Redefining your Bank’s Customers Experience with Salesforce
Episode 017: Redefining your Bank’s Customers Experience with Salesforce
We’re back with another insightful episode diving deep into the fascinating world of technology in banking! This time, we are privileged to host Valerie Weis from Atrium.
In this episode, Valerie shares her experience of transitioning from leading a wealth management group to leading Salesforce implementations, and how it revolutionized her bank’s success. She discusses the ins-and-outs of Salesforce implementation, emphasizing the pivotal role of early user engagement and positive change management.
But that’s not all! We also explore the future of banking technology, discussing the profound impact of technological innovations and data analytics in the banking industry. Valerie shares her wisdom on harnessing AI and analytics to boost efficiency, build stronger customer relationships, and drive business outcomes.
After the interview in our quick-takes segment Josh, Eric, and I discuss this week’s announcement that Salesforce will be listing many of their flagship SAAS products for purchase directly on the AWS marketplace, why workers seem to be so unhappy at work these days, and how much money – really – do you need to earn to be happy? It may just be a lot less than you think.
Links & Mentions
Principal Consultant, Atrium
Valerie Weis is the Financial Services Industry Lead at Atrium. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ with more than 16 years of experience in the financial services industry, she brings a uniquely multifaceted perspective to the Salesforce ecosystem. Her expertise spans retail and business banking, specialty finance, insurance, wealth management, and mortgage. Her role at Atrium involves deepening connections with clients and leveraging technology, such as Salesforce Financial Services Cloud and nCino, to help companies navigate the changing digital landscape, address industry challenges, and deliver better client experiences. Her unique industry specialization and commitment to staying at the forefront of data-driven solutions support Atrium’s mission of driving innovation and creating impactful change in the industry.
00:01 – Fred (Host)
And welcome back. This week. We welcome Valerie Wise to the podcast. Valerie is a principal consultant driving banking and wealth management innovation at Atrium of phenomenal Salesforce SI. Part of that, she spent 15 years at First Source Bank where she was responsible for leading their sales force and Encino functions. Welcome to the podcast, valerie. I have to start out by saying we have a very similar background. If I’m not mistaken, you started your FS career in wealth management prior to making the move to a sales force focused role. I also spent more than a decade in wealth and broker dealer operations, so I’ve got to ask what brought on that transition.
00:41 – Valerie (Guest)
Well, yeah, I mean it was a weird transition because by trade, I’m a certified financial planner. I mean, I am a complete data nerd. I spent the first decade of my career working directly with clients, managing all of their wealth, and then I eventually took over our wealth department. And that’s where I say that I had this little love affair with Salesforce, because, after a decade of being in the field and running a successful business but not doing it with the type of tools that I felt I really needed from like a client relationship management system, we brought wealth in under my leadership and did the first implementation just in our wealth theme, spent the next couple of years completely transforming the way that we worked with our wealth clients. And the big joke is I got a unique opportunity to then lead a second implementation, this time across every single line of business. And boom, that’s all of a sudden how my career took a left turn, really out of traditional wealth management and more into this technology hybrid type of a space.
01:57 – Fred (Host)
No, that that’s fantastic, and I’m curious just quickly on the timing of that was. Was that initial implementation and FSC implementation? I think a lot of people forget that FSC first came out with wealth functions before banking. So was that, was that FSC, or was it was it prior to that?
02:17 – Valerie (Guest)
So it was actually our bank cleared through a broker dealer called LPL Financial, and LPL Financial had their own paper and their own version of Salesforce, which was built on sales and service cloud. So that was pretty FSC days. So it was actually an LPL instance that we had first, and then we moved to sales and service and we actually started out on classic Because if we think about like the timing of everything that happened, lightning was new, fsc wasn’t around for banking yet. So you know really started out and kind of like the very beginning days of the world of sales cloud on classic.
03:01 – Fred (Host)
Totally. I LPL is a former client, so I’m very familiar with that package that you were talking about. If you have any feedback, I might know some things about how that was put together. No, I love it. And so you mentioned you had a unique opportunity. I don’t know if that’s like coded corporate language. Were you like a true believer at that point where you’re like super excited about Salesforce and you know wanting to take what it had done for your wealth team to the broader bank, or you’re like you know what Salesforce is great and I love it for what it’s doing for my team, but I like what I’m doing and you had to kind of be arm twisted into making the move.
