The Treasury Update Podcast by Strategic Treasurer

Episode 245

Superior Practices in Client Conversion

In this episode of the podcast, Craig Jeffery of Strategic Treasurer and Steve Traut, SVP of Sales at Superior Press, have a discussion on best practices in client conversion. Steve walks us through several client conversion case studies. Read more here.


Craig Jeffery, Strategic Treasurer

Craig - Headshot


Steve Traut, Superior Press

Steve Traut - Superior
The Treasury Recruitment Company
Episode Transcription - Episode #245 - Superior Practices in Client Conversion

Announcer  00:04

Welcome to the Treasury Update Podcast presented by Strategic Treasurer, your source for interesting treasury news, analysis, and insights in your car, at the gym, or wherever you decide to tune in.


Craig Jeffery  00:18

Welcome to the Treasury Update Podcast. This is Craig Jeffery, I am joined today by Steve Traut from Superior. Steve, welcome to the podcast.


Steve Traut  00:28

Yeah, thank you, Craig, for having me today.


Craig Jeffery  00:32

So today’s today’s topic is best practices in client conversion. What that refers to is, so many companies have services at banks and banks make significant updates to their, their program or their systems and they need to have a mass conversion of moving people along. And that’s something that Superior does. Steve, I want to ask you a little bit about your background in a bit. But today’s topic is really focused on some some of these best practices. And we’ll put some things in the show notes about Superior’s 10 Best Practices for a client change event. But I wanted to get into some of the case studies, we talked about some of these before, I wanted to hear that story, because I think we can learn really well from stories and some some good examples. The first one I wanted to talk about is this idea that conversions are a way of life, there was a large regional bank with 1000s of clients needing to go through a conversion to step up to a better, better situation. What were some of the dimensions and statistics of that situation? What was the scope?


Steve Traut  01:39

The scope was the bank, it’s a top 50 Bank, and they had 3000 clients commercial clients using an RDC application that was being upgraded. And they wanted to complete this within a three month period. And they didn’t have the internal resources to do that. And they were going from a dual site application into a single sign on application in which caused a number of changes to the customer experience and what they had to do to get to that new version of RDC software.


Craig Jeffery  02:20

So RDC stands for Remote Deposit Capture, this is where it’s taking physical checks running through. I think they call it a toaster. Is that right? Or a device that scans it?


Steve Traut  02:34

Yep. Those check scanners.


Craig Jeffery  02:36

Yeah, so these are physical devices, you got this large number of customers, and a fairly short window. So when you look at something like this, there’s physical devices that have to be shipped different setups that have to take place? Is the approach generally a Big Bang conversion everything at once? Is it a, you start with a pilot and then you do a rollout and a number of phases? Is it just a general phase out approach?


Steve Traut  03:00

Yeah, great question. We were lucky, I’ve seen it both ways. Big Bang, typically Big Bang, you know, they’re gonna flip the switch over a weekend and cut over that’s, I’ve seen that a lot more in in acquisition type m&a mode. Luckily, on a conversion like this, they had two platforms stood up. And we were able to migrate in waves, which is the best practice the way to do that. And we were fortunate on this program to be able to do that in waves and accomplish the goal that way.


Craig Jeffery  03:33

There’s never a situation where you you do a massive conversion, whether or not some challenges or issues that come up, is wanting to get say, what are some of the problems that were encountered? What happened? And then maybe how did either best practices or just approaches to solving those come about?


Steve Traut  03:51

Yeah, the challenges come up, as you know, A. do clients have do the end users, the ones actually using the application have access to a single sign on application? In this instance, of the RDC end user was going to a different website with a different login. And now the bank was converting them over to the main online banking page. And that meant those users had to get soft tokens hard tokens to even access the new platform. And so getting out those credentials, that how sudden that you had to be aware of that when we’re doing our our piece of walking a customer through the conversion, which included a driver uninstall and reinstall on their computer and getting them into the platform and walking them through first deposit. So they obviously needed access to the the online banking site.


Craig Jeffery  04:58

I’m assuming there’s a there’s a new RDC scanner, there’s a hard or soft token. And then so you’re, you’re, you’re making sure they get the first one through. So it’s walking him through it. So it’s not like a failure and then.


Steve Traut  05:11

Right, right walk them through. Now, in this case, the hardware that the end user was using, still was able to be used on the new platform on the upgraded platform. So we didn’t have to ship out new hardware in this, in most instances, because it was just one version of software that got upgraded to a new version, but it was the same application. So luckily, in that environment, the hardware still worked, but it required to go into you know, the end users computer and get to a directory and uninstall the driver, and then reinstall the driver. And that that was the technical piece that you had to make sure that the end user had admin rights for that matter, right. I mean, as you know, a lot of large corporates and in even at Superior, our, our users don’t have admin rights. So So you have that to deal with when scheduling the one on one appointments, or having your end users do a self upgrade?


