Banks have long been misaligned with positive outcomes for the customer. It's time to think and act on how to make your bank more valuable to your customer rather than making your customer more valuable to your bank. Curt Queyrouze, President of TAB Bank, will share some of the roadblocks he's been able to overcome and how to lead and drive change in an effective and impactful way within your bank.
I paused before I came up here so you could hear my intro music. It's called Kissing Strangers, and I thought it was appropriate music because dating vendors and fintech companies as partners these days is kind of kissing strangers, right? If you're going through the process, it feels really awkward, but it is really important for us to go in the future.
I want to start off by doing a little magic trick, and no, you're not going to actually see any magic, but what I'm going to tell you is I don't stand up and do this kind of presentation very often, okay? I've done two magic things by telling you that. One is I set your expectations down here, which is a good thing for me, because it's not going to take that much to go past that low bar I set.
The second thing is we've got a great lineup of speakers here, and now I've let myself off the hook in terms of trying to compete or be as good as the rest of the speakers. This is going to be important later in the talk about setting expectations and perceived value and happiness. We're going to skip the agenda. We don't need that. Banks have long occupied very stately revered space.
If you look at the lobbies of these buildings, and I know Carl Rackley's here at Hancock Whitney, he might recognize some of these lobbies. Fun fact is I have worked for each one of these banks where you see lobbies pictured over my career. The intro was kind enough to say 37 years, I think. I've actually been in banking for 42 years. When I was 15, my dad worked at a bank and it got me a summer job, and I was in the back room of the bank, main office, running the coin counting machine and stamping mail
When I look back on it, I realize they were probably violating some labor laws because I used to get paid out of a petty cash account instead of a payroll account. The other thing that's weird about that is what bank has a petty cash account? That's just weird in itself, but nevertheless, the next year, I became a teller when I was 16. Again, I'm probably violating some laws, I'm sure, but I learned some valuable lessons as a teller about how I could do better customer service.
In the old days, we had green and white printed computer sheets. You had to go check balances using that. This was mid-'70s, and frequently, as the customers would come up, you would have to ask them for ID to validate who they were, old-school identity validation. If I got to know the customers, if I knew them by name and by face, I could move my teller line more rapidly. I wouldn't have to ask them to prove who they were, and so that little simple trick made my teller line go very rapidly, and I ended up being a favored teller. Good thing. Good lesson to learn early in my career.
When you look at all these beautiful buildings, and Rory talked about yesterday, we build these huge buildings to engender trust of the industry. Oh, they got to be stable. Look how much money they put in their building. We occupied revered space for a long time. Now, I'm going to tell at 42 years in banking, how many people in here have been in banking for more than 10 years? Raise your hand. Just about everybody.
The next few slides, I wanted to let you know that I've been in 42 years because when I start getting a little bit critical of the banking industry and pick on ourselves collectively, you know that it comes from a true place because I've been in it for quite a while. Let's start with some positives. Banks have long been innovators. The drive through was an innovation to allow convenience for the customer. The pneumatic tube was a further innovation on that. Imagine now you could have two lines or three lines, and so people wouldn't have to wait long in line to get through the drive through.
Very customer-focused. Don't know that it saved the bank much money, any money. There's probably a pretty heavy investment to get this set up, but it was focused on the customer. We do have a long history of improvements, technological improvements even, that help the customer. September 2nd, 1969, the first ATM dolled out cash that long ago. Now, this is where things start to change a little bit, because all of a sudden, there's a little bit of in the mix of we're saving ourselves money because we're going to cut down on the amount of staff we have to have in a branch to serve customers.
They can go self-serve and get cash, so that starts to creep in. The other interesting thing about this stat is that debit cards have been around for a long time. Do you know what the trigger was that really gained wide acceptance for debit cards? Most merchants didn't want … They wanted you to write check, pay cash, unless it was a very large purchase. They didn't want to pay interchange fees, and so debit cards were mostly used to get cash and for very few transactions.
