Innovating Customer Communication in the Financial Sector, with Andrew Stevens

Innovating Customer Communication in the Financial Sector, with Andrew Stevens

Innovating Customer Communication in the Financial Sector, with Andrew Stevens

Episode 108

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Episode 108

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Andrew Stevens is the principal for banking and financial services for Quadient, an international company specialising in business process automation & customer experience management. In this episode, we discuss the major problems in customer education within the financial sector & the reasons this could create failure demand. We also discuss consumer duty & regulations that banks must comply with. Will these regulations harm innovations?

We also ask the question: Do you understand how your finance works?

Episode Summary


Consumer Duties

Described as one of the biggest curveballs that authorities have ever thrown at banks, consumer duties are the regulations and responsibilities that banks and financial institutions have towards their customers. These duties revolve around ensuring fair practices, protecting customers’ interests & providing them with adequate information and support. Andrew walks us through these regulations, the reasons they are set in place, detailed explanations of what they entail. Do these compliances affect innovations within banking? Find out by watching the full episode!

“It’s caused a lot of panic in the regulated industries.


Customer Misinformation

Andrew Stevens also reveals some frightening information regarding customer understanding. According to Andrew, 39% of customers think they have a good understanding of financial matters. With more than half of customers not trusting their own financial knowledge, Andrew talks to us about how banks can change this.  Andrew talks to us about just how devastating this can be, creating failure demand & potentially leading customers to switching banks.

“We asked customers to work out their overdraft… Only 8% of people got it right.



To find out more about Andrew, check out our full episode – available on all your favourite channels. Now including YouTube!


This article summarises podcast episode 108 “Innovating Customer Communication in the Financial Sector” recorded by CX Insider.

Written by Octavian Iotu

Octavian: On today’s episode, we’ll be talking to the principal for banking and financial services of Quadient, Andrew Stevens, we’ll be talking about the consumer duties set in place, banking innovations, as well as compliance transformations that can shape the customer experience. Enjoy the episode. And if you do, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more episodes. This episode has been brought to you by ACF technologies global leaders in customer experience management solutions. Now let’s get into the episode. Welcome back to the CX Insider Podcast. My name is Octavian and I’m joined by my co-host Alex. And we’ve got a special guest that goes by the name of Andrew. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, who you are and what you do?

Andrew: Hi, I’m Andrew Stevens. I’m really proud to be part of Quadient’s global product marketing team. I look after banking and financial services for, for, for the organisation from a CXM and a CX perspective, because my background before that was nearly 20 years in HSBC Group. Firstly in it looking after customer communications and the customer experience from a technical perspective and eventually moving into the operational side with the remit to actually sort of try and transform the way that HSBC communicated with their, their organisations or their different customers around the world.

Octavian: Could you provide an overview of your platform and application in the banking sector?

Andrew: We look at the world of customer experience through the lens of the way that you interact with your customers, the way that you connect with them, the way that you communicate with them. And we’ve worked out that certainly in the banking and financial services world, 60 to 80% of those critical interactions come in a format that will be considered a customer communication, whether that’s an old fashioned piece of paper that’s mailed to you, whether it’s a PDF version of that, whether it’s an SMS, an email, a WhatsApp that might be sent to you, a piece of communication that’s within a mobile application or an internet banking screen, maybe even it’s a responsive smartphone push notification or all those different channels. So trying to change the customer experience in banking without looking at the customer, the communication element, you’re actually dealing with a real minority. You’ve got to actually look at the communications to make any sort of change at all. So we provide technology that helps banks, financial services and actually other industries as well to do that, starting with understanding the customers better, understanding the ways that they’re trying to solve problems by going through different journeys through your organisation with our customer journey mapping software, and then linking all of those journey maps with those critical communications, helping you to understand the emotions that they generate, the value that they generate. In reality, the lack of value in many cases that they generate, and actually seeing the statistics of what that really does to the overall customer experience.

