An Insider’s View on Managing Change for Digital-Everywhere Success

PYMNTS talks with Barb Jacklin, senior vice president and head of retail product and digital customer experience at Wintrust Financial Corporation, about the difference customer and employee feedback can make as FIs look to deliver digital-everywhere experiences.

Consumers expect access to banking wherever they are, yet 37% want to retain access to physical branches, says Barb Jacklin, Wintrust senior vice president, head of retail product and digital customer experience — which means delivering a digital-everywhere experience without losing the human touch.

Download the March 2023 PYMNTS and NCR "Digital-First Banking Tracker: Banking's Evolution From Digital-Plus-Physical to Digital-Everywhere" to learn more about how the banking industry is evolving from digital-plus-physical to digital-everywhere while still offering the human touch of in-person banking.

PYMNTS talks with Barb Jacklin, senior vice president and head of retail product and digital customer experience at Wintrust Financial Corporation, about the difference customer and employee feedback can make as financial institutions look to deliver digital-everywhere experiences.

As Barb Jacklin glanced at her TV screen following a tumultuous week that saw two well-known banks collapse, events were evolving by the minute.

“As I’m watching CNBC, the news is changing,” Jacklin said in a recent interview with PYMNTS.

After exclusively focusing on digital customer service for five years before settling into her current role, Jacklin now has a wide range of responsibilities that touch the entire customer journey — from Wintrust’s account onboarding tool to a new teller system to ATM cash recyclers. Jacklin said the recent industry headlines have served as a reminder of how the human touch remains an essential element of customer service.

PYMNTS talks with Barb Jacklin, senior vice president and head of retail product and digital customer experience at Wintrust Financial Corporation, about the difference customer and employee feedback can make as FIs look to deliver digital-everywhere experiences.“This week is a perfect example of why a physical footprint is so important because there’s an opportunity for a customer to come into a branch and speak to someone in person,” she said. “Right now there’s a lot of confusion as to what’s happening in our industry and how it could impact customers.”

Jacklin, who celebrated her 16th year with Wintrust the week prior, has had a front-row seat for many changes across the banking industry in recent years. Wintrust’s growth has been driven largely by acquisitions, and it operates 15 banks separately, each of which runs on its own core bank platform. When Wintrust looks to add digital features, it must choose technology that can be reliably implemented across its banks’ different platforms and branches.

Last year, Jacklin led the rollout of a new digital banking platform, orchestrated by the NCR D3 digital banking solution, which has reduced friction across its footprint of 180 locations. NCR’s technology enabled Wintrust to go from 15 separate apps to a single app for all its different banks’ customers. This shift created efficiencies and eliminated customer confusion, directly addressing client feedback and driving major customer satisfaction gains.

“Listening [to the] the voice of the customer in our contact center through customer surveys [was key]. … Those voices became very loud to us and validated the path that we were already on toward consolidating digital banking for consumers,” Jacklin explained.

Creating structure was so important to Wintrust that it elevated one of its project managers to become certified in “change management” to guide transformation going forward.

Wintrust has learned to prioritize listening and change management for both internal employees and customers. The organization initiated this process 18 months before its recent digital transformation by pulling in leaders from impacted teams for monthly project status updates. Wintrust also involved the contact center ahead of time, establishing operational readiness across the organization that sniffed out potential customer issues in time to avoid them altogether.

For example, Wintrust realized the existing number of full-time employees at its contact center would not be adequate to support its digital shift. For the first time, the company considered outsourcing, a customer support option that Jacklin said might not have come to light without the operational-readiness dialogues.

Jacklin also cited Wintrust’s marketing team as driving consistent messaging for both internal and external audiences as part of the overall education that is increasingly vital — and well-suited — to digital banking.

Another change Wintrust navigated was an account onboarding feature that enables a joint bank account to be opened even if one of the applicants is not present. The legacy solution would be for both applicants to return at another time to sign, but the banker can now complete the request without the customer having to be there by sending a digital application to the customer who is not present.

Looking forward, Wintrust is developing a plan for remote video tellers that consists of a physical-digital hybrid tool that could function as a regular ATM. The company is starting with a proof of concept to determine how many machines should be in which communities, and then specifically where in each community. As Wintrust looks to build partnerships, it could team with a community center to better serve underbanked populations.

“Digital-everywhere is incredibly important in challenging times,” Jacklin said. “I think most of the tools we have [implemented] or are in the process of [implementing] are meeting that need.”