Craig Jeffery  06:16

I have a question that just popped into my mind, you know, I want to talk about communication, like communicating, that’s one of the best practices that that you have on your list. If you send something out. And it’s like self serves the client supposed to do these 10 things and you send them a pretty list and it’s in a process, what percentage will actually do that versus the more detailed handholding they’re on this, they’re on the call and you’re stepping through it is it is it 10%, 20% who might do it?


Steve Traut  06:48

What we’re finding is about 30% of the clients will opt to a self upgrade. And now some of those 30%, about 10% of those get stuck halfway through. And then they ended up calling in for assistance in what we helping timeout communications in this in most of our conversion events. The bank is pushing out communications via their online banking portal, they’re sending out a notice via snail mail or email, we propose that they get their RMs involved their sales team, to just, you know, make sure clients know that there’s going to be an outreach, and they need to take action. So you talked about communications going all the way through the bank from customer service, tech support, and the relationship managers with that coupled with the outbound email sequencing that we do that we provide, with call to actions to the end users, they could either you know, go to a webpage and watch a video and you know, the instructions to do their upgrades or they get book an appointment a one on one, similar to like an Open Table reservation system where you pick your date and time that you want to go to dinner, same thing in our application is you know that the end user is able to book their one on one appointment, then we completed at that point.


Craig Jeffery  08:25

Right, for a time that works for them. Now, if you have, like 3300 companies making these changes, two questions come from that. One is you’re asking for admin rights. And I think with the growth of fraud, and concerns, are people really are they more leery now than they used to be when someone says, Hey, we’re doing this update for the bank? How much of a concern is that now? And does communication reduce that? How has that changed over time?


Steve Traut  08:54

Yeah, I mean, definitely, we all know, and we hear you can’t click on links anymore, right? I mean, that’s, that’s a don’t, if you don’t know it’s coming, don’t click on it, we preach it, the banks preach it. So that’s why communication is super important to the whole process. I mean, then that’s why it’s got to be from the bank, from the relationship manager, they, you know, the client needs to know that there is going to be an event, there’s gonna be you an email come in, go ahead. And if it’s a white label, look for, you know, look for that from the bank. If it’s a strategic partner, then let the end user know that so they know that it’s a legitimate request call to action, you have to do an outbound support effort. So typically, we found in our model is we push out, you know, we get the tranche of data from the bank, we push out communications, a third of those clients will just go ahead and book their appointments for conversion. And then we got to get on the phone and do an outbound outreach. Like hey, did you get a communication, we’re wanting to make sure you book your appointment. So, so you have that typical bell curve, right, where you get some in the front, the early adaptors, and you they have the majority that need a nudge, after, you know, a while then the other stragglers at the end that whatever you do, they just don’t respond. And that’s where that’s where we ask for the relationship managers to get involved. We find some customers, you know, they just opt out or, you know, maybe they’re just leaving the bank, or those are the ones that just never engage, and then, you know, the bank has to get involved.


Craig Jeffery  10:34

So Steve, the if the goal was 3300, in three months, did you get over 75% in three months? What was the How did how did that end up playing out in that timeframe,


Steve Traut  10:47

we probably handled 80%. And then there is, the bank ended up handing handling the remaining 20%.


Craig Jeffery  10:58

I want to ask a little bit about your background, but in for those that are listening, you know, if you’re a banker, and you’re in charge of handling these types of conversions, I’m sure this is really right up your alley. And if you’re, you know, your corporate treasury, or AP or AR person, maybe maybe you haven’t made it this far, because you’re thinking what, why is this treasure of a podcast? You know, I find it interesting when you think about the operations that go behind, continuing to expand and grow and develop the tools that a bank offers, and making sure that their, their clients can take advantage of that. And there’s, there’s a little bit of the, you know, making the relish or making the sausage that has to go into moving people forward on to these, these new platforms. So thanks for that. Thanks for that story, Steve, maybe you could tell us a little bit about who Superior is in what’s your role at Superior,


Steve Traut  11:50

Superior started in 1932 as a regional check printer out of LA and we expanded that business to be a one stop shop with cash vault supplies, and endorsement stamps, and fulfilling all the banking supplies that commercial clients would require. And then, in 2005, when RDC became a product, we started fulfilling checks scanners to the industry, across the country. And today, we deploy 3000 check scanners month to give you some scope there in support of the FIs that are signing on new clients every month for RDC. And then you know, our customers, then, you know, asked, Hey, could you help us with a Smart Safe Program? So we do Smart Safe implementation and provisional credit files through software. And then we our clients asked, Hey, we were doing these conversion projects. Could you help us with this? So it’s a business we got into in 2019, just like I explained with the bank requiring 3000 clients to migrate over three months. And so they asked us to do that. And then when it was very successful. And we decided to offer that up to all of our clients. And it’s just grown exponentially since then we taken on additional online banking, just different projects.


