Bouncing forward

Leadership in the Age of the Customer

Recently, Anoop Warrier, former Head of Digital for SunTrust Bank, spent some time with me discussing digital transformation and leadership in the Age of the Customer—in banking and beyond.

Our #LinkedInLIVE dialogue was wide-ranging and an insightful peek into the complex world of customer centricity in the financial services sector. Anoop shared insights into how leaders can apply the lens of technology to solve business problems with the customer always at the center of the calculation.

Anoop also shared a number of personal anecdotes that shed light on his inclusive leadership style. Among those tidbits are the book he has recommended to his team members most often, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl, and how Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations inspired him to take up the practice of keeping a daily journal.


Are you listening to your customers?

A major theme of our conversation was the imperative to “listen more.” This is especially true in our current reality, where the traditional way of conducting business has been stood on its head. Many of Celerity’s customers are finding strategic ways to listen more to their customers. This was especially true in one recent engagement where we helped a leading financial institution serving mortgage lenders roll out new reporting processes that impacted 1500 loan Servicers and 30+ technology providers.


Understanding the full customer journey

Customers’ journeys need to be end-to-end and must encompass both the digital and physical channels of engagement, Anoop says. With the vast amount of data available, leaders in banking are challenged to harness all the data to drive insights to improve customer experience. The journeys themselves are overwhelming if they aren’t broken down into interactions that are prioritized in terms of impact. One of our recent webinars, So you have a journey map. Now what?, helps leaders understand how to do just that.


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Customer connectivity and the human elements of digital transformation

“What digitization doesn’t do well, which is where banking shines: customer relationships,” Anoop says. Banks meet customers at incredibly important points in their lives. General AI and digital tools can support the transactional side, but humans need to interact with humans in areas that require empathy. Customer knowledge around technology is also rapidly advancing, and consumers are looking for ease in how they engage with institutions. Banks need to make sure that customers don’t have to think about banking and that the experience is frictionless.


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The biggest challenges around CX in banking

As is the case in many industries, leaders in financial services are heads down, trying to get their work done. Anoop shares some thoughts on the strategy required for banking executives to shift their viewpoint from day-to-day operations to envisioning a future of what banking could be, through digital transformation.


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The importance of creating personalized products based on consumers’ preferences

Data allows bankers to build products based on customer criteria, so that each customer is treated as unique. Personalization allows banks to differentiate, to innovate in order to meet customer needs. As the experience of banking for both customers and employees continues to transform, approval processes will speed up, products will become increasingly more customized, and the financial services sector will continue to deliver on their brand promises to be a single portal for consumers.


Watch the full episode

You can tune in to the complete conversation with Anoop below to hear about his approach to leadership in the Age of the Customer and how he has put it into practice at SunTrust, USAA, and Wachovia/Wells Fargo. You’ll hear why Anoop is an optimist at heart who believes in spreading cheer and takes great pride in seeing those around him find success. Anoop closed our conversation with some reflections on leadership and his own very personal search for meaning.

Are you ready for the next normal?

Interested in learning more about how to build business resilience to thrive in the next normal? Reach out today. And make sure to find out about future episodes in the series by following Celerity on LinkedIn.