Full Podcast Transcript
Fran Sorrentino 0:02
You’re listening to The XBank Podcast, a series of conversations exploring The HOW in digital banking transformation. Over the coming episodes, we’ll pick apart the concepts, look at the practical steps and analyse live examples alongside industry movers and shakers. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get transformation done, then this is the podcast for you. I’m your host Fran Sorrentino, Client Partner in Financial Services at Publicis Sapient. In this our inaugural episode, I’m joined by Geraldine Maringo, Senior Product Owner at Nationwide Building Society, and my colleague in FS, Global Vice President of Strategy and Consulting, Matt Hopgood. The first in a two part series, this episode covers the successes and the gaps, challenges and next steps in customer journey transformation, as organisations start turning their attentions to enterprise wide transformation. All right, welcome, everybody. Matt, good to see you. Your beard is looking trim.
Matt Hopgood 1:04
I’m very happy.
Fran Sorrentino 1:07
So tell us who you are and what it means to be a Global Vice President in Strategy and Consulting.
Matt Hopgood 1:14
Well, thank you for the introduction. I look after a couple of areas, really. So, I span the creative domain, which looks at everything to do with customer experience, service design, user experience, but I also have a camp in the product design space as well, looking at business design, and all of the processes and frameworks needed to run an organisation operationally as well. I’ve spent the last — wow — five or six years now entrenched in customer journey, transformation and digital change programmes and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Geraldine today because I feel like, I’m often in the role of supply of folk to product owners who are the demand of folk and when those things work well, it’s amazing. And, when it doesn’t, it can sometimes be pretty prickly. So it’d be good to sort of share some war stories and some scar tissue on that particular topic.
Fran Sorrentino 2:22
Geraldine, thank you for joining us. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Geraldine Maringo 2:28
So, I’m Geraldine Maringo. I am responsible for the transformation of origination experiences within Nationwide Building Society. I’ve been on that journey for three years now from business case inception all the way through to creating teams that span design, which includes experience design, down to content design, and business design across multiple Scrum teams. So at any one point in time, there would be up to five Scrum teams working on our journey. And we’ve just expanded that into our first distributed agile model as well. So, we’ve grown over the period from initial inception, pioneering approaches, now into, actually, where we’re fully operational. We’re scaled. We’re supporting net new build, journey transformation and run at the same time.
Fran Sorrentino 3:24
Amazing. How do you describe that to your grandma?
Geraldine Maringo 3:27
I just say I’m really busy using stuff in the cloud which perplexes her enough.
Fran Sorrentino 3:36
My grandfather thought I was a weather girl. No explanation. Just that’s what he thought I did for a living.
Fran Sorrentino 3:52
Alright, customer journey transformation. Let’s dig in. Let’s start by talking about what we learned. It feels like transformation has been talking about customer journey transformation for a few years. And it feels like one of those words like “agile” or “platform” that’s been used so many times that people don’t actually know what it means. But maybe as a baseline, before we talk about what we’ve learned, let’s just talk about what is good customer journey transformation. What does it entail? And how do you know if you’re doing it right. So Matt, maybe you can start.
Matt Hopgood 4:22
So customer journey transformation. I think you could, relatively uncontroversially say is now the de facto approach for a lot of digital business transformation programmes and I think it has its roots in the belief that one of the reasons that organisations want to transform is, they want to transform because they want to be more customer centric. And then unpacking the need or the desire to be more customer centric is really a way of thinking about how you mitigate that more existential fear that organisation have at the moment, which is how do we remain relevant. Because, if we don’t remain relevant for our customers and consumers over the course of the next few years, whilst we transform, then we’ll be transforming to a place where our business doesn’t mean anything anymore. And so I think that it has become a very sort of, you know, hackneyed approach, which is customer journeys are the way in which organisations become more intentionally customer centric. And I think it will be really interesting over the course of the next, you know, 20 or 30 minutes to say, in some ways, I think that is absolutely true. And customer journeys are very good way of becoming more customer centric. And in other facets, they’re not enough. And so, where are the other organisational gaps, and capabilities that need to be invested in, to make sure that customer centricity, or, in Nationwide’s case, member centricity, is authentic, and not just entirely just, you know, desired.
