Helping Others, Meeting Customer Needs and Adapting to Changes
OUTdrive Episode 20 with Matt Boatright
In this episode of OUTdrive, Cliff visits with Matt Boatright, an experienced financial advisor who serves as Sedalia/Pettis County Market President for Wood & Huston Bank. Matt’s dedication to serving customers compliments his strong work ethic and focus on personal connections, leading to innovation and growth in his community.
Cliff and Matt visit about providing an exceptional customer experience, navigating COVID-19 in the financial and customer service industries, helping others and understanding and meeting customer needs, communicating through an individualized approach and more. Read more for some great insights from their conversation.
Understanding Your Audience
It is nearly impossible to provide a great customer experience if you don’t know what your customers value and what factors are driving their specific needs. Matt notes that as humans, we are all made with a desire for fellowship and connection. What is important to understand is that the ways customers prefer to make that connection vary based on their unique preferences. Each individual is different.
Matt shares a personal story about his mother and daughter as an example of knowing your audience, saying, “My mom is 83 years old, and she loves face to face interactions. She would come to town and make a deposit, but if her favorite teller may not be there, she might drive all the way home again, without transacting her business. She’s wanting that face to face connection.”
He continues, sharing the importance of technology for younger generations, saying, “My daughter is 24 and she is very tech savvy. She believes that banking should be delivered in all electronic formats and that is the way she banks. And this is just one family of three generations.”
While this example is specific to the banking industry, the challenge of delivering services and an exceptional customer experience to different demographics is shared by many. Matt explains the importance of keeping an open mind to overcome this challenge. He says, “We have to have our mind wide open. And I didn’t say that was always easy, but it is critically important because the way we reach people is different, and different people want to be reached in different ways.”
Understanding your audience and meeting their needs is only one piece of the puzzle. To provide an excellent customer experience, you must be involved in the process from beginning to end. It is more than a one-time transaction; it is proving that you care and you are here to help and here to stay.
Adapting to Changes
In addition to understanding your customer’s needs, you must also understand your market environment and be prepared to tackle challenges you experience head on. Like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many unique challenges for the Wood & Huston team.
Wood & Huston’s recent expansion into the Sedalia area has been positive for the banking center and for Sedalia. While expanding services to a new location during a pandemic is not ideal, Matt explains that his team has taken the opportunity to establish themselves as a trusted advisor to customers. He says, “ People are working in new circumstances and new arenas that they couldn’t even dream about or make a plan for. This has been an incredible time that has challenged us to be pioneering, and to be driven, and to be accountable to our customers to help them navigate these waters.”
He adds that the pandemic has led to a shift in how they conduct business, forcing the team outside its comfort zone. However, the heart of providing an excellent customer experience remains the same. He adds, “It has changed the way we deliver our service, but it hasn’t changed the need for the service. We are open for business; we have remained open this entire time. We’ve had to take precautions. We’ve had to offer services in different ways, and we’ve continued to do that. But this critical infrastructure of banking has to continue, because the critical infrastructure of business has to continue. Commerce is intertwined in everything that we do, and everything we can do to make that better is going to be good.”
Identify and Capitalize on New Opportunities
In order to grow, you have to realize that nothing is set in stone and continue to capitalize on new opportunities as they present themselves. He continues the conversation by discussing how Wood & Huston identified an opportunity for growth in the Sedalia market and capitalized on it.
He explains, “Sedalia has welcomed us with open arms, and I think we must be doing some of the right things because our community is telling us that we are. And honestly, no one would choose these circumstances, but again, this is our opportunity to learn something new, and to learn a better way to deliver our services and an excellent customer experience.”
The ability to recognize a new opportunity presented by (and sometimes disguised as) a challenge is a prime example of the mindset of those who live and breathe the rural American lifestyle. They value relationships and trust in others, and at the end of the day, it’s all about the people.
Matt sums it up perfectly when he says, “At the end of the day, we are building a new building that’s going to be a wonderful facility. It will be state of the art and it will meet our community’s needs in a growing market. But a bank is about relationships. It’s about people. It’s about investment in this community. And it’s our joy and privilege to be a new part of this growing community. It’s an honor to be here.”
Understanding your audience and recognizing the fact that it is an honor to do business with customers each and every day is the attitude that drives and delivers the best customer experience.
Hear more from Matt and Cliff on these topics and get more insight into the core values that drive rural America in this episode of OUTdrive. Check it out!