03:45 – Valerie (Guest)
I mean definitely a true believer. Was there a little arm twisting? I don’t know, I’ll leave that to the listeners imagination, because you know I’m a CFP and I was running a wealth theme and but I was a true believer because I watched the transformation of my wealth team on Salesforce and I ran a very successful sales team on Salesforce and I could attribute a lot of our success to be able to take our processes and really automate them, have better relationships with our clients, get away some from some of our low value touches to be able to really focus on relationship building and those high. And I watched, you know, b players go to a players and C players go to be players and just transformation of all of these individuals on the team. And so I was a believer. And then my C suite watching me run a sales team on Salesforce. They were a believer but they wanted that project to be led by somebody who had actually done it in the field and kind of not let it get over like over engineered.
05:02 – Fred (Host)
No, that totally makes me curious, like how, now that you’re on the other side of the house, right now that you’re in consulting, how critical do you think that is? You know, obviously, you know hiring an SI is important. You know it. Sales first tell you that, as I will tell you that they get to be. Who’s been through it will tell you that. But from from, you still have to have people in the institution that are driving the process as a product. Or how critical is it that that person? If you had to choose, deep experience with the institution and the politics and the policies that they have to work within, or deep experience and having had done it Somewhere else before, which do you think is more critical?
05:49 – Valerie (Guest)
Oh gosh, I mean I would want to cross functional team. I’m gonna give you that the non answer answer.
05:57 – Fred (Host)
I want to you are, you are, you are a hundred percent a consultant. Now it is both.
06:03 – Valerie (Guest)
Well, because I mean no, but I mean in all honesty, like, did we do our first implementation, implementation, perfect, oh my gosh. No, there were lessons that were learned and I enjoy really being able to talk about those things. So there is something about having me experienced, but also having that business user who really knows the business, really knows what’s happening in the institution. There’s a lot to be said for that too. If you absolutely, absolutely forced me to choose one or the other, I Would go with someone who had Experience doing it before, and then they better hire a really hire a really good business change enablement team, figure out how to get that adoption. But I want both. I want to cross functional team.
06:57 – Fred (Host)
Yeah, no, I think you I mean obviously the both answer is right. You know they’re both critical. I think that obviously banks and everyone have Sometimes a challenge freeing people up from their day-to-day to really sort of contribute in a meaningful way. And and that’s one of the reasons why, you know, I do kind of Ask the, the force, the question like, if you really had to pick one, what would you, what would you want and it’s a great point, you know which you don’t, which you can’t provide internally. You absolutely need to invest it because those components still need to be there as well.
07:38 – Valerie (Guest)
If you have a really, really good SI who has done a lot of the implementations, and they will be a true partner, meaning they are not going to be a yes man, because I have hired and Fired several SI implementation partners throughout the ecosystem certainly not gonna say who, but some of them just let us do things and they let us back ourselves into corners because we knew our business process but we didn’t know enough to make certain decisions.
And, having gotten deeper into the ecosystem and now have been around for over a decade, I know what mistakes we made early on and somebody could have prevented us from making those mistakes by being like I Am being a true partner and I know you say you want this, but what you really want is this outcome and the best way to actually get that is this. So if you have a true SI, that’s gonna be that partner. Well then you could get away with just having really good people who know the business and you’ve got somebody leading you. But if you don’t have that, then you’ve got to have somebody kind of protecting you from inside the house.
08:49 – Fred (Host)
No, that that’s a critically important point. I actually don’t love, you know, the classification SI, because it it puts the emphasis on the doing and the fingers to keyboard, and obviously that’s what everybody kind of thinks about is, you know, we don’t have people that know how to, you know, build flows, we don’t have people to know how to build lightning components and write apex. But it’s much more important to have somebody that can help you translate your outcomes and your business process into best practice and and that is, you know, that’s that’s truly consulting. That’s why I’ve always, you know, thought of myself as a consultant, thought, you know, thought of the, the business that I’m is consulting. I’m not here to build widgets, I’m here to tell you Widgets isn’t what you really want, you really want cogs or you really want gears, and here’s why. And so I agree a hundred percent and that’s.