Geraldine Maringo 5:59
I agree. I think it’s, actually, transformation for so long has been solely focused on a component or a piece of the puzzle. And there’s that, almost that, that in itself is a mindset change that organisations need to wrestle with. And actually thinking about the experience from inception of your first touchpoint with an organisation all the way through and actually slicing it up into experiences is a fundamental difference, because in the absence of thinking of that end-to-end, there are multiple gaps that you will create, in that experience design there are also missed opportunities. So the greatest opportunities that we’ve found other ones whereby we’ve thought changing the locality of one function, may well have X number of impacts to that single person’s experience. So it’s really finding all of those missed opportunities that have been there for so long.
Fran Sorrentino 6:58
In an audio format you can’t help but draw lines with your hands, right? And banks are sort of vertical. So imagine I’m doing some karate chops in the air and customer journeys you can’t help but sort of play the accordion right? Like it goes across those verticals, to be thinking about what the full end to end experience for a customer is. And just to add on that, Geraldine, okay, you’re doing customer journey transformation. Who do you need, and what do they do all day?
Geraldine Maringo 7:30
And I think that builds on the point you’ve just made then. So, who do you need, you always need a representative of some of those verticals. So a specialist in my example for may well be in fraud or legal or compliance because actually we cannot be we cannot have the depth of knowledge and insight into all of those specialist specialties. However, they are essential in that coexistent team that then come together to inform the ultimate experience. Experience design is fundamental alongside your tech engineer being sat next to your product owner. But that said, all of that is redundant if you don’t have the voice of the customer — or member, in Nationwide’s case — throughout. So I think very often there’s the risk that you may well say we are doing experience and we are thinking member first, but that is entirely not fueled unless by insight from the member. So in active recognition of that we’re out speaking to members/customers at least every other week, and the voice of the customer has to be there throughout otherwise you can easily detract away from the central cause.
Matt Hopgood 8:45
I think that’s a really, really important point because I think a lot of organisations are less customer centric than they think they are. And I think they fall into this comfort of — what I call “my self delusion” — because what they do is they talk about their customers a lot. Their customers are continually discussed in meetings. And they have, you know, segmentation models, and they talk about customer value. And everything is balanced against customer value. And I think this gives a very easy crush to think we’re customer centric, because we’re forever talking about our customer. And I think the reality is that if you’re talking about your customer, but you’re not yet enough talking to your customer, and including your customer, in the process by which you think about change and transformation, you’re probably not quite as customer centric as you are hoping you are. And so the point that you make Geraldine is spot on, which is, obviously starts with the insight. Of course it does, but it’s more than. It’s that visibility of the customer through that lifecycle of change, that they’re participatory, in the process of ideation, that they’re included in the process. of testing and shaping propositions, and they’re through all of the process in actually experiencing the value and proving the value in the solutions that you’re seeking to implement for your customers. And of course, this is also true of colleagues for, you know, internal processes and systems and internal change as well. But I think that, you know, it’s that recognition that when you’re talking about, you know, cross-functional, multi-skilled teams, you’re also talking about cross-functional, multi-skilled teams that are shoulder-to-shoulder with the customer that’s inclusive in that process of understanding that value and delivering out to the organisation, and you can’t fake it. That’s the thing, which is, you know, the reality is, is that if your product owners aren’t spending, you know, significant amounts of their time talking to customers and experiencing and walking in their shoes, then no end of secondary data reports or analytics is fake that for them, you know, you’ve got to be, you’ve got to be actually in there with them.
Geraldine Maringo 10:58
And I agree to because you’ll often find that when you’ve got a range of experts, it’s very easy to theorise around the potential issues, or the potential things customers might say or do, or, the potential solutions to those. But actually only a customer will ever tell you if they would perceive it to be an issue. Especially when you have a very experienced team that have been working on something for a long time, the tendency to second guess and assume that this will come up, it can almost be counterproductive because only only a customer will ever tell us the reality of how that makes them feel.
