“Connect with people as humans, get to know them a little bit personally, so that you have a connection, so that when times become tough and you’ve got to challenge them, they feel like they’re in a safe zone to do that,” says Holly O’Neill in our recent LinkedIn Live conversation. In this interview, we discuss CX consistency, accountability and metrics, and leadership bravery.
Holly O’Neill is a repeat guest on the podcast. And she truly represents what I have predicted to be the path of the customer experience leader, moving into an even more integral leadership role: previously, she was the Chief Client Care Executive & Head of Consumer Client Services at Bank of America. Today, she is the President of Retail Banking, working with mass market clients, reaching about 30 million people across the country.
Holly’s extensive career at Bank of America spans more than 20 years, which has allowed her to refine her strategic thinking in terms of understanding the big picture then digging into the important details. She has an incredible amount of insight to share, so give this a listen and hopefully, you’ll enjoy the conversation as much as I did!
Assess Your CX Consistency
Holly shares that her day-to-day is focused on looking at Bank of America’s client base, understanding their perspectives, and then molding the business around them. By doing this, Holly and her team can have a better understanding of what they need to deliver in order to help clients on their path to financial health.
Holly explains that every single day she’s asking, “Is this a good experience?” as she conducts her work. She shares that in the initial stages of some of her CX work, she spent time calling the BoA customer service line, so she can have the user experience. By pressing different extensions and calling into different lines, Holly saw the variability of the experience.
Holly explains, “I found places where it was very intuitive to us internally that this is the way it should work, right? Because it’s our process, right? But not as intuitive for the client. So how do you simplify that? How do you really turn the table so that it is from the client’s vantage point? What are they thinking? What are they feeling?”
Set Standards for Accountability and Metrics
When working within a system that impacts such a large group of people, it is critical that internal teams align to one version of the truth when it comes to metrics. Holly shares that they have had to create accountability processes for their various teams because everyone plays a role with the experience for our clients, whether they’re out in front or not. She explains that they developed a culture of challenging results and processes, and not being afraid to “call a spade a spade, if something’s not going right,” but also having a support system in place to get on the right path.
“If something goes wrong for a client, we dissect it, we figure out where things went wrong, and we have a very honest conversation about it,” Holly shares.
Holly and her team have developed a simple metrics dashboard to look at the client experience, measuring client satisfaction and looking at retention and acquisition; they analyze these dashboards twice a month.
Find CX Inspiration Outside of Your Industry
“You know where I have future concerns? I challenge the team to think outside the box. Where do we want to be in 10 years and then drawing the path to get there?” says Holly, when it comes to the ways she remains inspired in her work. She shares that they have continuous conversations around what has gone wrong? What can be done to change it? How do you move forward?
Holly also mentions that she watches people around her, her peers, leaders, and people on her teams. She looks at client verbatims almost every day and reads them to stay grounded in the customer experience. Holly also shares that she finds inspiration by thinking about the ways lives of people can be improved on a community level. At Bank of America, they’ve made a multi-billion dollar, American Community Homeownership Commitment, to improve the lives of low and moderate income clients. This grant is available through 2025 and is designed to help these families with a down payment for their home. “This is part of what gets me up every day, because that’s really rewarding,” says Holly.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Add it to your repertoire of skills and capabilities. I do think that will position you for a lot more opportunity down the road. You know, I think when you’re young, you want a very defined path because it feels good. And believe me, I was there. My mom also wanted me to be an accountant. And fortunately, I did not listen to her, but a lot of people want a very defined path. For me, I took risk at some very strategic points in my career changing businesses. But one that was probably the best decision I’ve made in my career that opened up this whole new category of opportunity.”
About Holly O’NeillHolly joined Bank of America in 1996 as a credit analyst trainee. She spent six years working in various roles in the Corporate and Investment Bank, including corporate banker, covering a portfolio of insurance and asset management clients, and as COO of Corporate Banking Group.
She is also currently the co-executive sponsor of the Massachusetts Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Employee Network and has also served as the co-executive sponsor for the Virtual Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development for Woman organization.
The presenting sponsor of the Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show is Help Scout. Help Scout’s customer support software was named a leader in multiple categories in G2’s Winter 2022 Report, including easiest to set up, easiest to use, and best ROI. If you’re unhappy with your current support software, switch to Help Scout, and they’ll even buy out your existing contract. Learn more at helpscout.com/switch.
This partnership ensures that I can continue these shows that you’ve shared such positive feedback on. Thanks so much to Help Scout! Enjoy the show!
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