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Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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Reimagining Customer Engagement with Intelligent Texts

Many financial institutions struggle when it comes to building engagement with customers in a timely and impactful manner. More than ever, there is a need for ongoing dialogue that assists customers in better managing their finances.

One way to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of customer communication is with texting solutions, connecting with customers in real-time using messaging that gets attention far greater than traditional channels.

My guest on the Banking Transformed podcast is Scott McArthur, CRO of Statflo. Scott discusses the power of intelligent conversational texts, and how this channel can improve satisfaction and financial results.

This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by Statflo

Statflo provides the leading compliant business text messaging platform that enables Financial Institutions to have productive, two-way conversations with their customers. With seamless integrations to existing CRM/core systems, full customer context, and rich shareable content, customer-facing teams have all the tools they need in a single platform to engage, retain, and grow their customer base.

For more information visit statflo.com

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed. I'm your host, Jim Marous, founder and CEO of the Digital Bank Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. Many financial institutions struggle when it comes to building engagement with consumers in a timely and impactful manner. More than ever, there is a need for ongoing dialogue that assists customers in better managing their financial relationships. One way to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of customer communications is with texting solutions. Connecting with customers in real time using messaging that gets attention and helps the consumer. I'm excited to have Scott McArthur, CRO of Statflo, on Banking Transformed Podcast today. Scott discusses the benefits of intelligent conversational text, and how the process can improve satisfaction and financial results. With intelligent text capabilities, financial institutions can now quickly reach out to consumers, providing proactive recommendations and offers that both increase engagement and are positioned to improve the consumer's financial wellbeing. This can all be done more efficiently than any other way that we have currently available.

Jim Marous:
So Scott, before we get into how texting can supplement other communication channels, can you share a little bit about yourself and a little bit about Statflo?

Scott McArthur:
Yeah, for sure. So I've been in this CX game for a long time, I was almost 10 years at one of Canada's major telcos before joining Statflo. And the reason I love Statflo so much and I've been a part of this Statflo journey over the last seven years is Statflo really provides that leading one-to-one business text messaging platform that enables financial institutions, telcos, and other industries in a highly compliant regulated market with two-way conversations between them and their customers. The whole intent is really how can Statflo help our FIs really engage, retain, and grow their customer base through that two-way interaction. Again, most people say, "Hey, are you the one stop shop for CRM?" We are not. We integrate with all of the backend systems. We are really meant to be that frontline tool to enable the frontline to have those proactive one-to-one conversations with the right customer context, the right rich shareable content they can push out.

Scott McArthur:
A great example over the last couple of years would be being able to send something as simple as an appointment booking sendable to allow a customer to book a time that they see fit to either have a conversation on the phone or come into the branch, and also really make sure that they have that single tool for that engage, retain, grow concept when proactively reaching out to customers.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting. Since the pandemic consumer expectations have increased dramatically around how they want to communicate with companies they partner with. What's interesting is it also changed the way we communicate with other people with regard to texting versus verbal versus facial. And, overall, from what you see, what are consumers looking for from their FIs? How do they prefer to interact with the brand?

Scott McArthur:
So let's start with some macro stats that we like to share ahead of time, whether we're talking about financial institutions or telco or in general retail. Close to two thirds of customers are looking for that two-way dialogue with their businesses of choice, whether that's their favorite brand, their financial institution. There's a lot of personalization with that when it comes to people's money, so they want that two-way dialogue. People want more of it. Close to 80% of those customers say they want two-way. They want more of it, more frequent touch points in that two way manner. And what's cool for all the marketers out there, when you think of mass emails, I was at a credit union league event last week, and I was asking them what is their communication of choice with their customers? They were talking about email as an example, mass email. Asked them a question of, "Hey, what's the average read rate on email?," and they said, "Anywhere from 15 to 20%," which is actually on the extreme high end of read rate. When a text message gets sent, 95% plus of those messages are read within three minutes.