It started to spread, but the real trigger was in 2002 when McDonald's decided to start accepting debit cards. Everything changed after that. All of a sudden, the idea of swiping a debit card for $1.50 purchase became commonplace. The interesting thing is when I look at that is it took us 30 years to take that innovation and actually make it take hold. Now the debit card's at risk of actually going away. This one, this is where it really starts to get bad, the IVR. Customer convenience, right? How much of this is really customer convenience, and how much of it was for us to make our lives easier and cut costs?
How many people have bloodied their finger pushing zero on their phone before? Let me talk to somebody, please. I just had an experience with Experian trying to unfreeze my credit report, and I tried everything I could through that IVR. I could not get a person on the phone. Very frustrating. Here's where things are turning, and they're turning bad and they're becoming commonplace for us to look at the customer base or how we deliver our products and services and say, "We can save money by doing this. Make the customer go through this."
Oh, yeah, we'll map it out. There'll be convenience. They can do all kinds of things on their own. They can self-serve. In reality, I don't know that there's anybody out here that really enjoys using an IVR. Are our interests aligned towards the success of our customers or the success of the bank? Does your board represent your customers? I really doubt it. Unless you have a very unusual board makeup, probably not.
Have we moved away from the customer? Does our profit model align with customer success, or does it only align with maximizing our ROI? That's what we're going to talk about today is how do we refocus and create a value proposition. Bad news, here's where I get to insult all of us collectively. We're not Jimmy Stewart. This isn't a wonderful life. People aren't waiting anymore for the banker to speak and to hear. Look at the crowd and look at the looks on their faces as Jimmy Stewart's talking. There's reverence.
We aren't Jimmy Stewart. If you're in commercial lending, have you ever had the experience where you walk into a customer's shop and you're doing a tour … This happened to me. We're in the middle of the tour and I'm lagging behind. The senior officer was ahead with the owner, and I'm just making small talk with somebody in the shop. He says, "Things are going well. Y'all are doing great." He says, "It's just a miserable day because I had to wear a damn tie because the bankers are here." There was a light bulb moment for me. It was like, "This guy hates us," and I could tell by the look of his tie because it was quite an ugly tie and I think it was a middle finger statement that I'm going to put this tie on. I'll show you.
We think that customers revere us, hold it in respect. They need us. They need the things that we provide in terms of loans and stuff, and that carries the day, so they're going to do things they don't necessarily want to do like put on a tie to keep us happy. Well, we need to switch that. We need to switch that mindset. Hero time is gone. Pull yourself together. You got to start looking at things in a different way.
You've probably all seen these surveys where we are held in lower regard than the cable companies, right? That's quite an achievement that we've accomplished as an industry. I'll tell you that that's kind of bad. I don't think it's just because of the recession. I don't think it's just because of the well-publicized missteps of Wells Fargo. I think there's something more fundamental happening there, and that is they feel that with aren't focused on them anymore or haven't been for a long time.
Let's take a look at our revenue model. Here's just a bunch of random, not so random, I guess, but a bunch of revenue items that we all have on our income statement. How many of those do you think that the customer's excited about? Look at the maintenance fee. Do you charge $10, $25 a month to keep a checking account at your bank? How does a customer really feel about that? Oh, boy, I'm really glad the bank kept my money safe for another month and gave me access to cash through ATMs and let me write checks off my account. They let me pay for things with a debit card. They probably don't feel that way about paying the $10, $25 fee.
How much of your bank's revenue comes from this sort of income? Virtually all of it. I will tell you that every bit of this is under attack. It is all under attack. There is not a line item on there that fintechs and alternative sources of service aren't going after. The real juicy ones for them where they're starting is the penalty fee ones. They're doing things without those penalty fees attached to them. That's pretty low hanging fruit.
Customers have been trained to accept what we throw at them, products. We will probably forever talk about what we do as products. I'm not sure I feel they're products. I feel like they're services. I can kind of remember in the early '90s working for a large bank, and we started referencing what we did products, and it just seemed weird to me, but it's not like you can hold it. You can't put it in your hand, but we push products.