You know I guess I’ll ask this from both sides of the table. You know, having hired multiple SI’s and fired multiple SI’s, and now you know working for an SI yourself. How would you coach a product owner and executive at an institution To ask the right questions to really figure out if they’re going to have a partner or if they just have? You know To-do list and and a yes man on the other side of the of the phone. I Mean.
10:16 – Valerie (Guest)
I think some of it is a little bit of gut feel, which is certainly not like a scientific. Here’s the best five questions you should ask and listen to their answers. Some of it is a gut feel and a little bit of like a personality match. Some of it is looking back at the culture of the SI. What are their values? You know, what kind of Transparency do they have? What have the focus of their past projects been? I mean, I like in it a little bit too.
When people ask me questions like how do I find a really good financial planer Right, because that was my background for so long. Well, yeah, you know, you want to have somebody that is properly credentialed, and the same thing is going to happen into the SI world. What kind of experience do they have? What kind of credentialing do they have? For me, I’m not a big fan of Like saying a lot of people say, well, go and get, get some referrals from the client. Well, what financial advisor or what solution implementation partner is going to give you access to somebody who’s not going to say really nice thing about them?
I find that in the first couple of conversations you want to look for an SI who’s really bringing you a point of view, who is saying you know, hey, this is what I’ve heard. They’re demonstrating that they’ve actually listened to you, that they’ve identified what your pain points are or what’s unique about you. And here’s our point of view on that. And I think that that can be demonstrated pretty early on in a relationship so that you know that they didn’t just hop on a couple calls with you, let you talk, and then come back and present to you their cookie cutter answer that they give you know every single person that they talk to about that particular particular process. So I mean that’d be kind of one of the ways that I would probably test the waters. You know, look at culture fit, see how they bring a point of view, because you want to hire them for that experience that they have and the points of view that they can bring.
12:30 – Fred (Host)
Yeah, no, that I think that’s absolutely critical. What one thing I’d love your opinion on it that I’ve I’ve used in the past when I’ve been on the on the buying side of the table and not the selling side of the table was to ask a question that is both, you know, somewhat ridiculous but also sounds, you know, reasonable and logical. And and just see you know what, how they respond. You know like oh, I really don’t like the lead object at all. I want to put everything in a custom object that’s tied this way. What do you think?
and then have them say oh, that’s it, that’s right, that’s a great idea, right? Okay, then that’s probably not the right si for you. But you know, because you’re going to have that come up like probably in your first actual discovery meeting, you’re going to have, you know, somebody at the institution say oh well, you know, we have this one client in this one market that does this and we’ve got a plan for it, and you need them to say whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s not build out, you know, every little custom, nook and cranny, let’s focus on, on the broader outcome. And I I’ve always liked the like, you know, a little bit of test in the sales cycle to see how they respond.
13:40 – Valerie (Guest)
I like that because you’re going to see, are they very quickly going to be a yes man and be like oh yeah, you want to build a custom lead object. Yeah, that’s totally fine. Or they’re going to go tell me a little bit about why you think you need a custom lead object. They’re going to better understand your point of view, find out if there’s remotely any good reason which, by the way, there’s not, there’s not a challenge, someone to find a good reason and then they’re going to explain to you what a better outcome, you know, what a better path would look like. So I like that. I’m sorry I’m going to steal that from you and give you no credit.
14:21 – Fred (Host)
That’s fine, that’s fine. I you know, theft is the highest form of flattery, so so please do.
14:28 – Valerie (Guest)
I actually would give you credit though.
14:32 – Fred (Host)
Thank you, I love where this conversation is going. You know, do you have any other like very high level? You know best practices, tips, you know for an institution that is considering making a sales force move, or you know expanding their implementation, like what would you recommend? What are some things to avoid or some things they need to make sure to do?
14:55 – Valerie (Guest)
I think that one of the most overlooked aspects and something that I watch get cut from budget that’s more frequently than not is change management. Change management, business change enablement, organizational change management whichever word you want to use for it it is one of the first line items that gets cut because people go oh no, we got that user adoption, our users will get on board. We’ll figure that out. Let’s save that. 10, 15, 20, 25, that, whatever it is. And I think that engaging the users early on, involving them in the design process you know, building that ownership, building that excitement, figuring out that clear communication and the benefits you know getting all of that is so critical. And going through a really proper business change and enablement allows you to not fall into some of the traps, and I think that that foundation is so critical in your overall Salesforce journey.
