4 minutes, 33 seconds

28 September 2022

5 Questions for Stitch Head of Customer Solutions, Priyen Pillay

by Lucille Wilcox, Content Marketing Manager

Describe your job to a 10-year-old.

Let’s say you’re building a house. You’d probably need to outsource some pieces to experts – plumbers for the plumbing, and electricians for all the electrical work.

Similarly, Stitch provides some of the tools, or building blocks, that apps and websites need to put together their products. The customer solutions team helps people build payment solutions using these building blocks.

For example, if someone wants to sell a pair of shoes online, they don’t necessarily want to worry about how people are paying for those shoes or things like making sure that they got the money. With help from a tool like Stitch, they can focus instead on designing great shoes and making them better for their customers.

What’s your approach to customer solutions and onboarding new clients?

There are two main areas where we aim to offer value – the first is a more high-touch approach when customers begin their onboarding journey and the second is a low-touch approach after we’ve mapped out what they need.

First, we work closely with our customers to really understand their problems and see where and how we can solve them with our existing products. We also always take note of infrastructural pain points they might have and relay that back to our product and engineering team to see if there’s potential for us to alleviate those problems with engineering solutions.

Secondly, we help our customers integrate Stitch into their solution by providing them with the tools they can use to build efficiently on their own – while guiding them along the way. This empowers them to have a quick, easy and simple journey with Stitch in the onboarding phase. We do this by ensuring we have excellent developer docs, plugins, SDKs and code snippets.

Stitch was founded by developers, and as a developer myself, I want to make sure we offer a great developer experience. Often the developers are the ones who’ll see the product through, and if they do a good job at integrating, both parties really win.

At the end of the day, we’re always there to help our customers along their journey, but we also want them to be able to move at their own pace and have all the tools they need to perform a successful integration.

Why is infrastructure like Stitch so important for the continent? How do you envision the market when we’ve achieved our mission?

A lot of the current bank and financial infrastructure is fragmented and legacy-based, which makes it tough for people to interact with. It’s difficult for businesses to get the necessary banking relationships going, and because the tooling isn’t adequate, it’s incredibly difficult to actually build. They may also have to engage with multiple stakeholders in order to implement a solution that addresses all of their use cases.

With Stitch, we piece together all of those fragmented sections within the financial ecosystem, and we’re able to offer one simple interface for people to interact with. We try to make that journey and the experience as simple and as modern as possible to mitigate the need for people to spend tons of time and resources on connecting with banks themselves.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Stitch?

All of the people we work with. We have some of the brightest talent on the continent and beyond. Working with them on a daily basis is really engaging, and there’s never a challenge too tough or something we haven’t been able to conquer if we put our minds to it.

Specific to my role, working with the calibre of customers we have, and facing some of the toughest problems on the continent is incredibly rewarding. Often they’ve been working on these problems for months or even years and haven’t been able to move past a certain point.

For us to be able to come into the room and offer [clients] solutions or develop them together is amazing. To stay with them over time and watch their product grow, unlocking other parts of their business after helping them overcome a hurdle is really rewarding.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever built?

Besides Stitch, WigWag is the coolest thing I’ve built. Without WigWag, we wouldn’t have had Stitch. WigWag is a P2P payments platform that facilitates bank-to-bank transfers. We like to think of it as a fun way to split the bill with your friends at dinner, without having to use your card or process a manual EFT. Today we use WigWag internally, and Stitch powers the backend.

Also, one of my passion projects was for Childline in Kwa-Zulu Natal. We built an emergency button for children to contact emergency services or a counsellor if they were in distress. It also featured ways to distract themselves with a game or by receiving in-platform assistance, assurance or counselling.

It was the first end-to-end solution I’d ever worked on and the first real customer I’d interfaced with and built for. It was really inspiring to see how passionate the Childline team was and the impact this solution could have. It ignited a spark in me for doing non-profit work and having the ability to assist those most in need, which I try to do at any opportunity I get and hope to focus on more in the future.

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