Case Studies

Alison Jackson – TitleMax

Credit’s due TitleMax’s construction boss

Rumors of the demise of post-pandemic person-to-person contact have been greatly exaggerated. So believes Alison Jackson as she lays the groundwork for TitleMax’s stores of the future.

The brand experience is still physical at its core because it allows the business to deliver a powerful and personalized customer experience. While this consumer lending company has the means to serve clientele online, Jackson emphasizes it’s not compromising personal service.

Alison Jackson | Senior Director, Construction | TitleMax

Alison Jackson | Senior Director, Construction | TitleMax | Downtown Savannah, GA, outside corporate headquarters

“Customers want to be heard and understood,” she says. “They want a company’s services to fit their needs and their lives.”

TitleMax’s clientele often has limited, if any, credit options from traditional lenders. Applying for a short-term emergency personal loan or title-secured loan or pawn is something many prefer to do in person, especially with the funds available quickly.

“That’s what separates us from other companies—our customer experience, our face-to-face service,” Jackson says. “It’s a sensitive matter when people’s lives take a turn that dictates the need for short-term emergency funds. In our business, it’s all about building relationships and knowing our customers so we can provide them with the opportunities and options they need.”

Creating Experiences

Effective store design is an essential building block in garnering strong relationships and enhancing the customer experience, which is the glue that holds these relationships together, she says. To create exceptional customer experiences, they also focus on the employee experience within the workspace through construction buildout, facilities management and operational support.

Alison Jackson | Senior Director, Construction | TitleMax

Jackson with Josette DiBlasio, Licensing Manager; meeting as part of the corporate Team Up! Mentorship program

“We believe that engaged employees deliver exceptional service and build stronger customer relationships when they’re working in a quality workspace designed to provide a positive and collaborative atmosphere,” Jackson says.

A member of the TitleMax construction crew for over a dozen years and its senior director since June 2021, Jackson’s now soliciting input from colleagues while renovating the headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, and its corporate counterpart in Carrollton, Texas. Afterward, there will be some tweaking to the interiors and exteriors of TitleMax and its sister brands, TitleBucks and InstaLoan, in nearly 1,000 leased retail locations across 15 states. Jackson, well-schooled in interior design and 21 years of professional practice in the design/build industry, is keen on spearheading the projects.

CX design blueprints

As the company’s products and services evolve, she says the needs of staff and clients do as well, and she must accommodate. With the planning still in progress, Jackson couldn’t discuss specifics, but provides a high-level vision.

“We like to keep our brand looking professional, clean, uncluttered, and comfortable and are excited about adding a modern twist,” she says.

When Blueprint caught up with Jackson in August, she and her 22-member team were partnering with the human capital department for input on everyone’s needs and wants.

Alison Jackson | Senior Director, Construction | TitleMax

Various corporate employees visiting a store during the annual National Hiring Day event

“We use our internal customer service skills to support our coworkers and deliver workspaces that allow them to effectively communicate and collaborate,” she explains. “Our team brings a wide variety of backgrounds and thought processes to the table, which has been integral as we work on mapping out and improving the people experience.”

And about her hires?

“I hope they’re hungry for more knowledge and experience,” Jackson says. “They can lean on me for input, but I want to see them grow.”

This new project will bring many opportunities for them to do so when redesigning the storefronts, she adds. Jackson wants them to join her in reimagining the in-store customer experience and how it’s changed since TitleMax’s founding more than 20 years ago.

“Design touches every aspect of the in-store experience,” she says. “It narrates the brand and product story.”

Jackson stresses the need for a good first impression and collaborates with other departments in identifying objectives and developing avenues for how that design will manifest. She’s always up for viewing an office or store through a customer’s eyes.

“We look at it from every angle, so we are prepared with innovative design strategies that truly engage customers and differentiate their experience,” she says.

Having a working knowledge of the wired world, she’ll collaborate with the infotech experts for upgrades on that front to help bridge the gap between the in-store and online experience. It’s all part of being a modern construction director working to meet the dynamic needs of customers.

Builder at heart

The mission and opportunities that TitleMax has afforded her for professional growth have kept Jackson at the company longer than her four previous roles combined. Growing up as a self-sufficient Kentucky farm girl and, years later, working in a flower shop to help pay her college tuition, Jackson earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Savannah College of Art and Design, after initially matriculating at the University of Kentucky. 

Alison Jackson | Senior Director, Construction | TitleMax

At the local equestrian facility where Jackson volunteers and assists the Owner/Head Trainer

“I had equal appreciation for science and art,” she says. “I learned to value both the construction technology and the design development processes.”

Both sides of her brain will be duly utilized by the time this current project is completed and having performed manual labor on the farm, she says no task can intimidate her.

“I’ve never been afraid to try anything,” says this married mother of a 16-year-old daughter whom she says is also a go-getter. “Every day my goal is to build something. Whether that be a build-out of a store or a new workspace plan, or I’m building up my team to complete a goal, or even building my daughter’s confidence in herself; I build to positively impact other’s experiences.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. IX 2023 Edition here.

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