It's weird because they accept that and they're trained to do that, and so generally speaking, it's a safe place for us. Have you ever seen the surveys that say what are the factors you want to choose and choose in a new bank. Invariably, you'll have branch location in the top three. Then there's studies done after that, so branch location is important to me, and then the next 12 months, you know how many times on average people go into a branch? Depending on their demographics, anywhere from once to 10.
How could it really be the most important thing? Our marketing and history have told our customers that branch location's important, and so they believe it's important. Their behaviors will tell you something else. Who really wants to put on clothes and drive down to the branch to do anything? If you could do it another way, wouldn't you choose an easier way?
Anne Boden's the CEO of Starling Bank, and she said, "Customers have changed, but banks haven't noticed." Starling Bank's a challenger bank in the UK, and the UK challenger bank situation, you should study if you don't anything about it, but there's … Lita can maybe fill in in her talk later this morning. There's 50 plus, I lost count of how many, startup digital banks that are attacking that revenue stream that we showed earlier.
It's time for us to start taking action to take care of the customer. Enough about talking about our problems. That was kind of a downer. These are all the things that we do wrong, but it's just a wake up call. Let's talk about the possibilities. We like to focus on the tech stack. There's infographics just all over the internet, and you run across these things. I don't know about you, but when I see these, I'm like, "Oh, my gosh. That's overwhelming." We're a small bank. It's like, "How do we compete with all that? What do we do? Where do we start?"
I'll tell you that tech is part of a tool for the solution, but it's not the solution. It starts with the customer. The tsunami of change is coming after us. My graphic kind of covers. There's a surfer in this wave and surfing this enormous wave, so there's all this change coming. The fintechs are surfing it. The one thing you don't want to be is I don't know that I want to be standing on the shore there. You see those people standing there with that big wave? This doesn't look like it's going to end well. I don't know if it did or not.
Standing still is not an option, but what is an option is to begin and end with a value proposition. It's not your current product set, and I want you to trust me on this. Your current product set is not what they really are looking for, so how do you figure out what they want? Well, you don't want to be all things to everybody. Well, I guess if you're Chase, Wells, you could, Bank of America, but you got to look at what drives value.
Rory did a great job yesterday of setting the stage for me today because he talked about perception, about context, and I'm showing a couple of people this. In the inside of my jacket, I have embroidered context is everything, and I have this in all the jackets I own, and I really believe it's really important because the value is in perception. Expectations, experiences, ease of use, speed, transparency, certainty, these are value creators.
Let's talk about the expectation. Remember I set the bar really low for this presentation early on, so it should be easy for me to come above that bar and exceed that. Expectations and happiness have indirect correlation, so if I have low expectations, it doesn't take much to make me happy. You just have to get above that bar. If I set high expectations like I probably have for Lita following me, because I've already said she's a great speaker, I'm not, then I've set the bar high for Lita. Sorry about that.
Is the real key to happiness low expectations, or is it somebody closing the gap for me? A lot of movie fans, we've got a couple people at our bank that are passionate about movies and Star Wars. As you noted from my last slide, I'm more of a Star Trek kind of guy, and yesterday was more Star Trek than Star Wars, so Star Trek's winning out at this conference anyway. If you go to see a Star Wars movie, your expectations are high. It just blows my mind. A Star Wars movie comes out and it's just social media is ripping it to shreds, and you're ripping yourself off if you go in with high expectations. There's not much chance. I've only got a slight chance you're really going to be pleased with the outcome.
Low expectations, you go in, you're please every time, but the key is every once in a while a Star Wars movie will exceed the high expectations, and there's value, and that's what keeps the franchise valuable. That's what we have to do. We have to same attitude towards it.
Here's a value chain. You've probably all heard about the experience economy. It's in the press a lot, in media a lot. Again, experience is a value creator. Where do you want to compete? As an industry, we compete down their in the bottom, commodity and pricing. We have to create experiences that people are willing to pay for. One of those ways is ease of use. Ease of use is something is table stakes today, making it easier for your customer to do business with you.
