Four fintech and small business funding experts came together on October 15 to discuss the future of customer experience and how their companies are adapting in realtime. Hundreds of attendees joined the virtual roundtable to learn how leading fintechs are setting new standards for customer experience.
The live event, moderated by Jay Po, Co-founder & Managing Partner at Stage 2 Capital, included a panel of industry thought leaders: Clare McClintock, Head of Operations Strategy at Brex, Kristen Stewart, Growth Lead at Plaid, and Nicole Newlin, VP of Solutions at Ocrolus.
In this blog, we revisit just one of the many interesting topics the panelists chewed over. Read the below snippet on how these experts pivoted to meet customer needs despite the uncertainty of the PPP initiative.
Key advice from leading fintechs:
- Be ready to adapt your business model to adress changing customer needs.
- Have a story to tell around how you are navigating through the current crisis.
- Preserve resources and take advantage of tools and partnerships where available.
Note: This transcript has been slightly modified for readability.
Jay Po: A related question to challenges that come up from customers is also the needs that they have and tailoring the process, the experience building and the CX, just overall experience. The next question is that customers vary in their demand, especially in today’s age. Now, what are some of those new demands that have come up and how have you approached them?
Clare: Yeah, so you mentioned PPP loans. Pretty much right when stimulus bills started to pass, we had customers reaching out to us asking if we were going to do PPP loans, asking if they could apply through us very stressed, as you can imagine, and we sort of needed to figure out, “Okay, how can we services this need? We’re not an SBA lender. We won’t be able to make these loans.” It’s definitely a Brex initiative to shift focus, make sure that we could fulfill that need with the help of some awesome partners, and really ensure that customers who are coming to us felt like they could be serviced or something even though it wasn’t a typical offering of Brex.
Clare: And then I mentioned before how spending has shifted so much. Our rewards used to be really tailored towards C&E. You get 7x on ride-share; that was a big selling point for new businesses coming to Brex. Customers use Ubers for late nights home, for a million things. They’re not using them anymore. So we had to think about what could be some cool new rewards that would resonate with businesses wanting to come to Brex and rewards around collaboration tools, different food delivery, different things that are more relatable for your work-from-home experience became a priority for us based on what we saw from new customers as well as existing customers shift in spend, and then demands when coming in and asking about our rewards platform.
Jay Po: Got it. Nice adjustment on nice adjustment on changing even the product-base on those demands. Nicole, how about in Ocrolus?
Nicole Newlin: You definitely can’t talk about 2020 without mentioning PPP because, obviously, that was a big focus for us and never have we pivoted so quickly and learned so much about ourselves and our clients. Just that experience alone of turning around the volume of docs that we did so quickly and the engineering effort behind it, it really sort of set the stage for a lot of other opportunities for us to meet the demands of clients. We learned quickly what doors are opened when you start digitizing obscure tax docs. Suddenly, you start to talk to clients about needs and you realize, “Well, we did something similar with PPP, so this can’t be that far from how we can meet your demand.” And that’s what’s happening. Utility bills, things that we may not have contemplated before we’re now able to meet that need of a client and pretty quickly.
Nicole Newlin: I think in the day-to-day of our CX team, fraud, fraud, fraud has been really, really huge. We do offer suspicious activities and file tampering detection, as well as deepening that offering through analytics. But I think the needs of the client around fraud provide more explanation of why is that potentially fraudulent, what exactly was picked up by machine versus human in the loop. A lot of those questions have definitely increased which has our team spending a lot more time providing much more detailed explanations back because there are nefarious characters out there. Obviously with the stimulus spending, there’s lots of people taking advantage of that. And companies have to be really careful about lending. It’s a very uncertain time.
Nicole Newlin: The nice part is, and someone said this beautifully the other day, we’re in the flow of data for our clients. We see so much information for them and we can, in turn, help them think about predictive risk scores, maybe think about some sort of performance benchmarking, things that they’re thinking about but we’re already kind of putting those into place which is helpful for credit decisions as well as some of what we’re doing with fraud. I think because the client relationships we have are so strong and how we treat our clients, we’re able to really get into those conversations and hear their needs, and they share their concerns and their fears with us. A lot of it, as you can imagine, is around fraud and risk.
Jay Po: Certainly. Thanks, Nicole. Kristen, how about you?
Kristen Stewart: Some new customer demands, the first one is definitely, I think, they’ve got a very fine-tuned lens on the actual product that we are delivering to them as a customer, specifically for Plaid and kind of aggregation, data quality, connectivity, FI availability and all of those things that essentially power the FinTech applications and platforms that these customers and end users or consumers need to be able to leverage. I think the nature of being remote right now across the team members responsible at the customer for finishing the product and kind of standing up the integration, they’re potentially the same end users who would be using the same FinTech app as anyone on this panel in terms of being an end user. I think that the team members and the customers that we work with, they’re very much more in tune to the product and making sure that it’s providing the quality and the type of experience that they would want to experience as an end user using that same kind of FinTech app or platform.
Kristen Stewart: The second thing that I would say and I think this resonates to some of my prior comments is in terms of a demand, is just a higher level of support and engagement. I think during the implementation too as a result of wanting to ensure that quality for end users, customers are definitely more vocal in terms of raising their hand, asking questions, wanting to get on the phone, etc. To Nicole’s point, “Kristen, you responded to me at 8:00 p.m. last week, why aren’t you responding to me at 9:30 p.m. this week?” It’s a little bit of a perpetual motion that you can sometimes dig yourself into a hole with. At the end of the day, I think it’s a good thing. I think regardless if people working longer hours and potentially being online too late into the evening, the goal of that is obviously just to ensure that quality product, that quality FinTech app or new platform that they’re wanting to put out into the market that can very successfully serve the end user or the end consumer or customer.