Sal Hazday, COO: "I’m constantly looking for ways to make the jobs of our Loan Advocates and our Customer Advocates easier and more efficient."
Before joining the leadership team at OppLoans, I had worked almost exclusively for very large companies. I was looking forward to working with our CEO Jared, who I had worked with in the past, and I found the OppLoans story really exciting—that we were building a better company in what hasn’t always been a great industry. But for all the potential that this role held for me, I wasn’t sure how I would adapt to a much smaller startup environment.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that OppLoans wasn’t so different after all. Even with the explosive growth the company has seen over the nearly two years I’ve been here, I never felt like I was missing anything in terms of the infrastructure you’d find at a larger company. From the ground up, OppLoans was well-conceived and gave its employees the right tools to grow.
Actually, that’s selling us a bit short. From a business standpoint, we are firing on all cylinders—i.e., achieving great results across all functions, which isn’t easy to do. A lot of that comes down to hiring great people and creating the kind of environment that makes them want to stay. The service we bring to our customer base translates to the company culture, as well. We care a lot about our employees and, ultimately, happy employees result in happy customers.
As Chief Operating Officer, I’m responsible for most of the people-heavy functions in the business: I’m constantly looking for ways to make the jobs of our Loan Advocates and our Customer Advocates easier and more efficient.
When I first got here, there was a lot more “low-hanging fruit” for me to pick in terms of improving our processes. The longer I’ve been here, the more it has allowed me to dig deeper into my understanding of the company and how we can make it better. We’ve moved on from the low-hanging fruit to much bigger things.
We maintain a very non-hierarchical, open-door structure across the company. I encourage Loan Advocates and Customer Advocates to come to me with anything that they see, anything that they think could be a process improvement because I think that all the good ideas are already out there with our customer-facing teams. We just have to find them.
It’s usually the employees on the front line who know what’s wrong—who can tell you what’s working and what’s not working. A lot of my good ideas are really just the result of close observation and listening to employees when they tell me what they’re thinking or experiencing.
Even after two years at OppLoans, the one thing that still amazes me is how positive and appreciative our customers feel towards us. What we’re doing here is great, but it almost feels like common sense: We try to treat our customers well and get them to a resolution quickly. It’s not rocket science, just good execution and a foundational, philosophical belief in customer service.