16:03 – Fred (Host)
No, I love that. I will start my follow-up question by saying I am a true believer in change management. I think that this field of dreams approach if we build it, you know we’re just going to beat them into using it is certainly not a way to drive a successful implementation and it’s really a way to set yourself up for all types of compliance nightmares. I don’t mean regulatory compliance, I mean tool adherence compliance for years to come. But I’m going to ask you you know a couple of the more interesting objectives or objections I’ve heard. One is a well-designed system shouldn’t require change management support. What do you say to that?
16:56 – Valerie (Guest)
No, I mean, have you met humans? Are you meeting humans that are walking around and going? Please introduce change into something that I have consistently been doing and don’t explain to me any of the values. Don’t bring me along in the journey. Just plop something in front of me Like I mean, let’s even talk about like iPhones and androids, right.
Like I mean, that is like a highly debated type of like a cell phone thing, and you have all of the people and an iPhone and an Android are both well-designed phones, right, arguably, you could hand an iPhone to an Android user and they’re going to look at that and a lot of them will say that it’s absolute bricks and it’s useless. But a true iPhone believer, they would say this is the most well-designed thing ever. You can push up, you can swipe. This is a great user experience. I absolutely love this. So I mean there’s two things that have been designed well. But if you don’t have the education, if you don’t have the buy-in, the belief, all of that, you’re going to have somebody that’s going to look at that and go. Well, this isn’t what I really wanted or this isn’t what I really need. So I think that’s a pretty. I think that’s a pretty light argument. Also, my analogy about a cell phone is kind of thin, but hey.
18:21 – Fred (Host)
No, but I mean, I think I think you can extend it out to other technologies, right? There’s a lot of things that people spend a ton of time and I think people fall into the fallacy of fundamental change versus incremental change, right. And so another one I hear a lot is oh, facebook pushes five updates a week and they don’t do change management. Users just figure it out. But those are incremental changes, right. Those are feature functionality and they do, by the way, frequently have like help tests and pop-ups and like little notifications that tell you about a new feature. They’re not necessarily going through a massive kind of change management effort like you would for a Salesforce implementation, but if you’re going from dynamics or pen and paper or something to Salesforce, it is a massive change in how people do things day to day.
19:14 – Valerie (Guest)
It’s not incremental, well and you’re also talking about the difference, right? I mean, I know it’s just an example, but a social platform, okay, they change the feature of how you find out that it’s people’s birthdays. Well, if I don’t wish Fred a happy birthday on a Tuesday, the world is not going to collapse, right?
19:34 – Fred (Host)
But it’s December 7th for your calendar, by the way.
19:37 – Valerie (Guest)
Okay, perfect, I’m glad Birthday gives him the mail. But, like if I all of a sudden don’t know how to get somebody a statement or I don’t know how to properly do something that is part of my job that affects real human beings, the stakes are a lot higher and people take their work very seriously. It’s a place of pride for a lot of people, and so I mean, I think, when you’re also talking about the stakes being different, even if it is incremental changes, that communication factor can’t be stressed enough to have those available resources and to be communicating them to your users so that the you know, half of them that don’t get it just by figuring it out have a place to go.
20:26 – Fred (Host)
Yeah, no, that is absolutely spot on. I love it. Let’s move a little bit down the journey on. You know, from a Salesforce perspective, from your fresh implementation, to somebody that’s maybe a little further down the road, what are you saying? You know, just in general, with your clients or across the industry, biggest areas that banks are innovating and investing from a technology perspective right now.
20:54 – Valerie (Guest)
Oh, there’s so much that is happening. I mean we are seeing significant investments that are happening. Everybody’s on a digital transformation journey. You know investments are being made on online experiences, mobile experiences, contact centers, chatbots I mean really anything that touches the customer to enhance their overall experience, like, you know, portals or self-service. We are seeing investments in that. You know, if we go back and we look at COVID number one, the banking industry has been a little bit, a little bit and I’m being kind on that behind as far as technology and user experience, you know, does to begin with.