Fran Sorrentino 11:39
Yeah, I think that’s we’ve already jumped into one of the critical sort of points about customer journey transformation is that objectivity right and letting the customer be the ultimate judge about what we do or don’t do. And Geraldine, I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about your role as a product owner in orchestrating what work the team does, and what kinds of people you need, because that feels really different than what some, you know, incumbent or legacy banks might be used to right? When we were talking about projects or pieces of work that feels really different than something where a team of experts — cross-functional experts — will work together on something ongoing.
Geraldine Maringo 12:25
The first part in terms of what work the team actually does that is entirely value based, and the definition of that value can be a combination of lenses. So the work we execute is only as good as the input from the team. So I surround myself by technical experts, people who are focused on bringing in the the customer lens, delivery experts, and each one of those voices has a different priority dependent on the value case they represent. But, taking that back to what is our objective and where do we want to get to and balancing each one of those items means there, the day-to-day product’s backlog is very much blended. I’m in a new state now where my backlog is not only blended on net-new, but also run insight. And we’re even finding now that the run insight is probably more insightful than the initial customer research because they’re run insight of things that we could never have predicted. Now people wanting certainty that their journey has come to an end. We’ve spoken to 80, 90 people, and those people told us they weren’t sure. But only once people have been through that journey are we starting to hear things that we’ve had for a first time so it’s one of those streams coming in. So in terms of the people, you need to almost compliment that dynamic is a voice from each one of those parts. Alongside, as I said, the expertise from forward compliance, anti-money laundering, everyone you would expect around the table, but everyone around the table is looking at collaborative solution design and also informing me on the relative importance, and then the problem statement I will give to everyone, regardless of their discipline is, “What does this mean to the member?” That is my standard question, they will know that I’m going to ask it, because the customer or member impacts to everything will, more often than not, determined some of the bigger value statements that we work against.
Matt Hopgood 14:24
And I think, you know, just just to build on that, you asked earlier, Fran, you know, when a customer journey’s done well. For me, when they’re done well is when the customer journey is reflective of the customer mental model, the life cycle that they go through in terms of the experiences that they feel throughout a kind of a sort of a whole sequence of events, which is: potentially becoming aware of that proposition for the first time but not knowing too much about it; digging in and doing some of the research; finding out about that, maybe, that elements of the product that might have some benefit; to figuring out how to actually make an application process because that in itself might be complex; seeking reassurance from other people that may have already experienced, you know, that type of value; going through some of the more process centric steps of, you know, making an application onboarding with a product or proposition and activating it all the way through usage. And finally, you know, through to, you know, off-boarding an end-of-life. But you have to go through the whole of the lifecycle from the customer perspective to understand what that continuity feels like, to look for all of the opportunities between those little handoff moments where you’ve got opportunities to get new insight and create new value. So customer journeys, when they do it right, as Geraldine you’ve just outlined, are focused around value identification and value creation. Customer journeys, when they’re done a little bit more on the business process side, really, they’re not much more than lean that we’ve previously seen.
Geraldine Maringo 16:02
And I suppose the nature of that is what presents a lot of organisational challenge. Because more often than not organisations are used to those processes, there is a process and there is an owner for it. When we incepted our world and our journey, it is only natural to think to that end-to-end horizon, but actually, quite more often than not, organisations are very comfortable with outlining ownership within a process. And then you have to face into, okay, how do we have the conversation about now changing the way we do this, to expand the thought? And how do we align thinking conversations and responsibilities across that broader horizon?
Matt Hopgood 16:47
And it’s tough, right, because customer journeys typically spend, or start, their inception within the change teams. And so those change teams themselves are in that, you know, change-the-bank side of the business, which is somewhat separate from the run-the-bank side of the business, or the run-the-society, in Nationwide’s case, and the difficulty of that is, so many of those other strategic departments such as the product guys, the risk guys, the marketing guys are in the run side of the business. And so it is more difficult to get them, you know, lent in into that change function, because ultimately, they’re still working in a sort of almost an old paradigm of, there’s people over there that think of things and there’s other people over there that deliver things. Yeah, we’re in this kind of world of thinkers and doers. You know, as you begin to see, you know, this blurring of the lines were effectively “run” and “change” become just facets of the same, the same value creation, the same hunting for value, the same delivering value. That’s what I think you start getting much more sort of feedback loops and you know, people become much more focused around the, you know, the kind of the target state and the value of what they’re doing, which is what’s really interesting, when you talked earlier, Geraldine, about what you’re learning from the run and the experience of the product in live was as equally applicable as that sort of the classic insight research that you would have done at the outset of a change programme.
