5 minute read

Jo Brown, Digital Director of Customer Experience stopped for ten minutes to tell us about her role to amplify the voice of the customer and deliver a first-class customer experience.

Tell us about your current role at Lloyds Banking Group and your career history prior to joining this organisation.

I run a team of 200 fabulous and talented people who are all dedicated to improving customer experience in a variety of ways. The Customer Labs team focus on customer insight and testing and are the only touch point we have with actual physical customers. My Strategy and Planning team work with stakeholders and the Customer Insight team to produce a roadmap of change for the year focused on improvements in, and transformation to, the customer experience.  The Design Studio creates fantastic journeys and designs across a range of devices for our customers and colleagues and our Content Team manages tens of thousands of content changes every year across our many websites. And last but not least my Governance and Controls team keep our customers safe.

I became one of the first women to work in the ‘internet’ industry in the UK, setting up EMAP Consumer online back in 1995. I taught myself to code and write databases and use Photoshop. Ably assisted by an optical drive and a 28k modem, Car Magazine launched to the world that same year, swiftly followed by Empire, FHM, New Woman and many more.

I hopped my way round various high profile media companies including the Daily Express before landing the role of Head of Sky.com for Sky TV. This is really where my love for digital and passion for the customer took hold. I loved the speed of change, the excitement of bringing something new to the customer and the pressure of getting it right. I knew I never wanted to do anything else.

And so eventually to banking. I started at Barclays seven years ago where I created an editorial and design studio in the Digital Banking team, before heading up the Digital Propositions area. I had a little detour at Santander before beginning my Lloyds career in January 2015.

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What attracted you to a role at Lloyds Banking Group?

Lloyds Banking Group is the biggest retail bank in the UK and as such the opportunity to improve the experience for a huge chunk of the population was irresistible.

The Group is also a listening organisation and has a healthy attitude towards family and diversity. It rewards hard work through a transparent objectives process linked to remuneration.

I love our department because every day is different. We are in four locations (London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Halifax) and manage five different disciplines yet we all know one another and collaborate to produce the best results.

Why does your role and the work you do matter – to the organisation you work for, and the wider community in general? What attracted you to your field?

I love people and am fascinated by the idiosyncrasies in their behaviour. Understanding all of our differences and finding a design that works for everyone, regardless of age, gender and financial awareness, is a challenge that banks have a responsibility to deliver against. The choice for our customers in the way they do business is increasing across the board, and in a highly regulated industry our only point of difference is our customer experience.

Challenging the status quo for the benefit of the customer is the most important thing to my mind and the best thing for the sustainable growth of our business.

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How has Lloyds had to evolve in order to leverage the opportunities that digital technology creates?

Lloyds Banking Group has the advantage of scale. Digital disruptors have the advantage of being nimble. Lloyds Banking Group is having to evolve to
be an agile organisation, to break down its customer propositions and deliver projects in half the time it used to. It’s no longer enough to decide what’s best for the customer, and the Group is blazing a trail in delivering the right products to the right audience in the right channel for the future sustainability of our business.

Have there been any challenges that stood out in your current role that you’d never encountered before?

I’ve come from the media sector. If you don’t have true customer focus you die because customers have choice over their leisure time.

Financial services is highly regulated and so justifying every decision you make can have the opposite effect of the intended one.

What are your top three tips for people working in, or thinking about working in, FinTech?

  1. Think small
  2. Ask customers
  3. Look outside the sector for inspiration

Now, on a personal level, what causes outside work are you most passionate about, and why?

All causes are trying to shine a light on a particular issue which needs public attention and so, given the wide variety of causes, some resonate with me more than others. State school education and meeting the needs of children who are not conforming to middle-of-the-road expectations is something I am really passionate about. My son requires speech therapy and without the help he receives from a private practitioner he would really struggle to access the school curriculum. It makes my heart sad to see that this is not an uncommon problem and that most people in state education could not afford to help their own children in the same way.

Who are the top three people outside Lloyds Banking Group who inspire you, professionally or personally?

Dermot Dwyer. A stalwart of digital banking from Smile to Barclays to CoOp, Dermot is the most patient teacher of ‘difficult technical stuff’ to idiots like me. Why is that inspirational? Because when you share your understanding of how things work between the business and IT you have a great chance of making a difference

Malala Yousafzai. Her bravery is real and so is the enemy. She was prepared to die for what she believed in, not just for her but for the future of womankind in a part of the world where pay equality is as far-fetched a concept as living on Jupiter.

Stevie Wonder. A black, blind kid from Detroit becomes the most sensational singer of his generation. And he was in great company.

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