So you know, then we had COVID and everybody had to figure it out fast and in a hurry. And a lot of these banks that hadn’t innovated, all of a sudden their customers were like oh wait, you can do this for me more conveniently, but you just hadn’t. And so there’s a lot of studies that are coming out saying that COVID actually advanced this technology need by over a decade. And so all of these banks that were behind, and then you have COVID advancing things a decade, they’re now even more behind. And so we are just seeing everybody just really hyper focus on all the client experience portions of the journey and try to figure out how to make that the best experience that it possibly can be.
I think most exciting to what I see because you know some of that stuff is the nuts and bolts stuff but most exciting, I think, is what we’re figuring out with data analytics and artificial intelligence.
That’s the bread and butter of what we do at atrium. But coming from a financial background, with planning for clients, that data analysis and really understanding consumer behavior and figuring out how to have a better relationship with someone, that part is absolutely fascinating to me and thanks. Right now, they have something that a lot of the people who are coming into the market in these spin texts don’t have, and that is just mounds and mounds and mounds of data. A lot of them don’t know how to use it yet, and so we’re also seeing huge investments and people figuring out how to take all that data that they have sitting on the shelf or that they have been collecting, and figure out how are they really going to turn that into insights and turn that into something that can be used to ultimately enhance their relationship with the people that they serve, and that, to me, is really, really exciting.
23:47 – Fred (Host)
So I agree 100%, and I don’t know if you’re a regular listener of the podcast or not. We had a great conversation a few weeks ago with Manvir from Zenefi, talking about a lot of the same things, and I’ll ask you kind of the same thing I asked him, which is what does that look like, Right? So if you’re a bank and you’ve done a great job in what was the old paradigm, the pre-COVID, serving your customers in primarily a brick and mortar fashion, and you’ve got a great loyal customer base, you’ve got a ton of data. You probably don’t have those systems in place to really unify it, to really look at it from your various core and other systems of record, and you know you’re behind, right? You’re looking around and you’re seeing a lot of people that have a head start on you. What does that look like? How do you get started? What’s the one, two, three approach to really getting to value?
24:49 – Valerie (Guest)
I mean you touched on one thing, which is unification. I mean that that’s a step. That’s a step one is really getting an understanding of who that person is and getting an understanding of their household, because if you’ve got me and I am in different systems and you have a really disparate understanding of who I am to you, then you’re not going to be able to help me, then if you get that true unified view. So unification, I think, is an absolute step one, so that you know who you’re actually dealing with. From there, I mean, the sky’s the limit. We’re seeing a lot of the algorithms that are being used, everything from like fraud detection or credit risk, to make you know things go faster to. I’ll give you a really simple example that makes life better.
Let’s say you have a customer and they have been very, very loyal and they have a track record of they have never withdrawn their account and they do, and maybe they didn’t have overdraft protection or something like that. You know, having analytics to look at their history, their total relationship, maybe their household relationship, and then they over withdrawal their account, instead of them picking up the phone and going, hey, yeah, I just got charged with an NSFV. Is there any way that you know you might be able to reverse that and them telling you, I’ve been a really loyal customer and I’ve been with you for a long time and I’ve got other things, and is there any way that you can reverse that? Imagine flipping that relationship and going to them before they even get to you and saying hey, fred, we saw that that happened on your account. You have been an unbelievable loyal customer and we completely value your relationship here at this bank. We’re gonna go ahead and we’re gonna waive that for you. By the way, we also want to talk about this overdraft protection that we have on your account, you know, for $2 a month, where this would never be able to happen again.
And now, all of a sudden, you’ve created this loyalty and this appreciation, and it wasn’t from a client calling you and having to tell you about their relationship, it was because you recognize the value of the relationship. So, like a simple example like that flips the relationship on it on its on its heels and turns it into something where you are now in the driver’s seat as the bank and showing that value. So for me, looking at those simple ways that you can better understand that relationship that you’ve just unified and you can create that loyalty that then becomes a number two. Also, think about it you now don’t have somebody who’s answering the phone, who’s looking it up, who’s trying to get approvals to do something on the account. So you’ve now created this efficiency play within you, know your, your processing line, so that that’s an example of where it can be pretty impactful yeah, I love that 123, but hey no, I know I mean you jump.
