In today’s episode, I chat with CCO Lisa Henken Ramirez, about implementing customer experience Netspend, a young, a finance-related company. Netspend is a leading provider of prepaid Visa® and Mastercard® cards for personal & commercial use. As the banking industry continues to focus more on customer experience and innovation, I think this is a good conversation to have at the beginning of 2019.
When Lisa started working at Netspend in 2006, the company was relatively small and was in an industry that didn’t really exist before the company itself existed. Through providing this type of service with prepaid cards, Netspend helps serve the underserved – and this aspect alone means the company has to place heavy importance on customer experience. Lisa shares with us how she used her background in consulting and change management to help lead the company’s CX efforts.
Listen, Analyze, Solve, and Offer More
After taking a course led by James Heskett and Earl Sasser who wrote The Ownership Quotient, Lisa was excited to come back to Netspend with a business case that supported creating customer experience at Netspend. The case was centered around what the company needed to do to drive employee and customer ownership. Since she didn’t have much Netspend customer data at the time, she included the information that she did have in order to support the case.
When Lisa moved from her initial VP role into that of the CCO role much later in 2015/16, she reported directly to the CCO, who told her that this was her opportunity to tell the story of the customer better. She had support from her C-Suite leaders, as the president saw the value of leading their external and internal facing communications with CX.
Lisa and her team wanted to implement a repeatable process to help make the work more digestible for the teams. The process was built around the principles to: listen, analyze, solve, and offer more. The idea was to build listening posts in order to know what’s going on with the customer and then spend time analyzing it. This is necessary because rather than reacting to a situation, they’re finding ways to deal with it in the long-term. In offering more, Lisa and her team were essentially looking to figure out, aside from just finding a solution, how can they create a positive experience for the customer.
Connect Employees to the Customer
How do you connect employees to each other? How do you connect employees to the customer? And how do you connect employees to your mission? These were some of the questions that Lisa and her team set out to answer; they developed something called “community connect,” which is part pay it forward, part customer empathy, and part community relations.
Instead of a holiday party each year, the president would break the entire company into teams of 10 people. Each team got a Netspend prepaid card, a check for $400 and a list of tasks that allowed them to walk in the shoes of the customer. They did everyday tasks like buy groceries for their family, pay for someone’s meals, fill up a gas tank, etc. It was through these experiences, where they learned what a customer’s potential challenges and struggles were. From having money to put just enough gas in the tank, to figuring out where they had to travel to fax a document and how many trips that might take for them, employees became more aware of everyday challenges these customers face.
This activity truly changed the way employees saw and understood customers; it connected people to the mission of the company, which is to serve people and to provide access to the banking system and provide access to payments that are easier to use rather than cash a check. As I mentioned in my Daily Dose vlog this week, using your clarity of purpose to unite your company is a great way to deliver meaningful examples to your customers.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
- “I definitely would have simplified it earlier. When I first started, I think I developed 10 customer experience principles and they were all really witty and great. I thought they were amazing. We recently went to three. It’s interesting because my mom taught elementary school and she said you only need three rules in an elementary school. Be safe, be responsible and be respectful. And really ultimately, we’ve got to be real, be transparent and be passionate. I wish I had done that a lot sooner. And really that’s one example, but just really in everything.”
- “I wish I had spent more time on my own development in continuing my learning and learning of my team. So I would have spent a lot more time on training. Training myself, training my team and training the company. I think just that, I certainly have a growth mindset, but I don’t spend as much time on it as I wish I had. Then, I would have tried to cut down on the crisis distractions. So it’s really easy to have to jump in and fix, I would have found a better way to do that.”
About Lisa Henken RamirezLisa is a customer-focused business leader using her experience across operations, marketing, communication, and business development to drive change. I am a passionate customer advocate focused on driving value through improved customer experience.
A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Lisa is a skilled communicator with experience building and leading successful cross-functional teams. She believes that the best customer experience strategy starts with a great voice of the customer program, includes strong analysis, delivers lasting change and ultimately an overall culture of customer focus.
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