Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines recently sat down with Anisa Agulto, VP of Client Experience at OMNICOMMANDER, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Zak and Anisa had a far-ranging conversation that touched on how OMNICOMMANDER got started in the credit union space and their journey to enabling businesses through digitization, website optimization, and a collaborative and consultative approach. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
Zak: Can you share background on OMNICOMMANDER?
Anisa: We are a full-service marketing firm that specializes in building gorgeous websites for credit unions while delivering proven marketing solutions across multiple channels.
Zak: I’m always impressed by partners who have a very specific vertical expertise that they bring to customers. OMNICOMMANDER is a great example of that. How did the business get started?
Anisa: We are a little over three years young. Eric Isham, our CEO, started the business because he saw that there was a need in the industry, especially when it came to credit unions and their website design. He’s worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. During that time, he would have a lot of people ask for his opinion on how to build their business or who they should use for their website. When he started diving deeper into websites and what their best options were, he found that there wasn’t any affordable way for smaller institutions to keep their digital presence competitive. That was the need he wanted to fulfill, by helping businesses have an optimal site that’s mobile responsive and ADA compliant, but also gorgeous. Websites needed to be all of those things plus easy to use and navigate for their members. That’s what started the business.
Zak: And how about you, Anisa? How did you come to work for OMNICOMMANDER?
Anisa: I started working with OMNICOMMANDER over two years ago. I was interviewed by Eric, and I could just see the passion he had for the digital movement and what he was creating for credit unions. When I joined the team, we had been in the business for about a year, and I was excited to be part of the team. I started out in outside sales. After that, I moved over to the client side as Vice President of Client Experience, and that’s where I’ve been since last November. We have experienced a lot of growth since then. I’m employee number six, and we’re now over 60, so that just shows the growth in two years since I joined!
The Customer Experience
Zak: That sounds like great growth for both you and the company. What are some of your key focus points in your role as VP of Client Experience?
Anisa: It’s my team’s job to ensure that all our clients are having an amazing experience with our company. It’s really that simple. We help customers once their websites have launched, we make sure they are updated, and we’re there if they need help. If they want custom development added to their website or are introducing new products or services, we’re there to help them throughout those processes. We consult with them, we give them ideas, and we get to talk with them all the time, every day. It’s a really fun role to be in to help their ideas come to life.
Zak: I like how you are supporting customers in such a unique and personalized way. How is your team organized? Are there any main functions or specialty teams that are set up to work with certain customers?
Anisa: My team consists of seven Account Managers who are responsible for designated geographic regions. It is their job to ensure all of our clients’ needs are met. We always strive to give five-star, white-glove service, and for this reason, our Account Managers are fully trained in all aspects of their job.
We have several departments within OMNICOMMANDER. Within those departments, there are teams that specialize in their designated area. For example our marketing department has teams that focus on social media, content creation, email marketing, SEO, graphic design, and more. This gives our clients the advantage of having experts in each arena that they may not be able to have on their own.
The Credit Union Industry
Zak: Let’s talk about credit unions since that’s such a focal point of your business. You mentioned the founding principles of the company, and you talked about how your goal is to provide an optimal experience for credit unions through their website. What sort of trends are you seeing in the credit union space?
Anisa: As a whole, the credit union industry has been slower when it comes to digitization. There used to be a considerable amount of credit unions in the industry, but the combination of consolidation and over regulation has caused a rapid decrease in the total number of credit unions. During my time with OMNICOMMANDER, I’ve seen a lot of movement in the industry and more awareness around the benefits of digitizing processes. I do think as a whole, the industry is moving in the right direction, and it’s super exciting to see. Just looking at credit union websites right now, I’ve seen a ton of improvement since the beginning. We have over 350 credit union clients, so when you look at the industry as a whole, that’s a huge client base.
Zak: When you meet with a customer and they’re interested in getting the website process started, what are some of the key objectives they have? Are they looking to accomplish a specific goal?
Anisa: For most credit unions, their website is super important to them. This is their 24/7 branch, and it gives members and potential members access to their services. They’re looking at a lot of different factors, but they want to make sure it’s easy for members and potential members to find and use. It needs to be mobile responsive and ADA compliant, and they also want it to look really good. That’s where we come in.
Zak: What are some of the patterns you’re seeing in terms of the goals they have to meet in order to make a larger investment in their website?
Anisa: Their website is an extremely important marketing tool. If someone is looking at joining a financial institution, they’re going to look at the website and research all of their options. It really depends on the objectives of each individual credit union because there are so many different factors that come into play with what offers they will make to potential new members.