Craig Jeffery  13:24

Complementary areas. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Steve, I in that history of 1932. Is that was like the tail end of the Great Depression. And what’s your role at Superior.


Steve Traut  13:36

And I lead the sales organization for our, our business.


Craig Jeffery  13:40

I want to I want to jump on a couple of best practices from some smaller ones, we have a little more detailed case study, I want to cover that last that was more digitally oriented. But if we look at best practices, there, sometimes there’s different examples. We don’t need to go into a massive amount of it. One of the stories is, it’s about adjusting midstream to conflicts. Anytime you’re doing something, there’s going to be a change, you’re probably familiar with the quote, you know, in reality, in theory, reality is just like theory, in reality theory is nothing like reality. And so adaptation is necessary, just the midstream is necessary. Can you give an example I know that I think the the first one is also about remote deposit capture a conversion that was going on. Can you just give the thumbnail of what happened?


Steve Traut  14:29

The first program talk about happened during COVID. So we were all set to go the bank was then as we all know, and 2020 clients didn’t come into the office anymore. So so that was a big change. And we had to pivot the bank had to pivot and make sure hardware was was shipped out to those clients that didn’t have because they left their offices and they were going to do their deposits from the remote offices and some of the pivots we’ve seen is is a bank thinks the back end is set up correctly, we push out the communications and all sudden, they realize either their vendor didn’t flip the switch on some type of setting. And then the bank needs to do that right before the conversion event. And we were able to support that by pushing out the booking tool that would allow the bank 24 hours. So Craig, if you when you got the link to book your appointment, and you booked it, you couldn’t book it for two days. So that that allowed us to send a report back to the bank and say, Hey, Craig booked his appointment for Tuesday next week. And this allowed the bank two days to get the platform dialed in, so that we could go ahead and do the conversion. That was, you know, we’d already pushed out communications, and it was kind of, uh, oh, wow, we we need some help here with this. And luckily, we were able to figure out how to do that how to dynamically change the scheduling platform. So when you landed on it, it pushed out two days before you can a book book an appointment. So that was a win. Here’s a nice feature functionality that we’re able to help the bank with. And we’ve seen it being used a couple times now on projects.


Craig Jeffery  16:22

And to gate the that allowed them to gate the flow of setups since it was done individually. There was there was another there was another example where something wasn’t working in the in the process and like in midstream, can you can you give us a quick summary of that?


Steve Traut  16:40

Yeah, you know, it was a learning experience for us, as well as the bank, the bank, acquired another bank, and they were going from one software vendor to another. And we had no idea the bank didn’t have any idea that the clients that were acquired, their scanners wouldn’t run on the new application without an ink cartridge. And so we were we migrating people over and came to find out that you know, what, a scanner worked fine on this application without ink cartridge in it. But on the go forward application, it required an ink cartridge. So, you know, we found that out halfway through the process on for those clients that were using that specific piece of hardware, which isn’t a very popular, it’s not the go to device for RDC. So it wasn’t it was maybe a 10% of the population. But we had to luckily, being a fulfillment provider of scanners and ink and supplies, we were able to support the banks effort and getting those ink cartridges out to the clients and and if they needed a new scanner, we could do that. But but that was something midstream. And you know, honestly, the bank looked at us and said, Hey, why didn’t you know that? And like, I didn’t know that. And you guys didn’t know that. And the software provider didn’t say anything. So it was a learning curve. I’m not I’m sharing it now with our audience. So that those are things to look at and validate with your application service providers with the various OEMs out there, what what do I need to be aware of? It was a learning curve. And if anybody wants to ping me offline, I’ll tell you what it was all about.


Craig Jeffery  18:37

And it sounds almost like a pre pilot. Now I wanted to move to a bigger case study. This is about a digital conversion. So sometimes banks move from you know, they add functionality, and it’s kind of it just gets incorporated. There’s additional functionality. Other times it’s a significant shift and digital transformation. Can you share with us some of the background and scope on this project?


