Customer insight – A Luxury or the Key to a Competitive Edge?

Watch our interview with Cassy Ramsey, Chief Operating Officer Alpha Card, at the Customer Experience Exchange for Financial Services, where she tells us all about customer experience, including customer insight, delivering a great customer journey and customer engagement.

Customer insight - a luxury or the key to a competitive edge?

I think in today's environment you have to be where your customers are, so customer insight is definitely something that's required and definitely not a luxury. In financial services especially, markets are changing, technology is changing, and, I think, the more we know where our customers want us to be, the more competitive advantage we'll have.

What role does customer insight play in delivering an exceptional customer journey at Alpha Card?

So we are a premium servicing company. We cater to a market that is quite demanding. And what we try to do is really deliver personalised service, go the extra mile. We have an ethos that's Whatever It Takes and our customers really appreciate that.

How is technology changing the way that you engage with customers?

This relates back, I think, to the first question that we talked about, which is: Be where your customers want you to be. It's challenging, I think, for most companies to actually stay on top of being out there and mobile; now it's mobile payments. We're already learning that internet banking is actually becoming old-fashioned. At Alpha Card, most of our investment this year is going to be in innovation and technology, so we can be there where our customers need us.

If you were going to give one piece of advice to a financial service in 2013, what would it be?

I'd say compliance and control. The regulators are going to continue to have no mercy with financial services, as they should be, and I think, probably, the key to success is ensuring that we are all, actually, aligned with those regulations. So, I think, it's a big area of focus for Alpha Card. And getting that right, it's one of the basics that will just lead to more and more success, I believe.

Who is your all-time hero and why?

Actually, one of my current heroes is Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox. She came from quite humble beginnings; she was an engineer. She's managed to keep Xerox very relevant in a changing world, which I think is an amazing thing.

But I think all-time hero would have to be Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express. I worked for Federal Express years ago, and a really basic company philosophy that I think works across all industries. They believed it's the People-Service-Profit model where if you take good care of your people, they will, in turn, actually deliver astounding service and the profit takes care of itself. And I think if you look at the way that company began, I think it was his project when he was at university in Yale and I don't think he even passed.

They thought, oh, you can't use aircraft to be transporting documents around; it won't be profitable. And he managed to build that into a massive company, but, also, it changed the face of logistics. He really invented the hub-and-spoke system. I think as a person, for me, he's a hero because he was offered, I think, the Secretary of Defence, was it, one of... Secretary of State. He didn't take the job because he wanted to be with his family. That says something about him as a person, as well, so, for me, he's an all-time hero.