Episode 1:

Cultivating A Culturally Relevant Customer Experience at MAZA

Listen on:



Hey everyone and welcome to our first episode of the CX Coffee Chat. I’m your host Catalina Niño, Business Development Manager for LATAM and today I’m with Laura Morales, Senior Member Experience at MAZA.

So, Laura, welcome, welcome, a big welcome to our first episode of the CX Coffee Chat. I would love for you to introduce yourself, please, to the audience.


Of course, hello everybody. It’s a big honor for me to be your first guest! I’m Laura Morales. I am a Member Experience Manager at MAZA. Thank you so much for this space. Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with all of you.


Thank you for being here. So great. Let’s start with the first question for you, so.

First, we want to know your background and your journey into the world of customer experience. Can you share some part of that with us, please?

Question: Can you share your background and journey into the world of customer experience?


Of course, let me tell you a little bit more about my story in the CX world. I’ve always been a people person, always liked the social sciences, always loved learning about other people’s journeys and histories and cultures.

But I was also very passionate about tech. I was in the aviation industry very briefly and I loved tech, but I didn’t know then that there was a world where I could combine my two passions into one. And in my last year of college, I found this amazing opportunity at another fintech startup. It was a virtual bank slash neobank and.

I realized that there was such a huge potential for me to really understand a different world of your typical customer experience or customer support world. At least from my experience, I’ve always had this feeling that, you know, you’d never get replies to any of your questions. People would leave you hanging or even if you go to the bank, your typical brick and mortar bank,

You will never get that awesome experience by going and depositing your check, right? So, I feel very passionate about this and in my latest role there I lasted for four years and in my latest role there I was very focused on learning and development and project management and I loved it. I started working with a BPO that we had at the time and I really loved how we can turn this external team into one that really represents your brand. I love that and I was very involved in all of the launches and making sure that the BPO was very attuned with those launches. But I always knew that I really wanted to do something different. I was there for four years and like I said in startup years, four years is a long time and I was so ready for my next challenge.

And MAZA came into my inbox and I started talking with Luciano, the CEO, and he was talking about the company and there were so many synergies that I could not ignore.

As an immigrant myself, I came to the States when I was 14. I would have loved to have a service like this and now my parents are here as well. And I love this service for them. They actually have MAZA accounts and all that. So, I love that they can contact their bank and then they have the support that they want and an amazing support that they didn’t get from their typical brick and mortar bank. And again, I fell in love with the idea of helping my community build this, for my community to build wealth and to be financially stable and that we can contribute to that and really make a difference. I really resonated with that.

So, I’ve been in MAZA for almost two years and it has been an amazing journey. The entire organization is just really together in this of making sure that we serve our customers. And this goes from the engineering team to the product team to the CX team. And we all really like united in this objective and it has been an awesome ride ever since.



Wow, awesome. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Now we want to know a little bit more about your role. So, can you provide an overview of your role as a Senior Member Experience at MAZA?

Question: Can you provide an overview of your role as the Founding  Member Experience Manager at MAZA?


Of course, of course. So like I said, I’ve been at MAZA for almost two years and I loved my job here. I feel like we built so much. Like I said, I was like the first hire for member experience in my team. And we have built an extraordinary team with a lot of grit and resilience, and we build our escalation flow, operations flow, everything from the very beginning.

But my role specifically today is I see it in two ways. I am a facilitator because with all that building and all that formation of the team, we basically built a lot of verticals, right? We’re talking about social media, support operations, fraud prevention teams, right? And all these teams need to have a common vision. So, I am the facilitator to make sure that that vision is common and is the objective and we all work towards our objective.

But my second role here, the way that I see it is, as the voice of the customer. Because at the end of the day, the customer is the one that is going to use this product, is going to be the one that is going to drive this product forward. So, I also see myself as the voice of the customer. I share insights from our agents and from the customers themselves to make sure that that is part of the product that we build. So that’s how I see my role in MAZA today.


Sounds so great. So, still around the subject of customer experience, what strategies have you implemented to ensure positive and memorable experience for customers of MAZA?

Question: What strategies or initiatives have you implemented to ensure a positive and memorable experience for members of MAZA?


Yeah, absolutely. I think your first strategy, and this is if you’re building your team from zero, is to make sure that you know your audience. That’s the first strategy.

