May 9, 2024

From Roundtable Client to Roundtable Director: Steve Sion

Auriemma Roundtable is known for the power of its members – whether in a meeting sharing insights or participating in peer-to-peer benchmarking.

Another source of Auriemma’s expertise? The decades of payments, lending, and customer service experience of our Roundtable directors who oversee each group – more than 60% of whom started as clients themselves. 

Auriemma Roundtable Director Steve Sion is one of them. Prior to becoming a Roundtable director, Steve spent more than 25 years leading call center operations for some of the largest U.S. financial institutions. As a member of the Card Customer Service Roundtable, he relied on Auriemma Roundtables to craft strategies around attrition and retention, as well as measure KPIs like average handle time.

Since joining Auriemma Roundtables in 2022, Steve has led the Credit Card Service, Consumer Bank Service, Workforce Management, Credit Bureau and Card Chief Executive Roundtable groups. We caught up with him to see what insights he has to offer as a participant-turned-director. 

Your time with Auriemma Roundtables began as an attendee. What was your experience as a participant like?

One of the things that struck me as an attendee was the incredibly open conversations and sharing of non-proprietary information that attendees were willing to provide. Even though the details differ, the challenges around technology implementations, staff management, operational process improvements, fraud prevention and vendor relationships are universal.  

I also noticed how much specialized expertise there was at a single table. Our Roundtables are not for generalists; they’re hyper-targeted. You’re surrounded by peers who have years of experience with the exact same type of problems that you’re trying to solve. That also lends itself to ongoing engagements, where participants return to Roundtables year after year – sometimes even after they change employers. 

How did that expertise lead to your current role?

While not all of us came to Auriemma Roundtables as former clients, I would say my background is typical of a director. Part of the value of the Roundtables is that they’re facilitated by individuals who have extensive subject matter expertise. We can speak the language and know the right follow-up questions to ask. 

As someone who was once in the clients’ ’shoes, what advice do you have for current or prospective Roundtable participants?

There is a lot more to the Roundtable experience than attending meetings a few times a year. There are a lot of features that add value, if you take advantage of them, such as participating in benchmarking and requesting custom surveys. 

My other advice is for Roundtable members to have a well-constructed plan for who will attend meetings, how the benchmark data will be used, and how to implement the changes that members learn from the meetings and the performance gaps they identify.  That’s why I spend so much time facilitating agenda calls ahead of sessions – to ensure that clients’ needs are reflected in the agenda. 

Overall, it’s a matter of staying engaged. It’s no coincidence that our most active participants also report the most successes and have the longest tenures.

What does the future hold? What developments are you excited about?

I’m always balancing the next wave of deadlines for client deliverables, whether it’s putting together an agenda, editing a meeting report, or reviewing the latest batch of benchmark data. Specifically, I’ve been spending a lot of time working with internal and external stakeholders to get ready for our customer service summit this summer.  

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