Scott McArthur:
So as a marketer, if you have the right content and the right message going out, you're going to have almost a hundred percent of those messages read within any given point in time. So when you think of the consumer side, customers want two-way dialogue via text. So when you think of the value of this type of communication for the financial institution, it really is allowing those community banks and credit unions to create that local personal interaction with the customer through the channel of their choice. It allows the FIs to have a more efficient means of communication with their customers, so there's always a cost savings there. There's a lot of stats, and I'm happy to get into them in a few minutes, around the value of customer response rates, so a much higher engaged customer when you're doing this via one-to-one text. The conversion rates are dramatically higher than other forms of communication, and quite frankly, one of our studies that we did with one of the major telcos here in Canada, our opt-in rates were one fifth of what they were for other channels of communication.

Scott McArthur:
So customers like it. They want more of it. They're engaging in a much higher rate, and they're opting in, which means they want to continue having this form of communication. So say that's the benefit of both the consumer and the FI.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting. More than ever consumers want help in managing their finances. They want their financial institution to partner with them around the best way to meet their financial needs and to improve their financial wellbeing. As you mentioned, we've moved from a one way communication style to a two way communication style that really pushes towards engagement rather than just straight on communication. What's also interesting, and in our research we have found that consumers really prefer text messaging as long as, and a big caveat, as long as there's value provided in the communication, because there's an urgency matter. I look at myself and I may miss emails over and over and over again because there's so many of them, however I almost always respond to text messages right away and I don't mind them coming from partner organizations I work with as long as they're important. I just don't want them to be pushing out the same stuff they did in the old media. So when you look at that, what does this mean overall for financial institution marketing being able to leverage this channel?

Scott McArthur:
Yeah, I think first and foremost, it needs to be conversational. I think you nailed it on the head where you don't want an email transcribed into a text. And this is where a lot of our conversations happen with the marketing folks at our major customers of it needs to be conversational. You do not need to push a whole bunch of promos and offers into that message. Again, when you're thinking engaging, retaining, growing your customers, it's all about conversation. You spoke upfront that we want to have this dialogue today as like we're having drinks, just having an open conversation about one-to-one. That's what customers are looking for with their financial institutions of you want to have a conversation, you don't want to be just sold a whole bunch of stuff and said, "Hey, come in today and get X." It's really about, "Hey Jim, checking in to see how your new loan is going? Any questions?"

Scott McArthur:
So that's that whole concept of engagement, how can you make sure that I as the FI, and we're reaching out to Jim the customer, and making sure that you're happy with your service and/or if you have any questions or concerns. So that's the engagement piece. Retention is pretty easy. It's just that, those regular check-ins, again, not to sell them anything. It's just making sure that you're having that regular cadence of communication, using something like one-to-one text as one of those channels. And then once you've won that opportunity to start talking to your customers or members about other products and services, that's where you start to let them know and say, "Hey Jim, just check in one to let you know about a really cool X. Cool new checking account. Great new offer on interest rates as they're going up. Want to talk to you about fixed versus variable rates," as an example. So it's real, again, conversational, not to pitch a product, just to have a conversation about your business and make sure you're keeping those lines of communication open.

Jim Marous:
Well, it's interesting because I'm a bank marketer from way back. That's where I started at the beginning of my career. And we have now seen a significant shift away from product sales to more of a consumer focused dialogue. Really the showing of a higher desire for empathy and showing that the financial institution is actually looking out for my wellbeing as opposed to continually just hitting me with the product of the month. So what trends are you seeing in the financial institution industry, but more importantly, where do you think financial institutions should be focusing their time and money right now for, let's say, early wins?

Scott McArthur:
Specifically to one-to-one text or just general customer engagement?

Jim Marous:
Basically the one-to-one text field. I think that's really where a lot of the impact can be made, especially when you're looking at engagement.

Scott McArthur:
Yeah. It's interesting. So some of the potential objections that we hear from customers, one is, "Hey, I'm not sure if my frontline's going to do it. We're already asking to do outbound calls." Fantastic. One-to-one texting is something that they do on a day to day basis. A lot of these folks on the frontline, whether it's advisors or even branch associates, aren't necessarily hired to do outbound calling. So give them a channel that they're going to actually know how to use and remove the fear or the friction of doing that cold call. Then I think once that's done, it's now looking at how can you really engage those customers. Where an FI can really start out is something as similar of those three buckets of engage, retain, grow. Focus on the engagement side. Think about onboarding your customers. What does that first 30 to 60 days look like? And are you contacting the right way, and in the right frequency? I was sitting through a session at a cable co event last week with the top cable co's in the US, and JD Power talked about the need for regular engagement.