Sometimes a lot of teams, and I’ve heard this a lot, where we don’t even know where customers are. So, I think the first thing is to understand your audience, understand your customers. What do they want? And let me give you, let me give you a quick example. Our customers are Latino immigrants or Latino non-residents in the United States, correct? And what do you want from those customers?

If you are that customer, you want to be able to receive customer experiences in your language, but also customer experience that resonate with you. We have been able to build that, which is awesome. I think the first thing, making sure that you know your customer.

Then the second thing, just cover your basics. How many times have we reached out to customer support teams or organizations and you never hear back from them? They hide their chat or they hide a way to email them. It’s not very great. So make sure that your customer support portal or help center is very visible and address their support tickets swiftly. We make sure, at MAZA, that our SLAs are very aggressive, so to say, but no one likes more than to receive an immediate response or close to immediate response, right? So I think that’s also very important.

And then lastly, is just to stay human. I think a lot of times in this age of automation, we tend to forget that we’re dealing with people. And that’s something that we’ve done so well. We make sure that our communications resonate with our customers. It’s not just some script that we’re reading. It’s something that we know resonates with them and we understand their issues.

And I think that’s super, super important. It’s very easy to say, but it’s actually very hard to do. So I think that’s something that we have implemented and that we’ve done very well.


Thanks so much Laura for sharing all these good initiatives and strategies allowing you to really have the reputation of having an amazing customer experience. Now I understand, how you’ve collected so many positive reviews!

So, let’s move forward and let’s talk about more about cultural relevance.

Question: As MAZA, is a financial technology company offering banking and financial services designed especially for the Latino community in the US, how do you ensure that the member experience is culturally relevant to this target?


Yeah, this is very important and very relevant to us, right? Because we are so niche, so to say. But I feel like our number one goal is to go beyond providing advice responses that I mentioned before. But we also emphasize a lot on quality over quantity.

I know we have SLAs, we all need to make sure that we meet our metrics and KPIs and all that, but we don’t understand the value of really honing in into the customer’s issue, talking to them, connecting with them and really resolving the issues, but also how that conversation and that connection to the customers can lead to brand advocates. And we know that a lot of brands have been built on advocates, referrals, worth of, or amounts. And this is very important. And I think for us, it has been a huge priority to again, making sure that we are building those connections we are building quality connections with our customers over like how many tickets that we’re responding in X amount of period. So, this is very important.

And another thing is that in financial banking services, we have so many complex concepts and it gets very difficult and it’s sometimes scary. Like if it’s scary for me, having been in the banking industry for over six years? Imagine for someone that is new to the banking services in the United States, right? It becomes very difficult to navigate. And we want to make sure that we simplify those terms. We don’t want to make it sound scary. I know that could be scary, but we want to walk with you to make sure that we navigate that those new challenges and we allow you to thrive financially in the States. So again, just making sure that we have quality over quantity conversations.

And I said, I said this all over again, simplicity and authenticity always wins!


I totally agree, I also don’t understand banking terms, so simplifying all terms and making sure to align the customer experience to the customer is awesome!

In any case, let’s keep moving on and discuss challenges!

Question: In the realm of delivering exceptional member experience at MAZA, what are some common challenges you’ve encountered, especially considering the unique financial needs of the Latino community in the US?



One of the most common challenges that we have faced on MAZA is navigating the ever -changing landscape of our industry. Remember, this is happening to all startups and also other virtual banks, neo banks out there, because again, the needs change, US regulation changes, compliance changes. So, we have found ourselves in this constant state of change.

And we have found ourselves always defining and redefining the requirements of our company, the needs of our customers. And that has been one of the biggest challenges that we are trying to address by being very adaptable and resilient. And again, just making sure that in our priorities, we don’t lose sight of our customers because at the end of the day, they are the end of it all, right? We are doing this for them, right?

Another challenge, and this is for our customers, specifically the Latino community in the States, is that, like I mentioned earlier, they’re new to the States, they’re new to the system, and it’s really hard for them to trust. So, earning their trust has been a process that we have become really good at, and I think our support team has done an amazing job in navigating this trust issue that we’ve been having with customers. But I think it comes from their experiences, right? Like they come from Latin America typically, and they have not had great experiences with their banks. And I mean, in the States, we also have had that experience where customers didn’t really know what virtual banks were at some point, right? So we are trying to introduce them into this new world where you can just bank from your phone. That’s so new and so scary.