If you think about the CFO of one of your companies and if you gave them a mobile app and they could log in, and then they could just click a button, decide whether they wanted to go their personal accounts or their business accounts, and then from there in the business accounts. They could permission people to see reports. They could turn spending cards on and off. They could change limits. They can see their dashboard. They can click an edit button and move it all around and put the things that are important to them a the top, and then the CFO gets a competing offer from another bank and they've been using this service for a while and it's like really easy to use, now somebody's going to have to really undercut price to give up that ease of use for the CFO. That's the theory anyway.
I believe it holds true. We're seeing it on the consumer side in huge ways. Speed, more table takes, and I don't think I have to cover speed. Everybody knows people like things faster. When you talk about value for customers, there is an interesting thing I do want to point out in terms of value creation and service. I read recently there was a grocery store chain, a large one in the UK, I believe, somewhere in Europe, and they instituted a slow lane at the grocery stores. You're like, "What? Now who wants to stand in the slow lane?"
Well, they did customer research, got down to the customer level, and they found that there were a number of customers, a larger cohort than you would expect, who have a lot of time on their hands, they go to the grocery store, they don't want to be rushed, and if they want to write a check as they check out, they don't want people breathing down their neck behind. They want to take their time. They want to talk to the cashier, and so the establish a slow lane and it worked. It took off. The customers loved it, so speed is important. It's usually the winner, but understanding what your customers wants is more important.
Transparency. Everybody loves transparency. Do your customers know where they stand with you? I've learned a valuable lesson when I was a young lender, and we had gotten a … We were using Excel to do spreadsheets, so I finally didn't have to use pencil and a calculator anymore, and we were on a call and I turned around and I showed the printout to a CFO. I was trying to solicit their business, and I had convinced them to give me financials and I sat down and I said, "Look, this is what we see. Here's the ratios, and this is what it looks like."
That CFO had never seen anything like that and he was really appreciative, and we ended up winning the business. We have a lot of information as bankers that we get about the health of our customers that we don't share with them. Don't you think they'd like to know how we view of them? What is our opinion of their financial health? What are their strengths and weaknesses, and can we help them take care of their weaknesses and leverage their strengths?
Certainty. We all want certainty. If you could give a customer more insights into what levels of money that you think they can borrow, what rates, if you look at Andi in PrecisionLender, and you can use that slider and customize and, as you're talking to the customer, figure out, well, rate's important to me but I really am concerned about amortizing this out longer. You have that conversation and all of a sudden, you're giving them some confidence about what they can do next and what steps they can take next. It's important to focus on that.
Why is perceived value so important? Rory did a good job of explained it yesterday, so I don't have to go too deeply into this, but it's really not about the value that you can calculate on your spreadsheet. Perceived value is something different than what those number will tell you, because if the CFO, your customer, calculates your cost and compares it to a competing proposal, there's dollars and cents there, but do you think that's the end of the discussion? There are some CFOs, yes, that's the end of the discussion, but in most cases, a whole bunch of other factors start coming into play.
They might talk to their staff and say, "How easy is it to do business with this bank? Do you like it? Where is the value?" Is there value in the fact that they give me pre-approved commitments regularly and I always know where I stand and what I can borrow. Is their treasury functions more seamless and transparent and easier to use? It's really key. Let's take a look at the current ecosystem.
Now, here is an interesting thing. If you look at the top … Well, I can't see the screen, so it's, yeah, the tops of some tech mobile wallets. The next line in is the banks. The most interesting is those last two lines. These are mobile wallets where people carry money and transact business. It's kind of staggering when you think about it. If you've maintained your customer levels static or maybe you've grown them if you're fortunate enough, and they used to keep $5000 on average in deposit with you as a consumer, and all of a sudden now, they've got money sitting in all these different apps to go to Burger King of all places, and your balances went down, that's a threat. That trend's going to continue.