Scott McArthur:
And within that onboarding piece, hopefully I don't ruin the stat from JD Power, but you need to be contacting customer every two to three weeks within that first few months of their new product or service, again, because you're going to have different inflection points throughout that first couple of months. You want to be there. You want to be engaging with that customer, make sure they feel like you're a trust advisor for them on their new product or service. So, to me, I think that's a great spot to start. There's a lot of stats out there that speak to if you've had a great onboarding experience with your business of choice, chance are you're going to stay heck of a lot longer and you're going to buy more products and services. So I'd say engagement is probably the easiest spot to start before you get into cross sell upsell stuff.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, because you mentioned it, and I know that some of the research you've done shows that, especially early in the customer journey in the buying process but also after the purchase early in the onboarding process, you almost can't overcommunicate, because the consumer really wants their hand to be held, theoretically, in ways to say, "How do I make best use of this product?" And financial institutions just traditionally shy away from what they consider to be overcommunication, yet JD Power, using the same research you've looked at, has found that seven to nine touches in the first six months is not overwhelming to the consumer. In fact, that's where the cross of highest satisfaction and highest impact actually hits, which works to the benefit of the financial institution. It's interesting, there's been a lot of talk around personalization for decades, but this level of personalization must go beyond simply just putting the name on a text or an email or some other communication. And from your perspective, how do you define personalization today given the [inaudible 00:12:31] technologies we have available?

Scott McArthur:
That's a very loaded question, in terms of the definition of personalization. A lot of the bigger financial institutions would have a big data team, data science folks that slice and dice the data across many facets and say, I'm making this up on the fly, "Jim lives in Cleveland, he lives on this street, and his demographic is X. Now we should talk to him about this product." So that's the level of detail some of the bigger FIs have gotten to. But it's interesting, I was talking to a company that does this within the telco space. There's a lot of great data to say, "Here's who you should be targeting." If you do it with the wrong channel of communication... Jim, I'm going to just pick on you and make an assumption based on you being a marketer. If you just got blasted with the same message over and over through the same channel or medium of communication, you'd probably look at it and be like, "This isn't for me. This is not personalization. This is just them blasting a whole bunch of stuff at me."

Scott McArthur:
So the data's critical in terms of understanding your demographics and understanding that concept of personalization, what products or services we should be talking to you about. But if you fail on the medium of communication, that's probably even more impactful than the actual offer that's going out to you. And I'm not saying one-to-one tech should be the be all end all of communication, it's quite the opposite. We work with our customers on, "Hey, what are the right cadence of communications through one-to-one? How can that complement or augment your mass email or your direct mail," I know a lot of financial institutions still use direct mail, for whatever reason, "or outbound calling." So where are the different lines of communication, and then where does one-to-one text fit in. I'd say that's a big piece of personalization is connecting with a customer in the channel of communication they desire, or making some assumptions until you learn that, around what's going to drive the highest response rate. And that's why I've been so passionate about one-to-one text messaging over the last four or five years.

Jim Marous:
So, interesting. When you work with clients, financial institutions, how do you take their database and make personalized communications at scale? Because that's really what we're talking about here. How do you do that given the fact that organizations have all different formats of core system providers, marketing objectives, things like this, how do you engage with a financial institution?

Scott McArthur:
Yeah, so there's two ends of the spectrum in terms of how we engage with a financial institution. Baseline, a lot of these FIs already have some form of contact strategy with their customers, whether they're using another CRM marketing platform like HubSpot, there's a few credit unions in Illinois that were talking about HubSpot, so they already have a contact strategy. We are not looking to replace that contact strategy. What we do is work with them and say, "Okay, where does this data come from? Do you have all the pertinent details, i.e., a centralized opt out mechanism somewhere to ensure that you're not contacting customers that have said do not contact me again." So if they already have those campaigns being created from their core systems, they can upload those files as very simple raw data files. We would transform them and surface them to the frontline to make sure they know who to contact, why are they contacting them.