Geraldine Maringo 18:17
I think anything to add to that is that if you think about all the things Matt’s just articulated there, never has it been more important to make sure you get the right people in the roles that we’re asking them to undertake. So I’m fortunate coming into this space of product ownership. I’ve worked in products I’ve done about book experience, from book acquisition marketing, and so I understand the systems and processes and I also understand the content design and the x, y and z. And so I any one point in time, I could look at the front-end side and I’d also be able to understand everything to the right. It’s finding people that have that breadth of understanding to have the healthy dialogue across a broader spectrum than they would normally do in a role. So making sure you’ve got the right people that reflects a multitude of disciplines is really pivotal in whether in the success of that journey transformation as well.
Matt Hopgood 19:17
Yeah, this is a real issue for me, or topic, that excites and frustrates me in equal measure. And so I can be really fascinated your perspective here, Geraldine, which is I think the great unlock of transformation in all organisations is an effective product management function. But I do think that product management, in and of itself, needs material change from what it has been to what it needs to be. And so, you know, I see product managers have classic financial services product which is more akin to product marketing and product management in terms of, you know, managing margin, managing pricing, managing regulatory compliance, managing business process alignment around the goals of, you know, distribution of products and servicing of product. And then you’ve got other types of product management, which are classic technology product Management, where they own platforms, whether it’s websites, or mobile apps, or other types of digital channels, where they’re looking at features and functions. And I think the kind of the, you know, what we need is we need more modern product management or product ownership, which is actually they don’t own either platforms or, you know, financial services products, what they own is cohorts, they own segments of the customers, they own segments of the audience, and they own a satisfaction of their needs, and how those needs are met, and how we drive, you know, value from those needs in terms of the propositions that we create as organisations. And, of course, how we drive commercial value in the satisfaction of those needs as well so that we can, you know, run an effective business. But it’s much more about owning cohorts of people and their needs than it is owning, you know, you know, physical products or distribution channels, or technology platforms. And you know, and I think that the frustration for me, which is where it creeps in, is that when you work with product managers that are like that, then they are a great source of demand for creative folk and business design folk, because they want to think about how they can, you know, unlock that transformation value. But if you don’t have that, then you could have world class creative talent or world class business design talent, and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference because they really just want you to kind of, you know, chop through the backlog, you know, and and do the regulatory mandatory work.
Geraldine Maringo 21:38
Yeah, I think that’s entirely right. And I’m always talking to the team, for example, around what would need to be true to elevate this proposition? What would make it market leading? How would they feel if they’ve come through this element? If I was just really focusing on nothing other than a core piece of kit, my question would be very different. My questions would be along the lines of how do I optimise this? How do I get the data processing faster? And so it’s it’s a very different mindset and a more diverse way of thinking.
Fran Sorrentino 22:19
Love all these points. I’m hearing loud and clear what the customer journey transformation construct does to put the customers, you know, end to end lifecycle, first and foremost, to design a team who can look at those needs and respond to them because they’re multi-disciplinary use value to decide what to focus on and what not to focus on. So I think we’re we’re hitting on a couple of really critical enablers. But, conceptually, that sounds wonderful. Conceptually, we can find the right people conceptually we can organise around the right customer needs. Why is that so hard? Why does it always take time to get momentum in customer journey programmes,
Matt Hopgood 23:08
I think is the classic focus on process and people, and not activities and outcomes. Which is, you know, the process the the customer journey methodology typically comes with, you know, playbooks anywhere between 25 and 100 pages, which are based around, you know, various different approaches from scaled agile to design thinking to, you know, lean to systems thinking to a variety of different sort of, you know, methodological soup approaches. And sometimes I think people can be a little too focused that if they follow the methodology, then they’re going to get to the right answer. They’ll have built a better factory for creating kind of, you know, sort of, you know, better sausages, and of course, the reality isn’t true that isn’t that isn’t going to shortcut you to the right place. The focus has to be on, you know, what are we genuinely trying to sell for? What are we trying to do that’s different? How are we going to think about that differently? How are we going to undertake a different set of activities? How are we going to measure some things that are different from things that we’ve previously measured? How are we going to learn things about our customers that we haven’t previously understood? How are we going to reframe needs in a way that challenges the way that we previously thought about these? These are the things that become the good indicators that you’re going to drive to different answers and successful transformation. You know, if you just go into these programmes and say, you know, we kind of adopt customer journeys as our as our as our methods and our focus, and we’re going to measure all the same things that we previously measured, and we can largely get cross functional teams together, but we’re really going to ask them to, you know, wear the same hats they previously worn departmentally, I think you’d be surprised that the lack of innovation, and the lack of new value creation that you’ll see in that approach.