Andrew: And then the critical bit is to make the change at the end of it, we have the the world’s leading customer communication management software that allows enterprises of all different sizes to be able to take that experience and that understanding of the customer and to completely transform their communications across all those different channels from being something that’s a bit of a drain on the bottom line, just creates failure demand all these different problems and that’s a complete waste of time into something that is a real centrepiece of the customer experience, something that adds value, something that increases revenue and saves money across all of those. We do it for organisations of all different sizes. We’ve got eight of the ten largest banking, financial services and insurance companies in the world, or our customer, and they’re using us in anger. It’s not hidden in a test lab somewhere, just, you know, mentioning the statistics for promotional capability. They’re really using us for billions of personalised experiences every year. But we go right down to smaller organisations. They’re the ones that need tens of thousands of interactions with their customers. Maybe it’s a regional building society in this country. We do it all over the world. We’ve got customers on every single continent, including Antarctica, I think. Oh, wow. Although that’s not in banking, there’s not a lot of call for for cash payments to penguins. Um, but yeah, we’ve got customers all over the world that are absolutely delighted with us.

Octavian: So what are some challenges that you’ve seen in the banking sector and how have you guys worked to overcome them?

Andrew: Where do we start with challenges in the banking sector? Yeah.

Octavian: It’s quite a big question.

Andrew: Yeah, I guess let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Financial understanding. That’s probably going to be one of the big ones that we’re going to need to cover. There is a massive gap between what a bank wants the customer to know and what the customer actually knows and understands. We did some research with a fantastic partner of ours called signal, all relating to consumer duty, and we found that I think it was 53% of customers think that they’ve got a good understanding of their customer communications. That in itself is a problem because it means that for every pound, every euro, every dollar that you’re spending on customer communications, you’re wasting about half of it. And in fact, it’s probably going to be even worse because the customers know that there is an important communication that they’ve received on whatever channel it might be. They don’t understand it, but they know they need to understand it. So they’re going to call someone. They’re going to try and find out what’s what’s needed for it. You’re creating failure demand with poor communications in half your customer base just about. We then looked into it a little bit further, and we found out that I think it was 39% of customers think that they’ve got a really good understanding of financial matters in general.

Andrew: They’re really comfortable that they understand how finance works and how their bank accounts work, how the chargers might work, all those sort of things. Again, that’s a major problem. 39% okay, good understanding three in five don’t understand how their money works for them or potentially works against them. And that’s that’s a massive problem for a bank to have in an environment where there’s a lot of people working very hard for a very small amount of money and bills are going up all the time. And then we took it one step further and found really frightening information, because we tried to focus on customers that had an overdraft, specifically because we wanted to make sure that this final question was relevant. And it was we gave them a communication that was related to overdrafts, and we said, okay, you say that you can understand customer communications. You say you understand financial matters, calculate your overdraft based off this. You know, you’ve gone, let’s say £10 overdrawn. How much are you going to be charged? Only 8%. Got it right.

Octavian: Jesus, that’s. That’s horrible. Yeah.

Andrew: It’s a massive, massive problem. Especially if we get into the world of consumer duty that we might get onto later. I don’t know, but  those sort of facts suggest that banks are not doing what they need to do to actually educate their customers on what they need to know in order to manage their own money properly. And that’s it’s frightening really, you know, really worrying when you’ve got an organisation that that is making a lot of money but isn’t able to actually do the final bit and actually care about the customers? Let’s face it, if you were to go to any branch of any bank in the world, you would see employees that genuinely care. There aren’t banks out there that don’t care. But when it comes to that communication piece, that final mile in the customer experience, it’s just all falling down all over the place. It needs to be changed.

Octavian: So we’ve just found out about the stark realities of customer understanding surrounding financial matters. But what are some ways that banks can adapt their communication strategies to meet customer preference demands?