Scott McArthur:
And the one piece that I've failed to mention is our whole compliance structure, and there's a few components of compliance. One being the regulatory and data security, which we check the box on. The third piece is brand compliance. So how we work is it's not just saying, "Here's who we need contact. Contact Jim about this type of thing." It's, "Contact Jim. Here's the," what we call, "chat starter." So we work with the brand folks at any given FI and say, "Here's what Statflo recommends for the chat starter based on this campaign," but at the end of the day, allowing the FI to tweak it based on the language used based on their branding and/or the state that they might be in. And I pick on one of our partners, Kasasa, that in Texas they say, "y'all" a lot, so, again, that could be part of the chat starter if that's part of standard conversational text, whereas New York state might be a bit more proper in terms of the language being used. So that's a big piece of what we do.

Scott McArthur:
So it's as simple as the rep logging in, seeing Jim, I can edit that chat starter if I want, and hitting send, and that's where the conversation starts. And the rep cannot blast you as the customer with multiple messages once that first chat starter is sent. I as a frontline person cannot send you a message until either a certain amount of days have expired and/or Jim, you respond, and then that's where the two way dialogue starts to happen.

Jim Marous:
So you work with all different sized organizations. You also work with data that's in all kinds of formats, based on both the core systems that they use, but even more importantly, how many silos they have, how clean the information is. Can you work with financial institutions to help them with their data to still make an impact on personalization as they're working to set up better core systems in the back office?

Scott McArthur:
For sure. And I think the larger institutions that already have a robust CRM, because we have a fairly strong API set, those APIs would just hit the CRM and it's a pure push and pull of data, me being the non-technical person, but the APIs would allow for that two way communication of data. For the folks that have really messy, ugly data, still trying to figure out their back end, we've actually partnered with a cool company that's been around a while in community banking and credit unions known as Kasasa, and they have a really awesome marketing tech stack that integrates with probably close to a hundred percent of the core systems out there. They would normalize the data, so take all that really messy, ugly data, they would normalize it, work with the FI to make sure that they understand all the different inputs of the data, surface it into their tech stack, and then they're able to create a contact strategy across direct mail, across Statflo, across different lines of communications. I can't remember what other lines of communication they have.

Scott McArthur:
But, again, they're able to create the campaigns based on the conversation with the FI, surface that to somebody like Statflo, again, enable the frontline to do the outreach. And then what's really cool is they have attribution on all those campaigns, as well, so the reason we're so excited about the partnership with Kasasa is they take all that messy data and make it work, create the right contact strategy based on the desire of the FI, and are able to show the attribution of those touch points and campaigns based on, did somebody do the desired task, something as simple as did they set up their auto payments or billing online, or whatever it might be. So it could be as simple as that, or it could be as robust of did this customer sign up for that loan within X days. Really cool example that came up last week, and we've been hearing this a lot, is leveraging text message for collections.

Scott McArthur:
So killer example, we've been talking to some very large subprime lenders up here in Canada, as well as a lot of the FIs of how can you leverage that one-to-one dialogue to have a sometimes not so awesome conversation with customers, but to drive that adoption of, "Hey, you need to pay your bill. This is what it is." It creates that non-confrontational dialogue with the customer through text.

Jim Marous:
Well, actually it shows that you're looking out for the customer. Because what happens is if you reach me in the fastest way possible, which is certainly the text format, that's better than the email because emails can get lost, as we well know. What's interesting also, what has been done in the past or recently, is that you can have triggers that can be used on text messaging, but as a result of all the different dynamics you've talked about is marketing moving more from a cost center now to a revenue center possibility, where the generation of revenue from those efforts is more than just a cost to the organization but actually a generator of revenue?

Scott McArthur:
My view is everything should be looked at. Marketing is an extension of sales and revenue generation, whether or not markers want to see that or not, it depends on the organization, but I think everything should be seen in the light of, is this either helping us make more money, or is it helping retain and engage our customer base so that we don't have to add more customers on to make up for the loss of an inefficient customer experience. So I think, a lot of our customers, that's how they've been looking at the marketing bit of, "Yes, it's a cost to sign up for something like Statflo, but what are the material ROI benefits of doing this one-to-one text?" And we look at a few things. One is efficiency savings. So one of our large telcos, a few years ago, they looked at it from a efficiency savings side of things of, "How much money can I save by allowing a rep to send," making some of this up on the fly, "10 text messages for the same time it takes that same rep to do one phone call in to a customer."

