- Insider Intelligence spoke with Michelle Moore, head of consumer digital at Wells Fargo, to better understand how heads of digital define their roles and their place in the organization.
- This Q&A is an excerpt from one of 15 interviews we conducted for our new report, The Banking Heads of Digital Report: 15 Leaders on Priorities, Challenges, and Opportunities.
- Do you work in the Financial Services industry? Get business insights on the latest tech innovations, market trends, and your competitors with data-driven research.
When Insider Intelligence asked Michelle Moore, head of consumer digital at Wells Fargo, how she gets new ideas for enhancing the digital financial experience, she talked about looking at customers’ daily lives and the other digital interactions they’re having.
But she also admitted to checking up on app store feedback that users leave about whether a banking app has lived up to their expectations.
“Feedback like that is a gift,” she said. “It’s unfiltered—and it’s free.”
Moore is one of the executives Insider Intelligence recently spoke with to better understand how heads of digital define their roles and their place in the organization, how trends are shaping their responsibilities, the greatest challenges they face with digital transformation, and the priorities they’ve set for the future.
Though digital started as a supplement to traditional branch banking, it’s now a game changer for customer relationships, permeating the organization through every line of business. And the banking head of digital is a linchpin to their organization’s success: Their status, agency, and impact are the highest they’ve ever been—and they’re still climbing.
The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Insider Intelligence (II) How do you define digital transformation in your organization? Some of your counterparts at other organizations have said they dislike the term.
Michelle Moore (MM): Everybody uses that term. I don’t necessarily have an allergic reaction to it, but I feel like it’s too generic. People say it, but then they don’t know what it means. When I hear people say “digital transformation,” I ask questions to get them to focus: “All right. I hear you saying the words, but let’s define it. We’ve got to get laser-focused on what we’re actually solving for and how we use technology to do that.”
II: Your purview is largely the digital customer experience. What does that mean to you?
MM: My job is head of consumer digital, which includes the digital customer experience. My job is to make sure when a customer logs into the digital platform—online banking or our mobile app—that they are delighted, it works, it’s personal, and it adds value for them.
II: In some of our interviews, we’ve found that banks had the role of chief client experience officer but merged it with chief digital officer, or else the two roles are very closely related. Could you tell me a little bit more about how your client experience role took you into digital?
MM: My job was bringing together all the lines of businesses and the channels and asking, “What does it feel like to be a customer and have the outside-in view? When you log into your mobile app, what does it feel like? Do you like it? Do you understand it? Can you find what you’re looking for? Is it appealing? Do you feel great about it?”
This role gave me a birds-eye view of customers and how it feels to be a customer, and it unleashed my passion for how we make the best experience for customers.
When it comes to digital, we have to get out of our day-to-day confines to really understand what the customers feel and how to make their lives easier. So even if I’m talking to my brothers or my friends, I ask them, “How did it feel when you used Zelle? What do you think of how it works when you check your balances? Do you understand it?”
II: If you were setting up a digital team or a digital group, what would the ideal team structure look like?
MM: I think the digital team has to have a strategy that looks not only at the immediate horizon—call it 18 months to two years—but also, where’s the puck headed?
And strategy requires not only paying attention to what’s going on in our own industry but also looking at how customers live their daily lives and what other interactions they’re having. How do you learn from industry-leading tech and social media players and all those most commonly used apps? What are customers’ expectations based on those interactions? And then, how do we translate that into digital within financial services?
This should be about having a strong partnership with the data team in an organization versus building your own: You also need analytics to understand the data. That data tells you what the trends are and what customers are doing. So I’d also put analytics and the client experience together.
On the digital team, you also need your basic product management skills. You need a payments team. You need a mobile team and also an artificial intelligence team. AI is influencing all kinds of experiences—Bank of America launched Erica, which uses artificial intelligence, in 2018.
You also need digital sales and servicing capabilities. A lot of customers are opening accounts in their mobile app or on a desktop, and that’s very different from walking into a branch. That said, the functionality of applications should be the same in both experiences.
That’s how I’d advise any financial services company to structure their digital team.
II: How does the digital team work with legal partners?
MM: You can’t wait until your development cycle is done to hand your work over to LRC [legal, regulatory, and compliance] and ask, “Can you quickly approve this?” You need to make them part of the process from the start. We bring our team leaders from legal and compliance to the table at the beginning.
II: When you’re looking for inspiration for a product or experience, where are you looking?
MM: I study the industry. I pay a lot of attention to fintechs because they move fast, they’re very clever and, like us, they’re super-focused on client experience. I pay attention to everything that’s going on around us, the trends in everyday life. I’m also reading app store feedback. Feedback like that is a gift. It’s unfiltered—and it’s free.
I also pay attention to my own experience as a customer. What apps do I use? If I use the Starbucks app, for instance, I might think, “How cool is it that I can start here and finish there? How can I take that concept into banking?” Or with ecommerce apps, seeing what happens at the push of a button, and thinking, “That’s great. How do I take that into banking?”