27:59 – Fred (Host)
You jump ahead to use case, which I think is phenomenal, and I think you know we are not a hyper technical podcast. We’re not here to talk about you know the intricacies of different data management platforms and what have you. I think the use case is really where the rubber meets the road and I I love the, the fact that not only is that creating a better customer experience is creating a cross-sell opportunity for you to get them to adopt an additional, you know service. It also is, quite frankly, probably a less expensive interaction. You know, doing that proactive outreach, you control when that call happens so it can happen during a time that you know there’s. There’s already down time at the contact center or down time in the branch. If you’re having the branch do outreach, you also, you know are probably going to deal with not an upset customer. You know in those calls generally take longer. So I mean it seems like it’s, it’s an advantage across a number of different parameters.
You know, do you have a couple of other you know top interesting use cases to get our listeners thinking about? You know really ways that they can make you know AI and you know analytics in general, real for them. I think one thing and I’ve found this in recent conversations I’ve had with clients and others is you know they see all these amazing things that are you know out from. You know chat, gpt or you know you know different AI for you know consumer applications and I think a lot of times the conversations I’ve had, they struggle to see well, how can I really leverage that from a banking perspective? And I think you gave a couple good examples, but if you have a couple other ones, I think those would be valuable to share as well yeah, I think use case is one of the most important things.
29:52 – Valerie (Guest)
I mean, when it comes down to use case, you absolutely want to make sure that it brings business value and that it brings value to the people that you are serving. If it’s a use case that you’re trying to figure out in Salesforce, then you absolutely have to make sure that it’s actionable in Salesforce and you have the data availability. And so we spend a lot of time talking to the clients that we work with and helping them pick a use case, because that can make or break whatever it is that you’re doing, and so I mean it can go everything from something as little as like we’re trying to get you know your commercial lending to go through a little bit faster, and so we’re looking at you know rates, or we’re looking at how quickly we can get somebody’s risk approved. But I think that when we think about some of the other, I started to ramble a little bit.
30:52 – Fred (Host)
30:55 – Valerie (Guest)
So when we go back, though, and we think about all of the different use cases, it is the most important thing to possibly have Transaction analysis. That’s a great example on a consumer side to understand, because humans, they have a particular way that they oftentimes interact with their deposit accounts, for example, and so you can look from a fraud standpoint and say, oh hey, we’ve all got that call from our credit card company Like, hey, is this charge really? You Did you really make this? And it can be a simple like oh no, that wasn’t me. And boom, you’ve got fraud on its head to something like oh yes, it was me, and it’s a slight inconvenience, it’s a slight point of friction, but when you look at the fact that now the customer understands that you are ultimately trying to protect them from fraud, which is completely rampant in this country, then they appreciate the fact that there was maybe a tiny bit of friction, but you were ultimately there and you protected them. So I mean transaction analysis, fraud protection. Those are really really common and valuable use cases risk mitigated lending, default risk lending.
We had another use case where it was a bank that they had a large presence in Florida, and Florida got hit with all of those with that hurricane and Sarasota, that particular area. There was a ton of devastation, and so they were able to use analytics to figure out who in their client base was in that area and had houses in that area or investment properties in that area, second homes in that area, where they were likely going through a completely devastating time, and from there be able to say, hey, we figure that you’ve probably been impacted by this horrific event. We’d like to do a couple of different things for you. First off, express our condolences for just that tragic event that you’ve gone through and at the loss of your potential home or whatever it may be, but also to say we have this loan with you and we would like to offer you a skip payment. Or we also now have this particular loan product to you where we are not going to have a collateral and we’re going to have a line of credit because we know that these insurance companies are going to be completely backed up for months trying to recover from this natural disaster that happened, and so we have access for a way to get an unsecured line of credit to help you in your process of rebuilding while you are waiting for the insurance checks to come through.
And so there’s an example again of where the bank now has a business opportunity. But they also have an opportunity to really show goodwill to their client and to be able to put some goodness out into the community and start that rebuilding effort in Florida. So not all the use cases are going to have that kind of heartstring pull to them. Some of them are a little bit more black and white win rate forecasting, lead referral insights, white space analysis they’re all over the place. But the bottom line is we’ve got to make sure that they have that business value, they provide value to that client, and then if it’s going to be driven through Salesforce, then it’s ultimately something that can be actionable in Salesforce. And then really understanding, what data would you actually need available to you to be able to make that a successful use case? Because if that data isn’t available, well, you’re not going to have a successful use case.