Now what is happening down there in the bottom? They don't put money in a wallet just because it's cool. These retailers have done something to create some value proposition, so loyalty points, discounts, all kinds of things like that. What has the retailer done? They just robbed deposits, but they also robbed interchange revenue from us, because now they can have somebody pay with the wallet and they don't have to pay banks interchange fees. Pretty brilliant, right? Well, that's a threat for us. That's the landscape we're operating in.
Eventually, I think there's an idea of who's going to need a checking account. I'm not sure that it's going to be a big player in transacting business in the future. The threat is bigger than you think, and it's coming from unexpected places, from Burger King, from Chick-fil-A, Starbucks. I love this graphic. I was going to put Sharknado in there, but I still can't buy off on that whole thing, so a great white coming out of the lake in the mountains seems even more palatable to me.
The problem we have today, though, is we tend to focus on the size of the gap. We say, "This is a big chasm. Where do I start? You know what? I'm doing okay. I'm just going to sit still." It's like those bystanders with the tsunami coming and the big wave. What I'll tell you, and what we're going to pivot to here is don't focus on the gap. That doesn't matter. It really doesn't. You've got focus on your customer. After all, not that many customers actually change banks in any given bank. They're with you right now for some reason, and so let's pay homage to that. Let's go to the customer, figure out what they value in us, what they don't value in us, and let's start working on that stuff.
Where we do start? Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others pivot from what you value to what your customer values, and better is the only goal you need. Put your own oxygen mask on first. To me, this references our staff and our employees. Help make their lives easier. I don't know if any of you know. You would have to do this intensive time work study at your bank to figure out how much time your entire staff spends on internal processes versus actually accomplishing something for the customer.
I have no idea what that number might be, but it's probably depressing. Maybe 80% of our staff's time is spent on processes and paperwork and all these other things. The first thing you can do is free their time up to pay more attention to the customer. Plus, it's more efficient for you, so do an honest assessment. Start working with making your staff's lives easier. Don't build for what you value. Here's a sidewalk that was built for some planning. Some planner decided this is where the sidewalk would be. Nobody really studied the path that the users would most likely take, and we've all seen these. They're all over the place, so pivot from what you value, what you want to do, to what your customer values.
You've got to dig deep to uncover what customer value is. Then imagine better customer empathy. Better is actually good enough. Customers have empathy. Unless you're banking a bunch of psychopaths, and I would tell you that I don't think that's a really good business model, customers perceive when you're working for their benefit and their behalf. They feel when you're doing things, even the small things. They may not consciously, but they do subconsciously understand that, hey, the bank has been doing little things to make my life easier.
Better is good enough. You don't have to cross the Grand Canyon. You just have to start going. I'm going to put up the cover of this book because I'm sure a lot of you have read it. There's a lot of rabid fans of Clayton Christensen, and so I'll tell you to get me off the hook of trying to do a deep dive explanation of it, read the book. It's really good, but let's talk about a couple of high level concepts that come out of this book.
First of all, if you focus on your competition, you've already lost. We are tempted very much to look at the rest of the industry and figure out what they're doing and then mirror it. Oh, they just added the feature to their app. We better get it. Well, are you sure the customer wants it? The customer's needs or desires aren't the same as what your competition's doing. The milkshake story. If you haven't followed Clayton Christensen, this is what I think is one of the good examples of the theory.
A fast food chain sells milkshakes. They want to sell more milkshakes, so they decide, "You know what's going to drive more sales? Let's have better ingredients," so they put in high quality creams, milks, and flavors, and the best sugars and everything else, and they really improve the quality of their milkshakes. Sales don't change. They move price down, sales don't change. Move them up, sales don't change.
They go to the customer and they start investigating what the customer needs and wants. Well, the jobs-to-be-done theory tells you that you got to understand what is happening, what does the customer trying to accomplish? When you go to get a milkshake, what are you going to get a milkshake for? You need to ask the right questions, and what they found out was at breakfast time, customers are getting a milkshake to be able to drive on their commute and have something filling that would last the length of their drive. Generally speaking, that was the solution.