Geraldine Maringo 24:58
Yeah, I think it ties back to the outcomes you’re committing to. So, you know, the ongoing debate, is it a KPI or and OKR? Well, we’re going OKRs. And that aligned to that is, what business case is going to be used to fund this activity? Because you’re having to move organisations from cost lines that are very linear — and by item or by process — to actually now thinking about funding and experience with value-based outcomes. And so to move an entire organisation to that way of thinking is a challenge in itself. And very much a journey we’re still on and I think that’s fair to say. So it’s a complete organisation, organisational change at every level, to both see and create the value.
Matt Hopgood 25:55
And of course, there’s a paradox at the heart of this, as well, I think, which is banks have different model of value than their customers. And so the traditional banking model of value is that the thing that drives value for the organisation is products, because product sales drive net interest margin, or they drive income. And so the product side of the business is the bit that drives the money, and the servicing side of the business is the bit that drives the costs. And, so therefore, you know, product leads, and service is a function of product servicing effectively. And therefore, servicing is a set of costs that need to be minimised so that you can maximise the profitability of your product manufacturing. Well, of course, your customers see almost entirely reverse of that, which is especially at the moment when interest rates are so low, which is there’s so little product performance in the market, actually, all of the value, probably 90% plus of the value that your customers get, are from the servicing interactions. But those servicing interactions are not really understood very well within a lot of organisations because they’re not monetized. And I don’t mean monetizing as much that, you know, you’re selling your services for profit, but you don’t really understand the monetary exchange the value that those services create the customers might be willing to pay for. So you can think about the complete value that you’re creating on their behalf. And so, and that’s, there’s a big paradox there, which is, customer journeys are often tackled from the approach of driving efficiency into service and journeys, and maximising the effectiveness of product journeys. Whereas the reverse should probably be true from a customer perspective, which is ultimately, you know, make the product journeys as frictionless as possible, and then help me get the most value out of my servicing journeys because that’s where you’re genuinely adding value. But there’s a shift in mental model, I think that needs to perhaps be undertaken in organisations for that particular penny to drop.
Geraldine Maringo 27:52
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And it’s funny because, just building on that, a customer may well inform you on something thing that is actually very, very easy to deliver, to bring to life. But for them, as an individual, carries immense value, because that immense value is made something personal to them, it’s made something easier for them. However, in standard old transformational world, it wouldn’t may never have been considered, because, actually, it wasn’t a necessary process. And that is a really clear way to see the difference.
Fran Sorrentino 28:34
Geraldine, I’d love for you to talk a little bit more about what it means for you and your team to not only change the customer journey, but also run it. So you’ve talked already about some of the insight that that run provides back into the change team, about what could be even better, the things that have come out of those lived experiences. But tell us about the journey to get there and and what you’ve learned, and what you would do differently?