And this is a transition that the Sates has done in the past 10 years that these folks are just starting to get on board with. So it’s just earning the trust of the customers and really navigating that that has been a challenge. But again, we adapt and one important thing to say there is that we adapt to our customers. The customers can really adapt to us. And that is very important to remember.


Awesome. Awesome.

Now in general:

Question: How does MAZA gather feedback from its members and how is that feedback used to improve the overall experience?


Yeah, this is incredibly important because again, sometimes we lose sight of who we’re serving, but the customer should be at the heart of everything. So, we do our typical focus groups, surveys, making sure that customers feel okay, great with our experiences. Very important basics are covered. But another channel that we have found where we can find very authentic and very raw feedback is through our agents and interactions. And let me explain.

We truly believe in the power of listening to our customers, but sometimes customers are not going to write to us and be like, this feature does not work for me for X, Y, and Z reason, right? Sometimes you call because you have a problem and in that call, you share other

experiences that you have with the app or you don’t even know that it’s a bug and you share and this is happening to me and I think it’s only me, but the customer is sharing that there is actually something happening and make.

And we know that he might not be or he or she may not be the only customer experiencing this. So we have really found immense value in listening to our agents because they’re talking to customers all the time. Like they have, you know, they have like, they’re talking to customers, at least they’re talking to like, they’re talking to 10, 20, 30 customers in a day.

And who has more valuable feedback than them? So we have open channels to have them share feedback with us. Our slack is always open for feedback. We have channels for feedback in our slack. We conduct regular meetings with them, focus groups. S,o we’re not only focusing on the customers themselves, but also on the agents. What valuable feedback we can get from agents!



Question: Would you mind sharing an example of changes you’ve implemented thanks to member feedback?


Absolutely, absolutely. For example, one feedback that we received in the past few days was customers with issues on their mobile apps. The interface was not working and honestly was something that we couldn’t really tell from our from an engineer from an engineer perspective. But there were so many people complaining about this and sharing this with us that we decided to look further into it and we realized that there was an issue happening right and again this. This is only one small example. Maybe we had like 10 customers reaching out about this, but we have really implemented big interface and like core features that we have thought that they were good, but they were not really good based on customers feedback. Because again, they are the center of everything. And this feedback has been received from our agents and customers. So, this escalation system that we have implemented has been great for leveraging this feedback for implementing big changes into our platform.


Okay, let’s move to another topic now.

In recent news, I’ve seen that:

Question: MAZA has expressed interest in expanding into credit building and potentially outside the US. How do you envision maintaining a personalized and culturally relevant member experience as services expand?


Yeah, this is an awesome question for me because at MAZA, we’re all about empowering our community to thrive financially. This is at the heart of our organization and it’s part of our mission and vision for this company.

And we’re really excited to share that our plans for expanding our services, particularly in the realm of savings, is happening. As you know, for Latinos in the US, saving money isn’t sometimes a priority, but they always look into reaching those financial goals, their American dream, right? But it’s not only about building wealth for themselves, but building wealth for their families and generations to come.

So, we have a huge task at hand. And again, we’re very passionate about this. So, what we’re trying to do is make sure that we are building products that are relevant to our customers because they know, everybody knows that they need to save. That is not a question. I know it’s not sexy. It’s not, it’s not, it’s another task in our heads sometimes, right?

But we know the importance of saving and we want to really make sure that we build tools that our customers can use not only to start saving, but to continue saving for as long as possible. Again, our purpose is to help them build wealth, thrive in the States, right? So, what we have really been trying to do and we build and we’re trying to really build this in a way that we personalized experience that the experience is culturally relevant, that is helpful, that adds value to our customers, that is not just another savings account, that it’s not doing anything for me, but that they get value from this new experience and new product. Again, it’s not fully out, we’re still working on it. It’s a work in progress, but we’re very excited that we want to go into this route because long term I think it’s awesome to know that our communities are trying to take control of their finances and work towards their long term goals.


Wow that’s awesome news! I’m pretty sure that it’s going to work out super well.

It terms of culture in general:

Question: Are there specific considerations or challenges you anticipate in adapting the member experience to different cultural and regulatory environments?


Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. But as I said, as we add more products and services to our portfolio and as our services get more complex, so does the regulation, the compliance, and all these different considerations that we have to make to make sure that that product is as relevant and it’s as trustworthy as possible. So, it has been a huge challenge, but we are not afraid of challenges. And we love navigating this and then with the right help that we’ve been getting in the last few months and years, we feel like we are in a space where we feel more confident shipping products out. And again, making sure that they are as relevant and as compliant as possible. Because again, we want to make sure that these products are trustworthy.


Amazing. So, we have talked a lot about customer experience, the culture environment, the difference, the challenges that you move through the of course the cultural and the and the customer experience.

But what about we want to know more about like tech. So, we are curious and of course we know that the audience is curious too.

Question: Are there any tools you’ve been using in your role that significantly improved the overall member experience or internal efficiency? On the other hand, arethere any tools you would not recommend?


We are slowly but surely moving into the web of AI, and I think it has been a game changer in terms of efficiency, in terms of really dealing with that low hanging fruit of our operations. And I 100 % recommended any AI tool that you can include in your toolbox. It will be a huge win for you.

But on the flip side, I do think that doing too much of one thing, at least at this point, is not great. As I mentioned before, authenticity always wins. And something that we have really found that our customers don’t really like is talking to bots or feeling that they’re talking to bots. That’s why scripts doesn’t work. That’s why going fully AI and fully automated interactions don’t really work today.

So we have really like not gone fully AI at this point because again, we still trying to navigate that new wave, that new tool, but it has been very helpful so far. But we know that going fully, into that realm, it has not been great so far.

So I would say having that human connection and really understanding our customers and what they want, which is they don’t want to talk to you about today, uh, has been, has been really, really good to not like really go all the way there.

So yeah, it has been a challenge for sure.


We’re almost reaching the end of our episode. But, we still want to know more about you!

Question: On a personal basis, what challenges have you faced in your role, and how did you overcome them?


Yeah, I mean, that’s a tough question because I guess it happens to everybody that goes into fintech startups. You feel like you’re wearing multiple hats, you’re juggling various responsibilities, but especially as a leader, you really need to make sure that you delegate.

And that you empower your team to do what they need to do. And for me has been really hard to let go of that.  Of all the things that I need to do, cause I feel like I can do it all, but you really need to trust your team. And it’s not only a learning opportunity for, for my team, right? For my team members to grow and learn and to find new experiences and to find things that they like or really feel good about the projects that they accomplish. But also for me, right? It’s a good learning experience for me to delegate, to really trust my team that they can do the best that they can. So I think as a leader, you really need to let go. I’m not a micromanager in any way, but I think just really trusted my instinct.

Given that space and that safe space for creativity, it has been a huge learning opportunity for me. And I’m really enjoying it. I’m really enjoying it. Seeing my team build amazing things, come up with great ideas. We love doing brainstorming sessions every week. And then we go into a whiteboard. Sometimes we’re all from home, but sometimes I’m in the office and we take a whiteboard and we brainstorm, what we could do better.


Great advice for all the leaders of the customer experience that are hearing us today. Thank you so much for all your answers. We are getting in the final stage of this part of the podcast.

Question: Any last piece of advice for our audience that you want to share?


Absolutely. I think my last piece of advice and something that I was very honored to learn throughout my years in support is that we shouldn’t see support teams or just your support department team as a call center. We should see as an asset.

It’s incredible to see all the learnings and all the things that we have been able to really accomplish by seeing them as an advocate for your brand and as a way to connect to your customers and really empowering them to give our customers the best experience that they can and turn them into loyal users. It has been amazing to see. So I feel like we should change the chip.

And some companies are like, oh, I’m spending all this money in support. But at MAZA it’s like, how can I generate, how can I start generating revenue from this part of my company that at the end of the day is so necessary to have? So I would say that, just changing the chip.


Awesome. I really think your final advice is really valuable! I’ve been hearing so many companies saying that customer support is just a cost, but it’s perhaps because they don’t really understand the value of having an amazing customer experience. And a great customer experience starts with an awesome customer support!

So, Laura, thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for all the advice! I’m sure our audience learned a lot from your experience. Hopefully we can get you back as a guest real soon with some more exciting insights!

This was the CX Coffee Chat.

Have a good, good, good, good day everyone keep on listening to the next episode!

See you soon.

Check out the rest of the episodes!

CX Coffee Chat podcast - The Nest logo
Contact Us