Andrew: I think it starts with changing an understanding of what you believe to be true. You ever heard of the Lindy Effect? Something I learned reasonably recently. The theory that certain things, including technology, the longer they’ve been in existence, the longer they will be in existence. So it comes back from comedians back in New York when it was first created. But the theory is that when you’re a new comedian, that’s the most risky time that you’ll never be heard from again. The moment you’ve really made it, you can last forever. Doing the same thing and the same holds true for technology and especially communication technology. But it also comes with drawbacks, because never changing again can mean that you’re not actually meeting customers needs. And when you look at the history of banking and the history of technology and banking, one of the very first things that was automated was the reporting system, the statement system. Now, previous to that, we got handwritten ledgers, we got balance books, that sort of stuff. When computers came in, we were suddenly able to actually say, you know what? We can we can actually create and churn out pieces of paper in those days that will let people know all of this. It hasn’t really been a revolution in customer communications in many banks since, yes, there’s different technologies in place now, but it’s been a very, very slow evolution where someone said, you know what? Paper is no longer good enough and it’s not, let’s add email. So they bought another piece of, of technology to, to do emails. And then someone said, you know what we should really do SMS and someone in the IT department said, well how hard could it be? Let’s build a solution to do that.

Andrew: And then they realised just how hard it really can be. And so there’s one department using that solution that’s built in-house, and everyone else is using a third party technology. And then someone says, we need PDFs actually for our internet banking platform. And the old print solution can’t do PDFs. So if someone buys that and all of a sudden you’ve got this, this proliferation of technology, that’s all very channel specific, all very heavily technical focused, based off those really founding principles of, you know, we’re going to do reports, we’re going to do pieces of paper that go out. When it comes to changing customer preferences, you cannot meet modern customer demands with technology that’s based off something that might actually be a theory from 30, 40 years ago, that Lindy effect really causes problems there where people sort of think, well, this the accepted truth now is that communications are difficult, they’re expensive, they’re really annoying. They don’t add value. And then there’s digital on the other side, which is run by a completely different team does communications, but they do it in a completely different way because it’s in a different team with different technologies. It’s just creating all sorts of problems. So for me, I think when it comes to meeting customers preferences, you’ve got to take a look at what’s what is that underlying platform or platforms that you’re using, and does it actually meet the needs that you’re going to have to transform in the future?

Octavian: Andrew has mentioned consumer duty, but what actually is it and how does it affect different communications and channels?

Andrew: Yeah, consumer duties. For me, it’s one of the biggest curveballs that the the authorities have ever thrown at banks. Because if you think about regulation and rules, they’re usually you need to follow this process now. And if you follow that process, you are compliant or you need to do this with your money now or reserve this much percentage of your tier one capital for for this in order to be resilient. And if you do that, you’re always compliant. You know, in the morning you walk in, you check, the light’s still green, everything’s good. Consumer duty is very, very different. It talks about actually making sure that the organisation is dealing in good faith with the customer, that they’re being reasonable, that they’re being that they’re they’re checking, understanding the words that you would normally find more in a church or in another religious setting, your faith and, and understanding and those sorts of things than you would in the black and white text of a regulation. But they’re there very specifically to force banks and other regulated institutions as well, to think about being customer first and making sure that. Prioritising their own profits, their own revenues over being reasonable with the customer and ending up giving them very bad outcomes, rather than looking at really good outcomes for for the customer and it causes. It’s caused a lot of panic in the regulated industries, originally because they can’t just take a look at it and say, okay, we’ll put that team in place, make these changes, and then we’ll we’ll put another light on the dashboard.

Andrew: And if it’s still green in the morning, we’re okay. It actually forces a cultural change, a real cultural shift in actually thinking about everything that they do in every way that they do it and saying, are we being reasonable with the customer? Are we making sure we’re we’re that they understand what we’re we’re asking them to do? Because if they don’t, we’re not being reasonable because we’ve got a lot of money. We’ve got enough money to actually do things in a way that they should understand. And are we acting in good faith in everything that we do? A lot of that, again, comes back down to the way that you interact, the way that you connect with your customer. You can’t really turn around now and say we sent it out a little bit too late because we’ve only got a print platform, because you’ve got enough money, you know, everyone’s making profit. So. So why do you only have a print platform? Why haven’t you got the ability to communicate with people more quickly on the right channel, at the right time, with a message that is highly personalised? You know, let’s face it, we’ve got several people in the room right now.

