May Newsletter – An interview with Carole Layzell

Jo van Riemsdijk and Kate Baird are delighted to introduce our May edition of the CX Talent Ltd newsletter. We are very proud that the amazing Carole Layzell Managing Director & Head of Barclays Local South has agreed to share her thoughts and professional insight with us.

Carole is a highly experienced CX and Business Leader with a successful career spanning over 35 years at Barclays, Nationwide Building Society, Salesforce & Medallia. An experienced international keynote speaker, and has established herself as an expert in digital innovation.

She is currently Managing Director for Barclays UK Local South playing a pivotal role in creating the strategy to deliver exceptional colleague and customer experiences using technology to help inform our decisions and create market leading customer and colleague outcomes.

Carole has led teams across face to face banking, back office operations and customer experience centres of excellence and is well-versed in harnessing the potential of digital experiences within the ever-evolving omni-channel landscape.

You’re currently Managing Director – Head of Barclays Local South.  What does that entail?

My role entails leading an amazing team of colleagues who support our customers f2f in our branches, Locals (which are sites where we work with local councils and communities to offer in-person banking support, helping customers with their everyday finances in places such as town halls and libraries, Pods or Vans) and out in our communities.

This incorporates half of England and Wales and West, with c3000 colleagues. My team are passionate about helping and supporting their customers – and it’s been fantastic in the last 8 months to get out and visit many of our sites and communities to experience the work they have been doing.

You’ve had a really broad career, starting off at Barclays, then at Nationwide and then to some of the SaaS platforms before coming back to Barclays again. How has working at Salesforce and Medallia helped shape your understanding of CX programmes that is beneficial to you in your current role?

Gaining a detailed understanding of how technology can support in delivering great Customer experiences has been key.  Technology can be a really powerful tool to support and enhance what we do, however it is crucial to recognise that technology should complement rather than replace the human touch.  Working with different organisations has enabled me to see the rich diversity in how differing industries approach their CX, some of the commonalities that exist and some of the Market leading innovations and ideas that are shaping the future.

Can you tell us about some of the successes you’ve had in terms of your CX and EX initiatives at Barclays?

One of my career highlights has been leading the Digital Eagle programme across Barclays. The programme started off by developing the digital skills of a small group of colleagues, but when we saw the passion to help each other and to in turn help customers we decided to scale the programme to enable all colleagues to benefit across all our communities. This provided our colleagues with increased skills that they could use personally but also, and vitally, could also share with our customers to enable and improve their digital skills – whether that be linked to banking or in other elements of their lives.  I`m incredibly proud of the huge number of digital tea and teach events and code playgrounds we developed for children that we have provided to our customers and non-customers alike. Also, increasing digital skills helps protect our customers against fraud and scams, and is important that we continue to work together to protect against this.

As a people leader in Barclays what do you see as key to improving colleague experience for the colleagues that you lead/work with?

I believe the most important elements are to be open and transparent, and also to give colleagues the opportunity to share what they think isn’t working and then work really hard to fix this.  This might though sometimes say that we can`t fix / action something at that moment in time and the reasons why. It’s vital to create a culture of speaking out, taking action and accountability to leave the organisation in a better place than you found it.

I have always been passionate about supporting colleagues with their own development and connecting people so they can take ownership of what development looks like for them – whether that be developing in their current role or getting them ready for their future career aspirations.  LinkedIn have recently announced that Barclays are in the Top 10 of their 2024 awards which look at the ‘best companies to grow a career’ – which is great to see and something that makes me feel proud to work for Barclays.

What attributes do candidates need to be able to demonstrate to be a strong candidate to work within the CX/EX team for a financial institution like Barclays?

We would be looking for candidates that are passionate about both colleagues and customers and embrace the concept of wanting to help everyone to thrive. Doing the right thing in the right way is critical and to be driven by our values. Customer Experience is always on our mind to make sure we drive progress for our clients, customers, communities, and fellow colleagues.

How do you think financial services will continue to utilise AI in CX in the future?

We are proud to be a business where personal connection is still important. Our customers tell us that they want to feel as though we know them each, as individuals. The best CX companies are doing this well already – although usually on much simpler use cases than in the banking industry. Our challenge is to harness the power of AI to give our Customers the benefit of all their data to help make money work better for them.

For example, in Chat, there have been many companies who have deployed AI to replace humans and it hasn’t worked well for them. Our vision is to use that channel to enable customers to have conversations with real people – but we’d like to use the AI to give our teams the most helpful insights into how to serve each customer best.

We also want to learn more from our customers about how we can serve them better. Again, AI can take a traditional survey format and instead collect feedback in a really conversational way that picks up on what’s most important to our customers, and explores it in a very natural, conversation.

As a recognised thought leader in Customer Experience, how do you see the discipline evolving in 2024 and beyond?

To deliver great customer experiences you need to ensure you are continually listening to your customers and then act on that feedback. It’s taking that insight and using it to take or suggest the next best action as our customers will not always know what is the best way forward and will rely on our expertise to support them in this. The organisations that truly listens to their customers and takes relevant value add actions are the ones that will thrive in the future.

What advice do you wish you’d been given in your early career?

Buy technology shares!

On a serious note – What has stood me well during my career is that in whatever role you do, continue to walk in the shoes of your customer.  Get out there first hand and experience the process or journey as your customers do, understand where the pain points and friction exist and then be relentless in removing that friction.

Are there any sectors or companies you wish you’d worked in at any point in your career?

I have enjoyed all the companies I have worked in as I have learnt so much from each of them. What I have particularly loved is the opportunity to work with different industries, for example the automotive industry based on how they are using technology to engage their customers and exceed expectations to deliver the wow factor. The hospitality sector is another example.  They are great examples where they are looking to exceed customer expectations based on customers hopes and dreams – and that’s something that gives a really interesting insight to what the art of the possible is!

We’d like to thank Carole Layzell for her time and professional insight into the world of CX and are certain that our followers and network will have enjoyed reading this latest edition of the CX Talent Ltd newsletter.

Stay tuned for our next months’ guest – we have another real treat in store for you! The purpose of our newsletter is to bring you real world advice and insight into CX initiatives from a broad range of senior professionals working in the field and producing great results to help you further your career in this amazing discipline.

At CX Talent LtdJo van Riemsdijk and Kate Baird are proud to be connected with the brightest and best talent in Customer Experience, Customer Operations, Digital Experience and Service Design at all levels.

If you would like to discuss your recruitment requirements in this area and how we can add value in finding the right fit for your team. Please do get in touch as we’d love to hear from you!