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Well-known brand Bank of America serves approximately 67 million people and small business clients in the United States. Its services include wealth management, corporate and investment banking, and trading across a range of asset classes. It operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and over 35 countries.
To provide payment services to businesses, Bank of America has been a partner in a joint venture called Bank of America Merchant Services since 2009. It enables businesses to accept payments online and offers POS solutions, security, and payment processing to corporations, mid-sized companies, and small businesses. Recently, Loyalty360 sat down with the CEO of Bank of America Merchant Services Tim Tynan, to discuss customer loyalty, changing customers, and company culture.
“We are in the digital commerce industry,” Tynan said. “Many people would characterize it as payments plus, meaning more than just the transactions that flow for people to pay for goods and services but things that are adjacent to payments that help with loyalty and customer experience. Our business is a joint venture that is part of the Bank of America family. We process approximately one out of every five and a half transactions in the United States that are paid through a card product. We enjoy a client base with some of the largest companies on the planet with some of the most common brand names that we all know and love.”
When asked what changes he’d noticed in his industry, he said, “Our clients are experiencing dramatic change and that’s driven mainly by changing customer behaviors. Our clients’ customers have a different expectation of the experience and it’s leveraging technologies, like mobile applications on smart phones, but it’s also a different experience in their physical locations. If they’re a retailer, for example, or a restaurant, you often see a different way of presenting information, again often done through technology. Dramatic changes are taking place that we all see and experience, and our job is to improve our clients’ experience with their customers.”
He continued, “For example, a large oil-and-gas company which is a client of ours, has over 8,000 locations that use a mobile app, delivered through a smart phone, that you can use to pay at the pump. You can select the pump, select services, and begin the fueling process through your phone. We’re part of that solution. We provide the software that connects the commerce through the pump and your mobile app. We handle the payment piece of it, the authorization of the credit and the settlement of the transaction, and all that happens in seconds. What these kinds of things do is enhance the loyalty of customers to our clients. It’s more than just the payment. It changes how people live and interact with merchants.”
Tynan also believes that culture is extremely important for improving loyalty and customer experience. “Culture is maybe the most important role that I, as the CEO, assume for both our employees and our customers. It’s something that you continue to nurture in your business. It’s something that, at least in my seat, you’re never satisfied with building and enhancing.
“We try to focus on three areas of culture. One is growing our business responsibly. The second is focusing on our clients and being maniacal about our client experience. The third one is embracing teamwork and diversity so that we have the best thinking to bring ideas and innovation to our clients. If we do things like that from a culture perspective, it results in better solutions for our clients, again so that they can help their customers. You need to set your priorities by remembering that everybody has a client. You remember what is most important, which is that it’s about the experience. In my opinion, the market bears the truth of this.”
When asked what insights or information he would most like to have, Tynan replied, “Having the ability to put yourself in your clients’ customers’ shoes and to be able to think like them and then to be able to put yourself in the position of the client directly and think like they need to think to serve their customers. That’s the most important piece of information I’d like to have. Having a crystal ball isn’t the answer. It’s doing your homework, spending time talking to your clients, getting insight into what’s most important to them to grow their business. The more we can understand that, the more we can understand our investments of time and energy to help our clients. If we do that well, if we help them grow, then we’ll grow with them.”
He added, “If I did have a crystal ball, though, I’d ask my clients’ competitors, or our competitors, ‘What’s working for you?’ I’d ask their technology provider, ‘How can we best partner and connect to help our client?’ We’re always working towards being great, and good companies are learning companies..”
Ultimately, Tynan has one major piece of advice for other brands. “I think we need to be obsessed with the customer experience,” he said. “We need to be obsessed with what our clients care about and what their customers demand of them. We need to be able to take that information and data that comes from transactions and be maniacal about that information and put it into actions that our clients and our customers care about.”
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