Scott McArthur:
So, what is the cost savings, that's material that's easy to show. What are the NPS scores or client satisfaction scores? How is this type of communication driving that, and it could be reduction in calls after they've signed up for a loan, i.e., there's not as many escalations after the fact, or they've done all the different checkpoints that they're supposed to, i.e., online billing. If we can drive a higher adoption of online payments or online banking, what are the cost benefits to the financial institution? And the third piece really is what's the revenue generation that this is allowing us to, i.e., retaining your customers, engaging them, but then what's the conversion rate on those additional products and services. You're actually wanting to sell them after the fact. You can potentially cut this out of the out of this session afterwards, but I always use myself as an example and everybody nods their head, of my checking and savings is with One Bank up here. My mortgage is with another bank. My investments is with another bank, and my credit card is with another bank.

Scott McArthur:
So if you think of me as probably a standard example across North America, how can that bank drive a better localized personal touchpoint with me so that I push more of my products and services into their bank. And quite frankly, the bank I use has not provided that to me, so I haven't pushed all my products and services into one financial institution.

Jim Marous:
So what benefits does this real time, contextual, precise messaging through text have over other methods of outreach, and do they work in conjunction with and supplemental to the other forms?

Scott McArthur:
Yeah, absolutely, and I think I mentioned this a few minutes ago, it's not meant to be one-to-one text is the only channel communication you should have with a customer. It's meant to compliment what you already have in place. So a great example, if you're looking to push a lot of information to a customer and it's more informative, that may be an email where it's, "Hey, Jim, thanks for signing up. Here's all the T's and C's for everything you want to know about your new loan." That could maybe be a good email, whereas a text on that same engaging piece really is around, "Hey, Jim, just checking in to see if you have any questions about the email I sent."

Scott McArthur:
So you've sent the email, you then follow up with a text, and that third step may be calling, "Hey Jim, did you get the email and text I sent you about your new loan?," and it removes the fear and the barriers of that frontline person making that call to you because they've already sent an email, they've done that personalized compliant text, now they're following up with a phone call. So it's all a matter of the case of communication. We did a study only looking at text and calling. We did a study over about 7 million conversations last summer. Did an AB test with one of our big operators to really look at the value of conversion rates of more mass channels, like email, call center, mass text. Sub 2% conversion rates, and then when you look at the cadence where it starts with a one-to-one text it was almost double conversion of that 2% out of the gates.

Scott McArthur:
And what's really cool is, and we didn't think about this, we coach our customers on specific cadences of one-to-one outreach, what we realized is a phone call that is followed up on after a one-to-one text almost doubles the conversion rate of whatever the intent of that campaign is. So it's not text, text, text all month. You potentially start with that mass email, follow up with a one-to-one text, and that phone call is killer to almost double the conversion rate of whatever the campaign intent is. So, again, do not only focus on one channel of communication, we can work with you on what are the right cadences of communication to your customers.

Jim Marous:
So, you've mentioned several times in this conversation that you work with other industries. You referenced telco quite a bit. Is this a benefit to financial institutions that you work with different industries that may be more advanced than using of text messaging, and that you can apply the learnings and apply the victories, so to speak, to institutions that you work with in the financial services industry?

Scott McArthur:
A hundred percent. I think that's why we've gotten into financial services, and specifically retail banking over the last couple years, is there were so many similarities between telco and retail banking. And you think of highly regulated compliant markets, so we know that space. There's a brick and mortar aspect to retail banking and telco, and a lot of the sales and our customer engagement has always been through that brick and mortar. That brick and mortar is going to evolve, but it's not disappearing anytime soon, so how can we help our customers better leverage those fixed assets and fixed costs within store. And then there's a heavy life cycle component to a customer engagement, whether it's in telco, retail banking, and some of the other verticals, it's all about that concept engage, retain, grow your customer base. And the last piece is all around the localization.