What's also important is what they didn't use a milkshake or what the alternative was. If not, they would get a breakfast sandwich and as they're driving, they're fumbling with the breakfast sandwich. The ingredients are falling out on their dress and their pants. It's just a mess to deal with. What about snack bars? Crumbs, everything else. The milkshake was kind of perfect, and a thick milkshake lasted longer and was more satisfying. The other great thing about a milkshake is you didn't get hungry in the middle of the morning.
Second thing, milkshake sales were high in the afternoon after school time, so parents were rewarding their children with milkshake for being good during the day or achieving something. What they found out is that they had two different customers. In the morning, they could make the milkshake thicker, use good quality ingredients, and they could promote it and they could increase sales. In the afternoon, they serve a smaller size, not as thick because the parents really don't want to sit there while their kids drink a milkshake. They want to get it and go and have that reward and have it simple, so they solved the problem by understanding the job that they were hiring the milkshake to do.
Progress is important in this. What progress in a job are they trying to accomplish? Read the book. Go deep dive into this because it's a great tool for you to really begin to understand what your customer's doing. Also, as in the milkshake analogy, you have to understand what the customers aren't telling you. If you send out a survey, you'd be tempted to ask, "What would make a milkshake better for you?" Oh, better ingredients. I want better ingredients in my milkshake. I want it to taste better. Oh, I like these kind of sprinkles and stuff.
Surveys can be very misleading. You really got to hunt hard to understand exactly what they're trying to get out of the product. Another thought that I want to pass on is in order to serve the customer better, decision-makers are choke points, and most banks … If you're not a CEO or president, I will tell you that 80% of CEOs of corporations are narcissists. That study, 80 or 90. I don't remember the exact number. The good news is if you aspire to be a CEO and you're a narcissist, you've got a lot of opportunity ahead of you.
The bad news is narcissists tend to make all the decisions. They centralize power. When that power is centralized, it becomes the choke point. How do you get decisions made? How do you take action for the customer? You really need to empower your staff. You need to make this a culture thing. It has to be throughout the entire bank. The people down in the front lines are the people who can actually make change happen.
Practice thoughtful design. Obviously the person that designed this is not a bike rider. That's not going to end well. My younger brother, one of my younger brothers, he was dating this girl and he was just about to break up with her, and yep, she hit one of those grates and tumbled and broke both of her elbows. She had both full-arm casts and he had to take care of her for a long time, so he didn't break up with her just then. He was kind of a nice guy that way. Whoever put those things, those kind of grates, near the curb, that's bad, bad design.
Again, survey results will mislead you, and so don't push out things based on a survey. You have to do the hard work. You have to get in there and work on personalization. What is the most personal thing that a person owns today, personalized? It's their cellphone, their mobile phone. Understanding how they use it in day-to-day interactions is critical, and that includes consumers, CFOs, controllers, anybody in that value chain.
It used to be a little logo on a shirt or the Nike shoes you wore, so you've got to really get into how is this design now in this new paradigm working for our customers? What can we do and what do we have to do to understand it and do better? TAB's infrastructure. What we did in our digital journey is we built an infrastructure for this. Project management didn't exist five years ago at our bank. Now your big banks, if you're at a big bank, you have all of this. You have project management and creativity and all of these things. You've got teams that'll come swoop in once or twice a year and get you engaged and work on this stuff.
You need to build an infrastructure to make these things happen, and so the first thing we did was built a project management office. We didn't have one, all right? What would happen is we would have capacity to do about two or three projects a year that weren't well thought out, weren't designed very well, didn't bring in a lot of people to get a lot of staff to get feedback, didn't engage in focus groups with the customer, didn't have customer journey maps, didn't understand any of the stuff, but we said, "Oh, the competition has this. We need this."
We could do about two or three major things in a year. That's not very impressive. First year after we established the project management office, we were doing 18 projects simultaneously. We were digging down in and bringing in all the constituencies that would be touched by it. We were talking to customers, and all of a sudden, we're effecting change at a more rapid pace. That was the beginning of our infrastructure. The next thing we found is that building something cool or implementing a service provider's, a vendor's solution is all great, but the real key is adoption and use, execution.
