home Executive Profiles Empowering customers through understanding – Interview with Janelle McQueen-Paice.

Empowering customers through understanding – Interview with Janelle McQueen-Paice.

In this interview with Mark Atterby, Editor of CXFocus, Janelle McQueen-Paice, Chief Experience Officer for Selfwealth, explains the principles of design thinking and how to apply them to empower customers.

Mark Atterby (MA): Can you please provide a background to your career and an explanation of your role at Selfwealth?

Janelle McQueen-Paice (JM): My career began at Westpac Banking, where I honed my skills in process improvement through Lean Six Sigma in call centers and mortgage originations. Transitioning to BT Financial Group, I thrived in wealth management. As a Senior Project Manager, I led product development projects and played a role in the BT & Asgard merger. Later, I moved into product ownership, spearheading the digital and CX transformation for Superannuation and Investments.

Committed to CX excellence, I took on the Head of Digital & CX role at MLC Life Insurance. There, I led the charge in transforming customer experience. Now, as the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Selfwealth, I’m thrilled to be part of a dynamic team.

This pivotal leadership role allows me to directly influence the company’s strategy and overall customer experience vision. I oversee seamless collaboration across design, product, client services, and operations functions, ensuring a unified and exceptional customer journey.

MA: What does customer experience success look like for you and Selfwealth in 2024?

JM: The Australian DIY (Do It Yourself) movement is growing across industries, fuelled by readily available digital information, user-generated content, and the ease of mobile apps. Just like choosing between a personal trainer or a fitness app, Australians now have a choice in managing their finances. Some prefer professional guidance, while others are eager to take the reins and invest directly. This trend towards self-directed investing is on the rise!

At Selfwealth, we’re passionate about empowering customers to build wealth on their own terms. We provide the tools and resources they need to succeed, including access to the right knowledge, information, and experiences at the right time. We leverage customer-centered design and data insights to create a collaborative experience, where we can anticipate and address the customer’s evolving needs.

MA: What are your biggest challenges and opportunities, and how do you plan to address them?

JM: At Selfwealth, we have a goldmine of customer feedback flowing in through online forums, product channels, and internal service channels. Our challenge – and opportunity – is to unlock the full potential of this data by synthesising and prioritising it. This allows us to deliver quick, incremental improvements that create real value for our customers in this competitive market.

As the first CXO at Selfwealth, I’m laying the groundwork for a continuous cycle of testing, learning, and delivering exceptional product, engineering, and service experiences. It’s a collaborative effort. Our team is transforming and centralising the vast amount of data and insights we possess, enabling us to deliver personalised and insightful experiences to each customer.

MA: Over your career, what has been the most important lesson you learned about customer experience and how did you learn it?

JM: Lucky to be part of the first customer-centered design teams in financial services around 2008, I witnessed the power of user research and testing firsthand, which encompassed the core principles of understanding customer needs, prototyping, and refining solutions iteratively. This approach, unlike the traditional top-down model, minimised risk and ensured solutions resonated with customers.

Years later, applying design thinking to a financial technology product revealed a critical gap. While valuable for advisors, consumers weren’t interested. However, we discovered a segment ready to invest but unaware of its application to superannuation. This insight informed our launch strategy, exceeding sales targets with minimal advertising. The experience solidified my belief: deep customer understanding, even if time-consuming, leads to solutions that truly connect.

MA: What do you think are the most important trends in CX & Digital Transformation?

JM: Diversity and inclusion remain critical areas for financial services. The ASX Investor Survey (2023) highlights this, with 42% of investors now being women. My experience shows the need for intentional design to build confidence among female investors. Women often prefer to learn and understand before diving in, requiring a more educational approach.

Artificial intelligence (AI) presents tremendous opportunities in the CX space. AI tools can expedite value delivery by automating the synthesis of information from multiple sources. Additionally, AI can unlock deeper behavioral insights from data, enabling us to personalize experiences even further.

MA: Finally, what advice do you offer others?

JM: Customer focus isn’t a fad – it’s the foundation of any thriving business. Developing products and services customers love creates loyalty and drives profitability.

While inspiration can be drawn from other industries and experts, cookie-cutter approaches don’t work. The true north star is understanding your unique customer base. Processes and frameworks are flexible; there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, focus on crafting a customer-centric approach tailored to your specific business and audience. This is the path to long-term success.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.