Scott McArthur:
We used to use this story of when you buy a car you end up having your person, your guy, your lady that's your go-to and you refer all your friends to that person to buy their next car, assuming they like that same brand. That's where telco and banking comes into play. If you have a kick-ass relationship with the Verizon store at the corner of Fifth and Maine, you're probably going to tell your friends and family to go to that store and get up, get your new iPhone. Same thing in banking. That's why I work with who I do on my mortgage side is somebody had a great relationship, it was in cross pollination between telco retail, banking, financial services.

Jim Marous:
So what challenges and risks do financial institutions need to take into consideration before investing in a messaging software?

Scott McArthur:
Need to be aware of the risks. Again, we always have one very big slide on compliance and helping our customers. We like to educate our customers on the compliance risks and what they need to know around compliance. So, conversation I had last week, actually last week in multiple events, was there was a lot of dime a dozen text messaging platforms out there that may or may not be compliant. Do your homework. Understand if they're meeting all the three and four letter acronyms there across North America, whether it's TCPA, whether it's are they A2P accredited, application to peer. That's something you're going to start to see. If companies are not registered as A2P, their messages will start getting blocked if they haven't already, by the Verizons, AT and T, T-Mobiles of the world. The goal of the big carriers are to block as much spam as possible, so if that company's not adhering to A2P, chances are those messages that you think are hitting your customers are actually not getting there because they're being blocked by the carriers because of being perceived as spam.

Scott McArthur:
So compliance is a big piece of it. What's around security. All the regulatory compliance pieces around contacting and right to contact customers. And then quite frankly, you're on the far side of compliance, make sure we're always safe on compliance side. And the other piece is just around brand compliance. Are you pushing the right messages to the right customer? And make sure that's on brand and on point with however your financial institution to be perceived. So I'd say compliance is critical. We're happy we spend a lot of time educating our customers on this as part of the sales process and part of the onboarding process, because quite frankly, if they're impacted, we're impacted as well. So we want to make sure that our customers are set up well from a compliance side.

Jim Marous:
So let's talk about financial institution. And let's say I say I want to go forward with you. How long did it take between the day that I say, "Let's go," and the day that we're actually in market doing something,

Scott McArthur:
Honestly, it's a loaded question. I think it depends on really the ease of data. Where's the data coming from, how are we getting it, the contact strategy. So we want to make sure that's all done right. I could say, "Yeah, we can spin you up in three days," but you may have a really crummy experience. We want to make sure that as the sales process is happening, we're able to identify where's your data coming from, getting samples of that data. So the sales process might take a bit longer than normal, but usually once we get a yes, we're very clear on what has to happen. And we usually aim to be within four to six weeks, sometimes a bit longer, other times a bit shorter, but the goal is within a month, month and a half, we're onboarding you as a financial institution.

Jim Marous:
Boy, that's amazing. And it's important because when we look at it, I worry about the speed to market because we get in our own way sometimes. When you work with a financial institution, obviously you're giving best case scenarios on how you can do it, what gets in the way of success? What are things that when you work with financial institutions, it looks like a clear path, but things get in the way and delay the process? What, usually, if there's a sense of one or two things, that will usually stall the process once the organization says they want to go forward?

Scott McArthur:
It's a couple things. Again, going back to the compliance piece, we usually mandate that they need to have single sign on with us through whatever other systems they have just to limit the risk of folks leaving the financial institution and taking access to Statflo with them, for whatever reason. So single sign on for the smaller institution sometimes could be a roadblock. Contact strategy is the other one. So that's why we try to do that as part of the sales process is really clearly understanding what are you trying to use this for, how can we advise you on how best to use it ahead of time before you sign a contract? And then it takes six months to onboard because what they thought they signed is completely different than what Statflo thought they signed. So, again, those are usually a couple roadblocks, or potential roadblocks.