Steve Traut  19:03

Yeah, I’d love to. There was an East Coast bank, top 100 Bank, and we just helped them with their RDC conversion. And they’re like, we’re going from a homegrown online banking platform to an application. Actually, it was a different application. And they that they bought and they had to migrate 20,000 end users and train them and they asked if we could assist with that and included like ACH and wire training and how to navigate the new platform. And we helped by providing the staff fog and the scheduling application. And what was pretty cool on this unique project is they wanted to share resources meaning that the bank had allocated a tranche of people internally to this project and it was a six week project. And so they said, Hey, we got, you know, these individuals within the bank side and, you know, Superior, we want x amount of agents on your side for the six weeks. And can we both access your scheduling platform to allow, you know, a greater bandwidth of appointment setting. And so we were able to share the application, you know, through the various calendar years and, and allow more time slots for customers to book appointments. And that was a cool feature that, you know, we were able to support and get through that. That project and in the bank was really happy about because it was a cost savings to the bank, right, instead of hiring me to provide 40 people, you know, they could do it with less external resources in use more internal resources.


Craig Jeffery  20:57

So the partner augmentation that was, that was pretty interesting. Now 20,000 clients is a massive number of touches. There’s the fourth best practice you list is Create client tiers:  customize the customer journey based on tier.  Was that done here in this type of situation? Where, like, some people are, like, they use everything they need high touch, and others are like, the email is fine. Right? The the 30% that can do it on their own? Did you use some type of segmentation? And how did that work?


Steve Traut  21:31

Yeah, the banks will, you know, segment into large corporates, middle market, and, you know, small business SMBs and so and the idea is, you know, not not all the businesses use all the tools. So the tiering on a typical online banking conversion that we’ve been part of is, you know, they tier the clients and, and they say, okay, large corporates, we definitely want a hand holding experience of walking them through the changes and training and then middle market offer that but first offer self tools, help tools, videos, landing pages, and with a link, if they do need help, they can book an appointment. And, you know, the small businesses that aren’t using all the feature functionality, let’s direct them to a website for self help tools. And then, you know, down the page, more self videos information, and maybe an 800 number for them to call if they need help, you know, at that point, but so the tiering allows for, you know, just the different journey for the end user, what makes sense for them. And as we know, in today’s world, most people want to self service and after hours, you know, when they’re done with their day job work, and then they get some downtime, and then they can, you know, watch videos and, you know, go through that process. So tiering is important. And and that’s, you just, that’s a preferred way, if you could do that.


Craig Jeffery  23:09

Sure. Any key challenges that happen in this that, that would provide learning or insight,


Steve Traut  23:17

You know, the communications is key, we touched upon that and getting all aspects of the bank involved from the relationship managers, and getting out in front of the change, you’ll let your clients know that, hey, in six months, we’re going to be doing this in three months, and just reminding them as we all know, not everybody reads their, you know, these these general emails or notifications, and, and so it’s just reinforcing like that. Yeah, you know, we all do it. So, so yeah, guys, for today. But, you know, just reinforcing that, that message in and letting them know, through different avenues. And, you know, one thing that keep in mind is when you’re doing a conversion, you know, you might know the CFO or controller, or principals at the end user corporate level, but and they might have login, and they might be getting the notices, but But you know, the actual people doing the functions might not be getting those communications. So you kind of have to look at, hey, who are the users versus the, you know, principals, right, you know, and that’s something that we talk about, keep in mind, when when an FI says, Hey, we got 1000 clients that need to migrate on my first question is, is that 1000 users, how many users per client are we talking about? How many workstations you know, don’t lose sight of that, that it’s, you know, is it a one to one relationship or are they small businesses, so it’s, Hey, I’m just going to train one person, the admin at the company level or is one client represent five users? And so really, your touch point isn’t 1000 touch points. It’s 5000. So everything you could see how that expands?


Craig Jeffery  25:13

Absolutely. Steve, you know, one question to this, since this was a hybrid environment have, you know, it’s their staff has been augmented with your team? So there’s two teams working on this. Did you know was there were any adjustments that had to be made midstream, like they needed more help, or they had more capabilities where they could take on the bank took on more of the work? Are you ready to take on more of the work because of whatever the prevailing?


Steve Traut  25:41

Yeah, no, that’s a good question. And yeah, well, basically, on the online banking program, I’m sharing them, we were able to through questioning on the landing page when booking appointments, you know, segment clients out, so if they, if they wanted training on the ACH platform, you know, they would answer that question, and we could route those appointments to back to the bank per se, or, or if it was, you know, wires, we could route it to a different group. That was pretty cool to have that drop down and segment some of the, you know, the training that way. Based on complexity or areas of specialty that that sounds really good. Steve, I want to thank you for your time. For those that are listening to in the show notes, we’ll have a link to the 10 best practices for a client change event, and it’s good to talk to you on a podcast.  The last time we spoke was that was on a webinar. So good to see you again. And thanks for thanks for joining us. Yeah, enjoyed it. Thank you for having me.


Announcer  26:50

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