Andrew: All of us are different people. We might have different understanding of digital. We might have a different preference when it comes to receiving physical mail or being called all those sorts of different things. You need to be able to understand that customer, the segment that they’re in, or even even lower than that, down to the segment of one based off the data that they have. And make sure that every time you’re interacting with them, it’s personalised towards what they will understand. Classic example of that is I’m pretty much a digital native. I’m probably too old to officially be a digital native, but I’m perfectly happy with everything being on my phone. My dad fully digitally capable. But when he recently changed banks, he found a bank that didn’t require him to sign up to internet banking that were a telephone bank because he likes to interact with organisations completely differently than I do now. If I were to send him something that said, you can access this only via internet banking, that’s not reasonable anymore. You know, you can’t just assume that someone will want to do something. Consumer duty changes all of that. Like I say, it just makes you it forces you really to be to be customer first and to really put the customer at the center of every single thing that you do.

Octavian: Do these consumer duties affect innovation within the process, and are banks able to innovate while complying to regulatory demands?

Andrew: I don’t see them as being mutually exclusive. I think you can you can do both. Um, when whenever I’ve talked to regulators over the many, many years, I’ve never found a situation where they’ve said, no, you can’t do something as long as a you’re keeping the industry and the company financially stable, you’re not doing anything that is financially reckless. It’s going to lead to the downfall of the bank or acting in genuine bad faith in that way. And if you’re acting in the customer’s best interests, where we generally see that there are problems with regulations, it’s one of two things. It’s either the bank or the financial institution is trying to put a very thin customer experience gloss over something that isn’t actually about customer experience. It’s about cost saving. It’s about redundancies. It’s about all those things that are, unfortunately, the reality of of the financial world today in a very difficult economic world. Or it’s not actually a problem at all. It’s just a perception problem within the bank, because banks in general, neo banks slightly different, but traditional banks, they’re very conservative when it comes to to the way that they think. We had it in my previous life in banking, where we had a show me the law rule because we were be told we can’t do certain things. And then we’d say, okay, show me the law. Show me the rule that is written down somewhere that says that I can’t do that. And in nine times out of ten, nobody could. We had a lot of arguments about it, but it turned out it was. People’s opinions of banks really shouldn’t do that because there’s a bit of a risk. Because it’s new, it’s different. It’s not the way that banks work. When you actually take that out and you actually just pare it back to the regulation, the regulators just trying to protect the customer. If the customer is protected in what you’re trying to do, and it’s actually the core of what you’re doing, shouldn’t be a problem at all to innovate.

Alex: I think it’s an industry that is known for being maintaining, let’s say, existing processes and systems. And so I think this must have been a big shake up for them.

Andrew: It is it’s a huge change when you’ve always done it that way. Then there’s a natural again, it’s the Lindy effect. It’s you will always do it that way. We always talk about in business there’s all these scary numbers. About 20% of businesses that were standing ten years ago won’t be in business next year or whatever it is. Most banks have stood for hundreds of years in some form. They are immune in many cases to that sort of reactionary change, but it can create this resistance to change. In the end, though, the customers will drive it because the customers of today and tomorrow don’t want what the customers of yesterday wanted. They want a bank that really understands them, a financial institution that wants to engage with them in a personalised way on the channel of their choice, not necessarily the channel of the bank’s choice at the time that they want to be engaged in. You know, it doesn’t have to be something that appears through a door, through the letterbox every morning. It could be in the dead time on the way home, on the train. It could be in the five minutes that they’ve got during lunch, when they’ve just finished, and before the next meeting, they want to quickly check something. If they can’t do that, eventually people will start walking with their feet.

Alex: And do these processes affect how do they affect, let’s say, the content of those communications in terms of how specific they need to be to the client?

