As part of our ongoing effort to help financial services companies navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve created a series of digital discussions on the topic. Attendees collaborate over breakfast (provided via a GrubHub gift card) around best practices for engaging customers and improving outcomes right now.


This week’s roundtable was led by Shane Evans, Chief Revenue Officer at MX, and James Robert Lay, CEO of the Digital Growth Institute and author of the new book Banking on Digital Growth.


You can watch the recording and read some highlights below.


[Also see our conversation on July 23, 2020 between Don Parker, EVP of Partnerships at MX, and Katie Catlender, Chief Customer Officer at Cambridge Savings Bank: “Strategic Alignment: How to Move Fast in a Slow Industry.”]





Here are three highlights:


1. Flip the business model to digital first.

“The most exciting thing that I've seen in this post-Covid world,” says James Robert Lay, “is the ability for financial brands to do what would have traditionally taken five years and compress that down into 90 days.”


He says that moving forward financial services companies should “flip the entire business model upside down.” Whereas in the past, digital was seen as something “to bolt onto” branch banking, companies must now think of “going to digital first mobile first, where the branch supports the digital initiatives.”


Participants agreed, saying that digital transformation requires “meeting the customer where they are” and “making it easier for the customer to get the services that they need.”


2. Build trust with the purpose statement pyramid.

“People want health, wealth, and wellbeing,” says Lay. He adds that financial brands often lose sight of this in their effort to pitch “commoditized products, services, or their great rates.” As a result, financial brands should “transform the narrative to helping first and selling second.”


To do this, Lay says banks should focus on the purpose statement pyramid, which has four elements going from bottom to top: product (what you bring to market), process (how you do it), people (who you’re serving), and purpose (why you’re working). By starting from the top and working your way down, brands get a clearer sense of the products they should and shouldn’t focus on.


To give an example of this, Evans and Lay both talk about how quickly banks and credit unions have had to pivot to scheduled Zoom calls as a way to meet people where they are during the Covid-19 restrictions. Other examples include providing educational guides —such as home buying guides — for people at key moments along their individual buying journey. Efforts like these were driven by customer needs.


3. Get over communication fears with three steps.

Lay talks about a meeting he had with 30 CEOs where they discussed the challenges and the fears of communicating at scale internally and externally via video channels. He said many of these leaders were worried that they would say something wrong.


“My recommendation was threefold,” Lay says. “The first one was a little sarcastic, tongue in cheek, but it was to take a shot —whiskey, tequila, your choice — to take the edge off. Number two was to have someone stand on the other side of the camera and just talk to them.” The third suggestion was to limit the attempts to three. “Regardless of how good it is, that's what you go to market with, and you just keep learning.”


He also mentions Jill Castilla, who has been featured with MX, as an example of someone who is stellar on social media at connecting with people like Mark Cuban as well as her community on Twitter.


DX plus HX equals growth.

The conversation covered so much more —including Lay’s description of why digital experience combined with the human experience leads to growth. We hope you watch the entire conversation in the video above and follow us for more discussions around digital transformation. Also, go ahead and get Lay’s book, Banking on Digital Growth, which we’ve read and found extremely insightful.


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Looking for more advice from experts in banking? Register for the Money Experience Summit — a free online event from MX.