Geraldine Maringo 29:03
Wow. What would I do differently? I don’t think I do much differently, because I think coming over into a world of transformation is very much a learning experience. So I don’t think I’d do anything differently because every time we’ve designed or put something in, if it’s not quite worked the way it should, we’ve learned from it, which only makes the end outcome even better. So the biggest journey element that I would say is as a team being comfortable with learning, and that in itself is an organisational element that many struggle with. Being comfortable with learning and making mistakes is a huge leap forward and being comfortable with iterative change also, when we go back to those areas, such as compliance or fraud, iterative change supports that learning cycle. And so that then allows you to embrace how guessing those fast feedback loops and moving us all forward to the optimum experience. In our run world, it’s very much played out to a similar in a similar way. So we are still being surprised by what people are doing. And because we’ve come on a journey as a cross-functional collaborative team, that learning is very much shared and collaborative. And so now we’re in a situation whereby we’re still building that new but we’re problem solving almost effortlessly, and we’re doing so remotely. And that has made no difference because we’ve come together in terms of delivering this answer to our customers in a collaborative way, all the way through. And so, speed to change is now better because we’re used to small increments. So if I give you a comparison, when we started on our journey, which was a very long learning journey, it probably took us about nine months before we had our first release. If I look at the last three months, despite being in a pan-global pandemic, and lockdown, we have 30 releases in the same period. So that’s one team and similar size, now getting used to quick iterative change. A large proportion of those changes are as a result of those small feedback loops. Customers are doing this. They have told us, they don’t like this, let us change it. If it doesn’t work, we’ll change it back. So it’s that learning curve of almost getting a comfort with the ability to always make changes and that we’re not an old school project is not one and done. Because bringing people on that journey so they can appreciate that it’s also important because you have a lot of people that have ingrained fear that if I don’t get everything I need and right now, it will never happen. And that’s the result of all transformational projects, not necessarily thinking Customer and thinking fast, iterative design and releases.
Fran Sorrentino 32:01
Matt, I want to ask you a question. I think of all the times I’ve seen you write this on a whiteboard: you talk about the relative priorities of value and velocity, especially when it comes to early-days customer journey transformation. And you know, whether it’s right to focus on value or velocity first, can you say a little bit about that?
Matt Hopgood 32:24
Yeah, I mean, it really builds on Geraldine’s last point, which is, even though you know, the whole point about, you know, embracing these more transformative approaches, both in your run angle change part of your organisation is to, you know, identify that value and then deliver it faster pace, so increase that velocity. The reality is, is that, that if you can’t get anything out the door, in reasonable timeframes, you don’t have a value problem to solve for is a you’ve already got a backlog of things, which are probably no regret and would take you, you know, for the next five and ten years. And so, you know, it is absolutely right that the first place that those transformation programmes start is laying the infrastructure. Building the framework, building the capability, building the technology foundations to, as Geraldine has described, it took nine months to get the first release. And in the last few months, they’ve had 30. You know, this is the, when you get to that stage where you can do 30 releases in a few months, then you can really begin to say, actually, we don’t necessarily need to worry so much about velocity, we can now really lean into what is the value that we need to create, what’s the value we want to put in the market, test, put those feedback loops in, make the adjustments, change what we’re doing so that we maximise value. But if it takes you 18 months, you know, from thinking of an idea to creating a backlog to getting it out live to your customers, then you know, you need to focus on velocity, you know, before you before you worry too much about the value side of that particular equation. That said, and I’ve seen now in a few clients, once you’ve got velocity, you know, sort of licked, you know, you’ve begun to move into the cloud, you’ve got your DevOps working, you’ve embraced all of the modern engineering, you’ve got a scaled agile framework, the team is beginning to work in collaborative cross-functional ways, you can see really good flow through the backlog. Once all that’s in place, that isn’t the end. That’s the beginning. I think that that’s really important. It’s like I’ve seen, often seen teams, you know, they kind of pull up the drawbridge at that point and say, hey, look at us, we’ve embraced scaled agile, and you know, we’ve got faster change, we’re done and you just think you’re not done now. That’s it. Brilliant, well done. You’ve built the framework. Now we need to start applying that framework into where do where do we get the most bang for the buck for our customers, and where do we want to drive the most innovation and change
Fran Sorrentino 35:00
I’m gonna switch it up a little bit. Do some quickfire questions. Geraldine finish this sentence: customer journey transformation is __.
Geraldine Maringo 35:10
Fran Sorrentino 35:15
That’s also an agile joke, which I clocked. Matt?
Matt Hopgood 35:22
I hope we all recognise that needs to be mic drop there.
Fran Sorrentino 35:29
Matt: customer journey transformation is ___.
Matt Hopgood 35:36
I’m trying to think of some kind of joke that plays both ways and I can’t do it. I feel I can’t answer that question. Geraldine’s… I can’t reach the same heights of the double-take there, I refuse to answer.