Andrew: It comes down to the relationship you want with the client. I know enough about you now to tailor the way that I’m going to explain something to you. I know roughly the sort of response that I want to expect back. Why can’t we do that with customer communications? Why can’t we make the experience the same sort of way? If you go into a branch, if you can find one that’s still open, then you will find a human being that will do all of that naturally, and they will form that relationship with you. They will tailor everything that they do towards your exact needs, and they will tell you exactly what you need to know. As we’re making people redundant in the banking world, you know, 50% of the cost of banks is in the humans that run them. We’ve got to find a way of replacing that. We can’t just send people generic terms and conditions, documents that that are massive. And always I always talk about the longest one that I ever saw was 35,000 words longer than Romeo and Juliet, not 35,000 words long, 35,000 words longer than a 2.5 hour Shakespeare play. Who’s going to read it? Who’s going to engage with that? Who’s going to feel like they they really know them because nobody needs all of those terms.

Andrew: Mhm. You’ve got to be able to personalise everything down to the exact needs of the customer, using the right software across all the different channels. You can certainly do that because it just requires you to pull the data in and make decisions based off that and say, say, which channel is it going to be based off their their usage and their preferences? It’s going to be a digital channel because that’s what the customer wants. Are they digitally native? Are they digitally mature? No. Okay. Maybe I need to put a little bit more information in there to make sure that they know how to do whatever I’m asking them to do. Maybe I need to give them a really easy, step by step way of actually communicating back with us through some simple form on that digital website. Another customer knows exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been using internet banking since customer number one on that platform. They know exactly how to navigate. I can make it complete. Same communication, completely different, but I can still get the same result. It’s all about thinking about the customer, rather than thinking about just those generic processes that that need to take place.

Octavian: So how can a focus on compliance transformation contribute to a better customer experience?

Andrew: I think it’s about turning compliance and regulation on its head. Like I say, compliance and regulation is there for two reasons to keep banking and and the organisation stable and to protect the customer in that sort of David versus Goliath sort of thing. If you look at those customer experience focused regulations as an opportunity rather than a challenge, then actually you can achieve enormous things. Now, the natural way of looking at regulations is how little can I possibly do to meet that regulation and then carry on with doing my job exactly the same way that I did it today. And that’s got to change. That’s the bit that that has to be changed. You have to look at it and say, what was the underlying principle of this? What were what was the problem that caused a regulator to go out and actually say, we need to codify something that protects our customers in this way? That’s how we meet this. There’s the bar. How much further can we go? How much higher can we get? If you suddenly start looking at that as an opportunity, customers will genuinely appreciate it and you start to end up in a position where customers actually love you. Yeah. Now how many people can say they love their bank? Some of the neobanks do, but the traditional banks probably not so much. And they have a bigger customer base. They have a bigger fund for this sort of innovation. If they choose to do so, there is an opportunity for them to go out there and really do that. But it’s all about thinking about regulation as an opportunity rather than. As a blocker and a how quickly can we get past this and carry on with our day job?

Alex: But embracing making things better in a way.

Andrew: Yeah, look at that underlying principle. You know, rather than saying, what do we need to do? It’s what should we do based off this? How could we make this really, really good? Rather than how can we be compliant? Whenever you see people do that, whether it’s in banking or in any other industry, you see real change happen, whether it’s in the the classics of the Amazons and the apples or whether it’s in some of the smaller organisations. You know, the local corner shop that makes sandwiches has to be compliant with food safety hygiene, but actually they can go beyond that and they can make you feel really welcome in a different way. By by doing all of that and doing it so much better, and they get more customers than the ones that just do the absolute minimum. It’s the same everywhere in every industry.

Alex: What is one advice that you’d give banks, traditional banks or new banks when it comes to utilising better communication strategies to differentiate themselves?

Andrew: Mhm. Great question. I would say think two things. The first one is when was the last time anyone ever said I received a communication from a bank? It was amazing. And the second one is what’s holding you back from doing that. Because banks have got the money, you know. Yes. They, you know, by not spending frivolously they, they keep their revenue, but they’ve got plenty of, of opportunities in that innovation budget to really change it. Why not. You’ve really got to think about what that future state should look like and what that change would be in terms of not just the customer experience, but in positive revenue or in cost saved, you know, in things that banks would traditionally really appreciate. How many, how many more customers would be on board as a result of word of mouth advertising? Because we really got the way that we interact with our our customer base, right? The way that we connect with them, the way that we form those relationships. How much money would we save in terms of not needing to staff so many people in contact centers to answer questions from people that didn’t understand critical interactions, and where relationships were breaking down? How many complaints people are we having to deal with, where people are just so sick of the way that they don’t understand things, that they’re ready to leave or they’re ready to move? Let’s face it, in in the current environment, it’s easier than ever to move your money between banks, whether you actually close the account or not.