34:57 – Fred (Host)
No, totally. I’ll tell you, one of the things I love the most about that is you really brought two different concepts together in those examples. One is the leveraging of the data right, using the data to build those models, to discover these opportunities, to have an impact. But that’s not enough. It’s the experience that you generate on the back end. So I’m sure, like you spent a lot of time on planes all over the country and I probably average, I’ll say, two fraud alerts a month where, whatever flags the model, it seems like this is weird and what have you.
And there’s a lot of ways that you can implement that. And I’m excited that the bank that I primarily use when I travel has a very frictionless experience. They reach out to me by text and on the mobile app in real time. I literally hit a button and it’s all tied together and, from an experience, there’s very little friction versus. I’ve had banks in the past that shut the card down. They don’t reach out, there’s no messaging on what happened. Maybe a day later I get a phone call. It’s not enough just to identify the need. You also have to implement in a way that you’re generating that positive customer experience.
36:24 – Valerie (Guest)
Oh, absolutely, and take it even one step further. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be a frictionless experience. I just got back from France and I can tell you I didn’t have any fraud alerts while I was traveling and where somebody might go oh gosh, well, you were out of the country. You probably should have had a couple of fraud alerts. Well, no, I didn’t, because I bought the plane ticket and there was geo-tracking on my phone. So between my plane ticket that showed that I left and I landed in Paris and the geo-tracking on my phone, they had enough information to know that it was likely me doing the animal things like buying a metro ticket in the area that my phone was in. So it didn’t even need to be any kind of friction.
Definitely appreciate when it is just the text or the pop-up notification that comes on your phone in real time and it’s a very simple like oh yes, hey, that actually was me. Boom, the transaction goes through. But even when you can use that data that you already have to make it to where you don’t even have to introduce any kind of friction, that’s even a better experience. And a lot of these banks, financial institutions, they have so much of that data that they don’t even necessarily need to introduce friction, to still have a very low risk experience for their clients and to create that world-class customer service.
37:57 – Fred (Host)
Absolutely, and in a case like that, if you want to potentially have the best of both worlds, institutions can send you a text or message or something through the mobile app. Hey, we notice you’re transacting in France and have a good trip, whatever it can be a very hey, we’re watching you. Right? Because I’ve definitely had people that I’ve taught you in the past that are not in financial services day to day. They’re like I was really surprised, I didn’t get. I’ve been traveling, I didn’t get a fraud alert. I wonder if my bank’s even paying attention. So sorting out how to create that customer experience, I think, is where some of the excitement lies, right, is that design, that interaction design?
38:40 – Valerie (Guest)
Well, it’s figuring out how to not cross the line into what I call the creep factor. I mean, I think we’ve all seen the meme that kind of floated around and it’s like the United States Postal Service. They’re like what package? And Facebook is like hey, we saw that you thought about buying a toaster.
39:01 – Fred (Host)
Nine, days ago.
39:02 – Valerie (Guest)
You’re waiting to. You know toasters that you’re thinking about. There’s a difference. There’s a difference and there’s a line that kind of goes into the creep factor. And it’s a line that says like, hey, we are paying attention and we are using the information that we have at our fingertips to be able to create a better experience to you, for you. And then there is that over the line, which is we have kind of now crossed into what feels too personal, too much, too invasive, and I think that right now, institutions are really trying to figure out, in this world of data analytics and AI, where is that line and where are customers comfortable with? And so, no matter what you do, you’re going to have a couple that think that you either haven’t gone far enough or you’ve crossed over the line. But there’s some tried true rules of like what is a good space to play in.