Fran Sorrentino 35:53
Geraldine it’s one of those moments in your customer journey transformation path where you feel discouraged. Like an uphill battle that just keeps getting steeper. What do you do?
Geraldine Maringo 36:03
Pause, and reflect, and go at it again.
Fran Sorrentino 36:08
Matt: you’re partnered with a wonderful financial institution like Nationwide, you feel like you’ve hit a wall? It’s an uphill battle. What do you do?
Matt Hopgood 36:19
I think the reflection part is, is really important. Often you’ve hit walls because your progress over the last few weeks, or the last month, feels like, you know, there’s been a real slowdown. And I think that when you reflect back over the six previous months on the nine previous months, and then you can say, wow, we have come a long way. We’re not there, but my goodness, we’re not where we were either. And, you know, and I think that, you know, that mission that, you know, so often changes, you know, two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back, and it does feel frustrating and it does feel like you’re zigzagging or, you know, or or sort of tacking across the path but just as long as there’s momentum, then you know you need to kind of cling to those and celebrate those successes.
Geraldine Maringo 37:07
Definitely, and just tied to that the ceremonies really, really help with those days. So sprint reviews really need to be used as best they are, you know, as celebrating the work you’ve done over that two week period, if you worked two sprints, is really fundamental. And I also find the, we use programme increment planning events, but, those events are really, really inspirational to allow the whole team to just take a breath and just consciously reflect on how much we have achieved because it is very, very easy to fall into the focusing in on today’s problem and the nature of our job, you know, you break work down into small pieces, to be able to just reflect, lift your head above the water, and just remember how this is all coming together and working so beautifully. It’s just important to take the time to do that.
Matt Hopgood 38:01
Also, reflect on reflect a little bit more and be a bit more honest about the targets. Because I think often at the inception of change programmes, there was a lot of ambitious talk about what it is going to unlock in, you know, really rather, let’s call, let’s say, optimistic timeframes. And therefore, sometimes when, you know, you fall short of those initial promises, people can feel a little bit deflated. But the reality could be that the progress has been immense, and the promise was perhaps slightly overblown. And so sometimes I think in those moments where you’re kind of hitting walls, it’s also worth not just reflecting on the progress made, but also on the aspirations that you undertook, because, you know, they were probably, to coin Geraldine’s last joke, they were probably epic to begin with.
Fran Sorrentino 38:52
A moment of pure joy I had doing customer journey transformation work was __.
Geraldine Maringo 38:57
Probably last week for me. So, last week, we hit a huge milestone where we, we went to really, really scaled proportions. So after years of small incremental releases building us up to a to a crescendo, and that’s not to say we’re anywhere near done. But now we’re almost at a significant levels of volumes of people experiencing what we’ve all invested so much in, and the member feedback is outstanding, the performance we’re seeing is exactly where we would ever want it to be. And it’s almost important not to be humble in those moments. Far too often when you’re doing these small increments, you focus on the next milestone and you don’t pause to actually let the people know that have invested in you and sponsoring you just how far you’ve come. So yeah, in recent weeks, I say that was a big crescendo to say, you’ve stuck with it. So Matt talks about the big promises and the beginning of these programmes, and making sure you bring the broader organisation on the journey with you, so that they can come on that journey and see it evolving is really, really critical just to make sure that your most original business case or forming conversation doesn’t in turn become the noose around your neck when you’re 10 months in and you’ve found your feet into this building pace is really, really important.
Fran Sorrentino 40:26
Closing question before we talk a little bit about what’s next is just on a personal level, what kind of impact is this work had on you?
Geraldine Maringo 40:33
So for me personally, I feel like this line of work has really been quite liberating. I think this line of thinking enables me as an individual to make best use of the skill set I can bring to the table. It really enables me to champion the voice of the customer more so ever than I’ve ever been able to before. But alongside that is coupled with the huge, huge motivational feeling of empowerment. Because actually, nobody can deny the insight that you have from what our customers told you needs to happen and the rationale around it. And with with a collaborative team, with a cross-functional collaborative team around you, you’ve also got every lens covered, every lens covered in quick succession. So you are continually well informed to then make proactive decisions quite quickly. And to be empowered to do so consistently, is incredibly motivational. And yeah, quite liberating.
