this financial check up onyour existing customers while you're still working on garnering Newlands. Soit's very important to have those touch points. And and that is something thatyou know we believe firmly in at night and our clients due to and we've seenthe results from it. And 79% of consumers say a personalized service ismore important than a personalized marketing. And they want to be able,you know, to have their conversation, the seamless between the channels,which is while we're talking about this digital, and they don't want to have torepeat their information if they told you something once, they don't want towalk into a branch and have to go through the whole conversation again.So those are all those touch points that we work in, and that is our way ofkeeping in touch with these customers and and taking them on that journeywith the financial institutions. It's really about micro moments. It's aboutmicro experiences because I think you know, the idea of masses still foundits way into digital, and I'm going to give a shout out to Linda JarmanJohnson, who was a guest on episode number 45 titled Creating ServantOriented Content. Lynn had just shared in one of our digital growth book clubsthat her team is doing outbound outreach, literally just calling theiraccount holders not to sell anything but just to simply check in. And Ithink this is key. See how they're feeling right now? And it's opening upso many more opportunities for growth by just asking good questions. Sothere's a very practical application from someone else that has shared thisin the book club with what you're speaking, and that's what I try to do.I try to connect dots and people together who are doing amazing thingsand this. In fact, Whitney has been a very good conversation, a lot ofamazing practical insights. If we could just sum it all up. What is one keyaction that you would recommend for financial brands to commit to take overthe next 6 to 12 months to continue to make progress just along their digitalgrowth journey? When it comes to this idea of guided insights, I think mostimportantly, and I've said this earlier, it really is. This year needs to befocused on the financial wellness of your customers. And how are you goingto get back there? You know, I would suggest Take a step back. Look at whatyou're doing now, and and look at ways that you can actually make someimprovements and change some things. And then look also for the rightpartners. Let's be honest, we can all do this on our own. We all have to worktogether, but find somebody in the industry that has been there and donethat and and and has been around and can work with you and and has numbersto give you in data and somebody that really wants to be a partner. And I'mnot talking about just vendors. I'm talking about everybody, like, look forsomebody that can help you get there and step back and go. Okay. How are wegoing to ask these questions? And how are we going to capture this data? Andwhat are we gonna do with it? To make it better for our customers? Get good.Asking good questions. Good questions. Yeah. Yeah. And And get this and getget us back on track. Because it was a hard hard year Last year in 2021 yearof recovery, And, uh, we have a big task ahead of us. We really do. Wereally do, and it's time to It's time to really get serious about that.Absolutely. If someone wants to continue this conversation with you,Whitney, what's the best way for them to reach out and say hello so you canfind me on LinkedIn? I'm on there all the time. You can also go to ignitesales dot com and reach out to us through there. And then my email is Wlow and that's L o E. There's no W in low attic night sales dot com. Alright,Whitney, thank you so much for joining me on another episode of banking ondigital growth. Thank you, James. As...

...always. It until next time be Well, dogood and wash your hands. Yeah, thank you for listening toanother episode of Banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley. Like whatyou hear? Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on applepodcasts, Google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe while you're there. Toget even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growthdot com to grab a preview of James Roberts. Best selling book Banking onDigital Growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon.Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framedaround 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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