Andrew: You know you can leave the account open. You can just switch the money and, you know, tens of thousands every day now. So you end up in a position where where you can lose a lot of customers really, really easily. Communications can really change all of that. But you have to think about what good looks like and then what is holding you back. I think a lot of the organisations will find it’s it’s two things. It’s the technology, because as we talked about, there’s this proliferation of tech, these channel specific legacy solutions that just aren’t allowing people to to really do what they want. And then there’s the organisational structure that comes with it. The fact that the communications team are rarely linked to the customer experience team, even though 60 to 80% of the communications are.

Alex: It’s a major part of the customer journey, the communications.

Andrew: Exactly how much change could you make if your customer experience team was the customer communication team? If they could look at it and say, well, we’ve used this journey map and we’ve identified that there’s a missing communication just here. There’s there’s a real drop in the emotion. Let’s go and create one. Not let’s have to get a budget and ten different teams worth of people aligned in it and then beg, borrow and steal resource to actually make it happen within the next two years before the customer experience has changed yet again. You can actually do something straight away. You link those two teams together and things can start to change if you’ve got the right tech underneath it.

Alex: Nowadays, when looking at systems, obviously security is one of the number one, let’s say, things that are being discussed and obviously when it comes to communications is, I think, a major, let’s say, consideration. How can, let’s say maintain secure communication when you’re offering that level of personalisation?

Andrew: Again, I don’t think they’re they’re exclusive. Your personalisation of the communication, as long as it’s on a secure channel, can be be highly detailed. WhatsApp is a fully secure channel. The fact that someone’s chatting between the two on it, and you might be revealing a lot of personal information, doesn’t mean the rest of the world can see it. So it becomes about common sense, really, and understanding how people will secure their own data at the other end, that there’s a natural view that if, strangely enough, but print is considered to be the the fully secure channel, you think about the amount of people that touch that mail, that piece of information between the time it’s created and the time that it receives on your doorstep. It’s probably the least secure. Assuming that you’re not sending someone’s bank statement via a public YouTube video or something like that. But yeah, digital digital communications can be highly secure. You’ve just got to make sure you get the permissions from the customer that you know, that the customer is perfectly happy with you doing that, and that they understand their responsibility at the other end as well. If they don’t, then things are slightly different. You know, the days of the family having their own email address for what? Everyone in the family, they’re probably long gone. Everyone has their own personal. Email address now, so emails are secure. But if you find a customer that is potentially a slightly different position, they don’t understand that you need to educate them. You need to explain to them if you’re going to send them something on email that everyone in your family uses, that inbox might be able to see it. Are you okay with that? As long as you’ve got those common sense rules in place, I think security isn’t a major issue. And assuming let’s say you’ve you’ve done the basics, you’re not actually just sort of plastering someone’s pin number on the side of a building, that sort of thing.

Alex: Is it a big struggle for banks, you think, to educate the customer at the same time as they’re giving them all these focus, let’s say, freedoms or preference?

Andrew: I think the customers often, often a lot more intelligent than we we let them on, or that they let on. The key thing is just making sure that we remind them of those responsibilities that they don’t. You sit in an office and you’re constantly surrounded by things saying, lock your PC. You know, don’t leave things unattended. You’re in a secure place. In theory, nobody should be accessing your account for any sort of nefarious purposes. But we still do it. We’re still secure, and it just needs a bit of a reminder every so often around the walls just for people to do it. It’s the same with with customers. We’ve just got to keep making sure that they understand. We are going to send you on this channel something which is highly secure. Don’t go around leaving it unlocked, don’t go around, don’t go, you know, stick your Twitter account or your ex account in a public library. log on and just leave it there when we’re going to send you something. Not that I advocate using necessarily using Twitter public messages to send personal information, but you know, the principle there.