Fran Sorrentino 41:40
Matt Hopgood 41:41
About four or five years ago, I was working on a customer journey transformation programme for a large UK bank, and we were looking at a lending journey, which was secured. And I think, as we began to really sort of understand the value that we wanted to create for the customer and understood what they valued more than the product itself. And then we began to understand all of the different levers across that organisation that could either, you know, create, you know, enhance that value or sort of dilute it. We came to this, you know, relatively early realisation that one of the things that unlocked value for that customer was changing the service level agreements with some rather obscure back office, third-party suppliers in the sort of the in the processing change chain. And when we did that, it sort of took out 15 days of elapsed time in that particular, you know, start the process and then receipt of the product benefit. And it was one of those moments where I just thought, Oh my God, I’ve spent 25 years doing this and, at like, year 20, recognise that everything I’d thought of as customer experience wasn’t customer experience, in that customer experience isn’t that from stage, the products that we market, the propositions that they see, the channels that they touch, the things that we create, as the as the kind of the those, you know, the visible manifestations of the brand. The customer experience is the whole damn thing. It’s the decisions that we’re making around the eligibility criteria. It’s the attitude towards credit risk. It’s the way that we, you know, make our shortcuts around, you know, technical decisions, which force manual processes in the operation centre, and it was that moment about five years ago where I just thought you have to start thinking about whole organisation customer experience, rather than visible customer experience that I thought this is, it’s never going to be the same again. I can’t think about it in ways that, I, you know, it was that moment where I just thought, wow, 20 years I’ve thought of it one way, and now I’m never going to think about it the same way again. And that’s been that was both terrifying a moment in time but also just, you know, feels like a wonderful gift as well.
Fran Sorrentino 44:19
Is customer journey right for everybody, especially financial institutions and what else can be done what’s what’s next after you’ve established ongoing customer journey transformation teams.
Geraldine Maringo 44:34
So my view is that we will never be done. Customer expectations are ever changing and to remain relevant we need to also remain consistent and understand what the current expectation is to term to compete in the market, the voice of the customer will remain at the forefront and it’s almost as an organisation we need to be comfortable with continual evolution. I think the thinking of putting a project in, getting it done and moving on needs to come to an end. Continuous learning and evolution is the only way forward. And I think then there are some areas that we’ll always need to think about risk of those, of those streams almost that go up with but don’t go across the journey there are there, are some things that, you know, just have to always be in place that a journey project, a journey wouldn’t always work to. But at the same time, there is always relevance of those pieces in a journey experience.
Matt Hopgood 45:38
Yeah, I think the last obstacle UI which is I think customer journey transformation is a really critical first step, to start thinking about customer into both, you know, how you deliver change, but also how you run. So you’re thinking about it from a sort of a whole enterprise perspective about how that value is created within the context of that customer lifecycle, that customer experience. But the reality is, is that that doesn’t cover the whole enterprise, it doesn’t cover the whole bank. And so, you know, if you start wanting to connect your entire organisation to both, you know, more explicitly to customer and commercial value, customer journey isn’t going to be the thing that gets you all the way there is going to get you some of the way there. But it’s going to leave gaps. And so I think that, you know, it’s really, you just need to be clear that it’s a really good blueprint, but it’s not the blueprint for enterprise change.
Fran Sorrentino 46:33
Great segue, Matt. In our next episode, we’ll be looking at scaling customer journey transformation, and what it means to move to full enterprise transformation. But until then, I think this has been a really rich conversation around what kind of personal impact customer journey has on the people who do it, the things we’ve learned, the things we can’t go back to, and I’ve really love talking to both of you, not only because you’re two of my favourite people, but, you know, I think it was actually kind of enjoyable to listen to I hope.
Matt Hopgood 47:03
We will see. Enjoyable for us.
Fran Sorrentino 47:10
In the next episode, we’ll look at scaling customer journey transformation, focusing primarily on its value when applied to enterprise wide transformation. Keep an eye out for it or subscribe at our dedicated XBank website,
xbank.publicissapient.com, where you can also learn about the HOW of digital banking transformation.