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Leveraging Data to Deliver Unique Customer Experiences

Leaders at Discover and Hancock Whitney talk about the power of data to create unique customer experiences across channels.

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Well, hi, I am Laura Sullivan traveling in from, uh, New Orleans. I'm with Hancock Whitney Bank and I'm here to talk Riff on a Lift with Alex.

Hi, my name is Alex Johnson. I am with Discover Financial Services. Uh, so funny, we both work in banking. Small world.

Small World at the MX Conference.

Um, a little bit about me. I've been with Discover for a combined total of 10 years with a brief stint at Goldman Sachs, where I worked with Marcus. And how about yourself?

Uh, well, I'm just a toddler here at Hancock Whitney. Uh, I've been here for two and a half years. Prior, I was at Wells Fargo for a decade and um, uh, American Express for a decade before that.

Oh, Cool. Uh, so, So from big to small. Yes. Yeah.

Um, at Discover, so I've been fortunate to work both credit card and banking side. I assume similar for you at AMEX?

Yes. I started in the charge card world. Okay. and then when I went to Wells, I worked in the consumer lending, also credit card space to commercial banking, uh, marketing, and then came into this role.

Oh, cool. So, speaking of marketing, uh, what are your thoughts on, you know, personalization and trying to create new experiences that are further engaging and keeping our customers?

Well, that's, I mean, the thing that excites me is how you can leverage data and automation to actually make the customer experience feel unique. Growing up as I did, uh, at American Express, it was all about the client. And now we've got such great access to data and access to technology to really do that personalization, right? So we're always chasing that. What's the infrastructure that we need to actually be able to understand who you are at the channel, at your, you know, whatever channel you are and pick up where you left off. Right?

So it used to be channel expertise. Now it's really how is Alex going from his mobile experience to his desktop experience, to calling to walking in the branch and how does data help?

So it's the thing that actually makes us so connected to the client. Mm-hmm. It's so important. So building out the infrastructure to do that. How about you?

I think, you know, Discover's pretty famous for kind of chasing technology and, uh, marketing, which, what are your thoughts? We try to do our best.

Uh, I have a similar thought. I think it's, uh, trying to create those engaging customer experiences that are personalized. You know, finding them in the right moment, kind of like you're saying, are we in the right channel? Are we offering them the right product? Is it at the right time?

And getting all of that seamlessly is kind of the challenge that we face. Exactly. You know, earlier in my, my, um, when I first started in the financial service world, I started in a customer usage and engagement space. Okay.

And that kind of set the tone that it's not about selling the widgets in banking. It's about what are the banking needs of the customer and how do we help them understand kind of what and how we can help them, which gets to that personalization. Yep.

How do we have the channels that we're actively listening to, kind of who they are, and thinking about how could we best help them?

And that to me is a much more interesting game because if you get them to stay around and grow with you, boy, how powerful that is. Right? Yeah.

Versus playing kind of the, the churn game of just trying to pull in new accounts and having them leave you, but really getting some stickiness to it.

Yeah. I think the question used to be, we used to always be asked how many clicks does it take to do something? Yeah.

And now we're looking at, you know, I think customers are asking, what can my bank do for me? And truly, are we kind of, do we have the products that they need or, you know, how are we giving them to them? I agree. Yeah.

No, it's interesting.

So I started out my career as a history major in non-profits. Oh, Okay.

And I wrote on a piece of paper, I worked for an organization that was helping women start their own businesses. And I wrote on the piece of paper, I think I want to go into financial services because it's something people need every day mm-hmm. To pursue their dreams, to build their business, to build the dreams for their family, et cetera. That's actually our mission, is helping you kind of fill your dreams. And that is the mindset, right?

It's not selling them stuff or what, how many clicks it takes, what are the things that are gonna help help the customer grow. Yeah.

Whether it's a business or a client.

Yeah. Looping back to personalization, I think helping them grow. You know, you think of the old banks and you used to go through a drive-through and they would know that you had a dog. So they'd give you the pet treat or the, I still go through a drive-through and they give a sucker for my kids and those kind of things. But how do you, what is the sucker in the digital world that's creating that experience for the customer?

Well, I think also still don't lose the sucker and the, because I do think you're gonna have the in-person experience and, um, the digital experience, but the di is the digital experience as intuitive as your favorite app on your iPhone. Right? Yeah. Or, and does it know you as well as Spotify does.

So if you put in a song and the next song plays and you're like, I haven't heard that in forever. Yep. And boy was that great.

So I do think that that's, that's the key.

But finding a way to find human in everything that you do, whether it's digital or, or in branch.

And I still am a huge advocate. In fact, I made my husband, I stood on principle of he wanted to open up the kids' bank accounts online. Yeah. I'm like, you are not doing that. You are, they are rolling coins and they're going to a branch and they're opening that account and having, 'cause I have such a like, vivid memory mm-hmm, of my mother and I around the kitchen table, rolling the coins, walking into the branch and having that relationship.

So you just have to balance it all because people want it 24/7. Yep. They want that human connection, but they also wanna be well on a Zoom call, maybe doing some of their banking.

Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree. And at Discover, so we're a very focused in the digital world, and now that you see some of these banks and more banks are coming out with childlike products, how do we get the parents to get the kids? You know, how do we grow that relationship in the right way when, like you're saying, some parents want them to have the coins, they wanna learn about coins and dollars and that kind of stuff.

So I see that as a challenge for us, which I'm eager to take on. Yeah. Well I think that's actually where, because they're probably more app savvy and digital savvy than we are, I think that that's, uh, the design on the digital space can help create healthy financial habits for kids. Yeah. I, I certainly watched that with the 11 year old, or 12, I think it was 12 opening up his account, but he became, in fact, in so intrigued by the mobile app and what it could do. Mm-hmm.

And if you could think, and you think about where we're going, and I think MX actually is building our mobile platform right now and the things that they're thinking about financial wellness and how you infuse that in the, the user design. Yeah.

Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. It'll be interesting to see what kind of new things they, uh, new products come about with personalization and with all the other, um, types of, um, modifications that they're kind of making to your bank account as, you know, the year unfold. Yep.

So you also mentioned before we, uh, a while ago that, uh, you've been in the deposit game for a while. So any thoughts, you know, we've been in this CD rate game for, you know, the past several months, uh, racing to make sure we've got kind of healthy deposits.

But any sense of what's the future for deposit growth and marketing?

I think it has to stop somewhere. I, you know, we can't just keep going like this. I think that's what we're all thinking. Um, and it's interesting 'cause the Fed just keeps going and everybody else just keeps going. So we're trying to keep up with it. Um, but no, I don't know.

I don't, I, I feel like it has to slow down and we'll, you know, maintain the pace as much as we wanna control it. Um, but no, I, what I, do you have any thoughts on, well, On a similar line, I mean, I think at some point, and again, it goes back to I've always been an engagement girl, like, yeah, it should be, we are building relationships. Mm-hmm. And so how are we helping them?

If folks are actually actively investing in CDs for the first time, are we help actually helping them coach to understand that CDs expire?

What's next? Yep. How do you think about your whole relationship? How do you stay on top of that? How are you prompting them in a service way?

Not in a selling way of, of what's next. So, uh, well anyway, I think we're getting to the top of our, our line, so it was great chatting with you.

Yeah, you too. Thanks.

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