The next thing we built, we used the Franklin Covey 4 Disciplines of Execution model, brought them in. They set up. It's got website and all kinds of tracking, etc., but it's a cadence of action that you built within that system to execute on things, and so we established wildly important goals. We do lead measures and lag measures. The lead measures are the small things that teams need to do and report in every week what they accomplished.
Very automated system, but every week, you establish new lead measures and lead goals, and then you report on your status on them in the next week, small steps. What this does is it takes people out of the whirlwind of their daily activities. Who has a to-do list that has items on it that's been on there for eternity that just sit there? The whirlwind of daily activity pulls us every single day, so how do you accomplish something outside of that whirlwind. You have to be purposeful. You got to form teams. You got to give them goals. You got to break it down into small pieces and have them report that accountability.
We use the 4DX system. The teams together and do their own weekly updates. It rolls into a big dashboard, and every week, a couple of the executive team members get to look at the dashboard, see the heat map and understand where we are in executing the solutions for the customers.
The last part that we implemented was the creativity part of the ideation. JP Nicols, a lot of you probably know JP. He teaches at a lot of the banking schools. Their firm, FinTech Forge has a FIRE system. It's called Fast Iterative Responsive Experiments. We implemented that and JP coined the term Innovation Operating System for Teams. What it does is it really takes the agile method of technology development and brings it into our world, and so we get small teams that interface with customers together, lots of Post-it notes. Everybody starts spewing out ideas, putting them up on a board. We categorize them. We look at them. We pick the ones that are going to meet our objectives for the day, set up teams, and they start hypothesizing about solutions.
Then you hypothesize a solution and then you take it and you test it, and you see does it really work. Does the consumer want it? In our world, we service … About 50, 60% of our customers are transportation companies, so truck drivers and large trucking companies. One of the hypothesis we came up with was that our corporate customers were having difficulty paying their drivers because 30%, and this number actually blew my mind, one of our staff members knew that 30% of truck drivers do not have checking accounts, so if we could give them checking accounts, then paying those drivers on the road for our customers should be a good thing. It should make their life simpler, cheaper, less expensive, etc.
That's the hypothesis, then we went out and we talked to our customers, and sure enough, it was true. 30% of their drivers didn't have checking accounts and they were having to load on to prepaid cards and do all kinds of machinations to get them their money. We have an avenue now to bring checking accounts to our corporate customer or bring checking accounts to their drivers and solve a problem for our corporate customer, so we solved the customer's probably, or we're solving. We haven't solved it yet.
We did it by really analyzing what was going on at the deep level, and who knew that? Who knew it in our shop? Somebody several layers down. We're a small office, but I mean several layers down from where I sit. I had no clue. I don't think any of the rest of the executive team had a clue about this, so opportunity exists between the relationship between your customers and your employees, between the relationship between the data in your customer's accounts and the analytics on it, and you got to dig deep. You got to dig hard.
The great thing about a process that we put in place or an improvement process like this is that full engagement is a work of art. We've got 235 employees, and we got big chunks of our staff engaged in different things at any given point in time, and they rotate in and out or they may be in a different place a few months from now than what they're working on right now. They might be in production teams right now. They might go into ideation in a couple of months, but the staff starts to feel like they're part of the solution. We have an organized mechanism to meet the customer where they need us, where they want us, and so it's effective and it's really a beautiful thing.
Three takeaways. You're not Jimmy Stewart, sorry, but you are still loved. Not many customers are actively switching today, but what is happening is the customer transactions, the customer balances, and other services are bleeding the value that we have that we offer with our current product set away, and if the only thing we have to compete on is price, we're going to lose.
Ease of use, speed, consistency, transparency, these are fundamental things that you've got to bring to the table for your customer base. Build an internal infrastructure for change. This isn't necessarily change management, but it's really finding mechanisms that work for you. 4DX and the FIRE process from FinTech Forge work for us. It's not going to work for probably most people in this organization, I mean this in this room, so you've got to find your own ways to piece it together, but you need an infrastructure to deal with these problems.