39:56 – Fred (Host)
I’d love to hear your perspective and I have two kind of postulates. One is that that line is moving Like we are, not like everybody. He remembers the like a pot might be a prograteful story of the, the target ad that came to the father about baby formula and didn’t even realize that his teenage daughter was pregnant, and I don’t know that it even happened right. But that was what eight years ago I think was the first time I kind of heard that. I think the line is constantly moving and it’s moving fast to more and more expectations of the businesses that I choose to invite into my life really understanding me and demonstrating a level of understanding. The other is I think a lot of it comes down to messaging. You know it’s far like. You know the creepiness factors sometimes isn’t in the insight, it’s in the how it’s delivered. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on you know kind of how those two things play out in the real world.
41:00 – Valerie (Guest)
Yeah, I agree with you, the line is moving and it is rapidly moving because customer expectations are rapidly changing. Customers expect more and the last stat that just came out said that 80% of customers said that they would leave their bank over the experience they have, instead of comparison to the products and services and features that they get to have with that bank, the rates that they have, the products that they have, and so I mean that just shows you that the experience is so important and with that customer expectation shifting and that line shifting, I agree with you, it’s rapidly moving and now the customers are getting to the point where they kind of want you to tell them what’s going to happen before it happens, and so to a certain extent we’re getting a little bit into this like crystal ball type of type of place. But as far as the messaging, it’s absolutely right. I think you have to show them that what you’re doing is for their benefit and it brings them value. And that’s really the critical part.
There’s a bank down south that is running an absolute phenomenal program where they are allowing people to kind of put in some data about the types of cars that they drive and how much they drive and some of that, and especially in their lower income and lower socioeconomic brackets, they are helping people go.
Hey, you know what you’re going to have to do this oil change and get these tires in this particular car maintenance and, based on some data science, we think you could potentially have this type of overhead on your car.
So that’s an expense that the average American doesn’t have $1,000 that they could cover those types of expenses. And so it’s like hey, we want to start a special type of a savings account for you, or where we could move $17 a week into that account. So, inevitably, when these things happen and we’re predicting in the next eight to nine months that you would probably have a larger expense related to this vehicle, we are already going to have that money set aside for you so that you’re going to be able to take care of that and it is not going to disrupt your lifestyle. That is a huge benefit to people and, in that particular example, it’s serving a subset of the population that needs a little bit more help. And so I agree with you. The line is moving, the message is absolutely critical and the crux of the message has to be that what you are doing is for the benefit of the people that you are serving and that it is adding value to their lives.
43:44 – Fred (Host)
Yeah, I think you’re a 1,000% spot on and I love that example. I didn’t think of like 1,000 ways to extend that to even something that’s more like a car as a service account. So you use the data analytics to say, oh well, this car, this overhead, what have you? And it’s not like a car dealership selling a warranty that you may or may not use. It’s more like this is the amount of money that you’re probably going to need to operate your car all in and put it in this account, and it’s almost like an escrow account and you can draw out for car payments or for insurance or for gas or for maintenance. Now I’m thinking a mile a minute.
44:29 – Valerie (Guest)
There’s all kinds, and I mean I love the financial services industry. I could not be a consultant in a lot of other industries because I am really, really passionate about financial services. I couldn’t be a certified financial planner and not be. And so data literacy understanding that, the data that people have access to in the banks, and then pairing that with financial literacy for the people that you’re serving I think bringing those two things together to be able to create those kind of ideas to take to the market is a way that we can take all of this rapidly changing technology to better serve all of the people that we work with.
45:15 – Fred (Host)
Yeah, I love that. Well, this has been a phenomenal conversation. I really appreciate your time. I know it took us a little bit of time to get this on the calendar and scheduled, but definitely well worth it. As I wrap up, just want to ask for our listeners benefit, if they want to get in contact with you and dig in to some more of these use cases and talk about how to make their sales force or work better for them and their data work better for them. What’s the best way for people to reach you?
45:46 – Valerie (Guest)
I am very easy to find on LinkedIn. So, Valerie Wise W-E-I-S, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’ve got that nice little CFP with the with the arm wrapped after it. Right Got to. If you work hard for those crud, you got to got to show them off. But also Valerie Wise at atriumai dot com. Welcome to reach out in both places.
46:12 – Fred (Host)
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. We’re recording this a day before Thanksgiving, so please have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we’ll chat soon.
46:22 – Valerie (Guest)
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Fred. Happy early birthday.
46:26 – Fred (Host)
Like what you heard?
Banking on Disruption comes out every other week. Check out the rest of our show archive.