Scott McArthur:
The one piece we've instituted across all of our customers last five or six years is we have the decision maker that signs the check, signs a contract, but we really ensure that we have a Statflo champion that is accountable to Statflo, is accountable of this type of one-to-one outreach, and makes sure that we're having regular business reviews with them to ensure that we're coaching them and their frontline on how best to use the tool during that onboarding piece, how to tweak what we call our chat starters, and how to drive better quality conversations with our customers. So I'd say that's a non-starter for us nowadays is, as an FI, you need to have a Statflo champion. It's not a full-time gig, to be clear, but they need to have some time into Statflo to ensure its success, at least in the first few months, until it becomes just course of everyday business for the frontline.

Jim Marous:
Can organizations of any size work with you? You've referenced a little bit in the past about the fact that you work with Kasasa, and you work with smaller banks and credit union, but is there any size of organization that really is something that is hard for you to work with, or is it any size organization?

Scott McArthur:
Quite frankly, any size of organization. We're in some RFPs with some of the biggest brands in North America right now, and we're working with one to two branch FIs that have a few thousand customers. I think where we've evolved is, for those smaller FIs that may not have their marketing tech stack or the data in a good spot, leveraging Kasasa as that add-on to our conversation with them saying, "Hey, if you want to use Statflo, you need to have this Kasasa integration," strictly for their core integrations, not to use their rewards program, but strictly for the marketing tech stack to ensure that the data is clean, and that allows us to work with any sized FI out there.

Jim Marous:
So, finally, where do you see the communication engagement process going in the next three to five years? Will this be a major point of differentiation in financial services?

Scott McArthur:
Quite frankly, I think financial institutions and financial services are behind in one-to-one in leveraging text. Again, as funny as it sounds, telco tends to lead customer engagement, different tools to drive that CX. Banking and finance service has the opportunity to fast follow them and not be such laggers in terms of that one-to-one dialogue with customers. It shocks me that there's so many financial institutions still leveraging simple Excel spreadsheets and outbound calling by the frontline. Baffles me that that's still part of the strategy as the one and only one-to-one outreach. So I think financial services and institutions have to quickly adapt so that they're not missed, and these neobanks come in and drive that personalized automation of one-to-one. So I'd say one-to-one engagement is critical. Institutions have to catch up. The medium at which that happens, it may be something else other than text in three to five years as business messaging evolves, and as North American user behavior may change closer to Europe where it's heavily WhatsApp. Text message is an afterthought. So it really depends on where the market's going. One-to-one messaging will still be there. It's just a matter of the medium of how it happens.

Jim Marous:
Yeah. It's just going to be deeper. Scott, thank you so much for being with us today. If somebody's interested in finding out more about the mechanism and the automation of text messages and how the impact can really be significant for financial institutions, how do they get ahold of you?

Scott McArthur:
There's two ways. I probably should have been more prepared on that piece, but I'd say it's as simple as shooting me an email. [email protected] [email protected] For those that don't want to reach out to me directly, they can go onto our website and fill out a lead form and request a call back from our sales team. And quite honestly, if anybody's reaching out to me directly, I will definitely engage our sales folks. They know the product inside and out, can help the financial institutions potentially a lot better than I can, so I'll make sure they're a part of any discussion moving forward.

Jim Marous:
Well, also, and I want to make sure that people understand that they can go to your website and see a lot of case studies, see a lot of white papers, see a lot of blog posts that have been written about what we're talking about here. It's a great way to educate yourself on what's the possible, and it's really important for organizations to realize it's maybe not a channel that you're used to, but it's certainly a channel that consumers want and they're on more than anything else right now.

Scott McArthur:
Correct.

Jim Marous:
So thanks for again, Scott.

Scott McArthur:
Thanks. And last thing I'd leave you with is our sales team is happy to educate you on the values of one-to-one text, whether or not you choose Statflo is another story, but really we spend a lot of time educating our customers and our prospects on how this can be used and why we think we're the best mousetrap for it.

Jim Marous:
That's great. Thanks a lot for being with us today.

Jim Marous:
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, just rated as a top banking podcast and the winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoyed today's interview, please be sure to give our show a five star rating on your preferred podcast app. Also, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and the reports we're doing for the Digital Banking Report. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcast. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake, audio engineer, Sean Rule Hoffman, and video producer Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember good communication goes beyond creativity. It must give your customers the ability to become a better version of themselves.

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