Octavian: And that concludes the end of the episode. Thank you to everyone for listening. I’ve been Octavian and I hope you’ve enjoyed the conversation. Let us know what you think by carrying on the conversation on LinkedIn. This episode has been brought to you by ACF technologies global leaders in customer Experience Management solutions. Now let’s get into some quick fire questions. Do you prefer summer or winter? Winter, winter.

Andrew: It’s my birthday and winter. Both of of our children are born in winter, so. And there’s Christmas there as well. So we get a pretty much a two month spread of of constant parties and facilities. Yeah, I’m all for winter. A lot.

Octavian: Of celebration. Do you prefer concerts or cinemas?

Andrew: Concerts?

Octavian: Yeah. Have you gone to any good ones?

Andrew: Yes, but none that you’ll really recognize. I’m a classically trained cornet and trumpet player. Okay. From another previous life. So I have a very eclectic music taste. I always used to say that the person who stole my iPod back in the day would be very, very disappointed. 600 brass band tracks or something like that on it. But yeah, I always like the the really unusual concerts where you get a slightly different audience rather than the big rock and pop ones.

Octavian: So more instrumental based.

Andrew: Yeah, classical that, that, that sort of stuff.

Octavian: What is your favorite cuisine?

Andrew: I’m really easy to please. Fish chips, mushy peas.

Octavian: Okay.

Andrew: So bread and butter and either a cup of tea or a glass of Coca Cola. I’ve traveled all over the world, I’ve eaten some of the finest restaurants and they’re wonderful. But tonight when I get home, we might be having some fish and chips.

Octavian: You just can’t beat it.

Octavian: Yeah. Classic. What is your favorite sport?

Octavian: Football.

Andrew: Football. I’m a Sheffield United fan, so you might argue that maybe I’m not a football fan after all. Yeah, I was, I was raised to support Sheffield United. My my dad’s a Sheffield United fan. I’ve been a season ticket holder for many years.

Octavian: That’s fair enough.

Andrew: We go to every home game now and my my seven year old son comes and sits with us now. So you’ve got three generations of the family. Plus my sister and her kids come as well. So there’s a, there’s a full section at Bramall Lane that’s for the Stevens family.

Octavian: Oh that’s nice. Yeah, we really enjoy it.

Octavian: That’s good that you managed to get your son to get involved with it as well. Seven because I’m trying to get my little brother. He’s he’s eight I’m trying to get him into football. He just. No, no.

Andrew: We found it really easy. The first game that he went to for many years, when I went, my dad would bring me, you know, things to draw on and that sort of stuff. He says, if you ever saw me draw another picture of a floodlight, he’d kill me. But these days, you see kids with their, you know, Nintendo Switch or anything like that, playing on their phones. I took James and in the first half, we we were one all. It was okay. He was quite interested. We stuck five goals in in the second half. And we went home having won six two. He thought every game was going to be like that.

Octavian: Yeah.

Andrew: With all jumping around and celebrating. So he wanted to go.

Octavian: Back for the second game. That makes sense. Yeah.

Andrew: And those seasons, we were we were playing very well. We were at the top of the league, so he hardly saw us lose. So it’s slightly different this season. Maybe the less said about that, the better.

Octavian: But yeah.

Andrew: We’re on a roll now.

Octavian: If you had to choose any team in the Premier League to support, who would it be.

Andrew: Other than Sheffield United.

Octavian: Yeah of course, of course.

Andrew: See my second teams Yeovil. So it’s the exact opposite of the Premier League. Um I really struggle to support any of them.

Octavian: Is there no style of football that you see a team? And you’re like, that is nice. Like that’s good.

Andrew: You have to appreciate the very best teams, the Manchester City’s of the world. When you watch them come to Bramall Lane and they turn football into an art form, you know, there is there is something about the way that they move where you just sit there and I don’t even know what formation they’re playing because it just changes every 30s. Yeah, yeah. So I certainly appreciate that. And having seen some of the greatest players of all time come and play against Sheffield United and generally score against us, but yeah, it’s it’s always nice to to come and see them play, even if we go home wanting to drown our sorrows a little.