Some credit unions are primarily set up to serve policemen, firefighters, emergency services, and teachers. Some are community-based, where they’re open to filling memberships with entire communities. So when they’re looking at their website and who they’re marketing to, they consider who they are as a credit union and what story they want to tell. A big movement in credit unions today is people helping people—telling those stories and making sure that message is communicated by the website as a whole.
OMNICOMMANDER and Formstack
Zak: When do you recall learning about Formstack?
Anisa: I would say about two years ago is when we first started utilizing Formstack.
Zak: Nice. Do you know some of the criteria you were looking for in terms of choosing a forms product for your websites?
Anisa: When we were exploring our options, we were looking at several different factors that were important to us. Ease of use in our forms product was our first priority. We knew that credit unions were going to be constantly making changes and adding additional forms, so we needed something that was user-friendly for them to self service.
We also wanted to make sure that the solution was customizable and brandable for the client. It needed to look like the credit union’s proprietary form. Being able to add logos and colors to customize the look and feel of the forms was very important. We also wanted to make sure it was mobile responsive and that there were elements that worked well on the go. Lastly, we are always looking to make sure it’s ADA compliant, which is a strength of Formstack.
Zak: I know that’s a big requirement for you guys. Can you talk more about why this is so important to your customers?
Anisa: ADA compliance is really in the DNA of the company. It’s part of everything we do, from the marketing team posting social media posts to documents added to websites. We always need it to be compliant. It’s important to the clients of these credit unions because they want to make sure the information they’re providing to their members is accessible and that they’re not excluding anyone from the services they provide.
Our mission is to make the web accessible for all members. This aligns with the credit union’s foundation of making financial services accessible to everyone. One in five Americans require some form of assistive technology in order to access a website. This is a huge opportunity to serve the underserved, and quite simply, it’s the right thing to do.
Zak: And it starts with the website. We hear about that requirement a lot in government too; any citizen or user being able to access the forms is vital. And then we also often see that carrying over to both capturing data on digital forms and also being able to create documents that can be shared back with the customer or fed into internal processes.
Anisa: Yes. It is our goal to assist credit unions in their mission to make financial services accessible to everyone. When we partner with credit unions, they utilize forms for a plethora of reasons, from loan applications, debt relief programs, member feedback, and more. For smaller credit unions, they may not have been able to complete these processes online in the past, so it’s a huge advantage to transition everything to secured digital platforms. This helps the credit union raise their level of member service, while providing an accessible method for all members to utilize, and in turn, increases their conversions on these products and services.
Zak: I’ve noticed your company is big on LinkedIn. That is something Formstack and OMNICOMMANDER have in common.
Anisa: Yes, we really enjoy being on LinkedIn, and I think everyone at the company has an account. It’s a great platform to connect with many different people—not only our clients, but our partners as well! I’m thankful for this company. The culture is awesome, and I love working with creative, passionate, and hardworking people who treat you like family!
Zak: Let’s wrap up with the lightning round! What are some of your personal interests and hobbies?
Anisa: I love going to the beach. I live in Panama City, Florida, so I love the outdoors, and there’s lots of fun stuff to do from kayaking, canoeing, rivers, lakes, creeks, beaches.
Zak: Do you have a productivity tip you can share?
Anisa: I’m lucky to be super busy, but organization is key. I live by my calendar.
Zak: What is your favorite TV show, past or present?
Anisa: I don’t know if I have a favorite to be honest! I watched that “Tiger King” series on Netflix. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite show, but it was very interesting.
Zak: What’s your go-to lunch during the workday?
Anisa: Black cold brew from Starbucks
Zak: I’m also a big Starbucks fan.
Anisa: But at the office, there’s lots of fried chicken going around. I do love Pub-Subs from Publix.
Zak: I know Publix from my visits to Florida.
Anisa: There is a joke in Florida. We are surrounded by alligators, drinking orange juice and eating Pub-Subs!
Zak: That’s a good segue to my last question for you. Is a sandwich a hot dog?
Anisa: I have a funny story to tell you before I answer this. When we bring on new hires, the first meeting that they attend at the company is our Friday Townhall meeting. During the meeting, we do a lightning round with all new hires to get to know them, and they have to answer questions from throughout the company. Our Director of Operations, Roger Phipps, his favorite question is always this one! But my answer is no. A hot dog is not a sandwich.
Zak: Well glad you could weigh in on the topic, and it’s been great to learn about your role and the OMNICOMMANDER story.
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