Let’s start by looking at the traditional banks and branches. In pre-pandemic life, going to a bank to open a checking account or to withdraw money was normal. For the older generation, it was even a “place of familiarity” where bank tellers knew customers’ names and fostered relationships with them. This has been changing slowly over time already due to a more impersonal experience with fewer tellers and more automated machines doing the work of banking professionals.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and branches having to close or reduce their workforce, the banking sector was forced to accelerate their digitalization. But, it also presented new opportunities for digital banks to develop quickly. It feels like over the past year there have been so many new banks that opened up.
Whether you are an established bank or a new digital bank, you have one thing in common: user experience needs to be at the top of your list. If your user experience is bad or falling behind your competitors, your users will leave and literally take their money elsewhere.
In banking, user experience equals trust; customers do not want to give their money to a bank they cannot trust. Gone are the days where customers used to build personal relationships with local branches or have personal contact that can build that trust; technology has taken over and made the user experience more convenient, but less personable.
What can you do to build more trust with a better user experience?
- When it comes to online banking, a fast, smoothly running application is key. Performance should be a priority but also reducing bugs, the probability of online theft or any other mishaps that can occur. To help you mitigate problems, new features should be rolled out gradually and through the use of feature flags, which will allow you to toggle them on or off. Bug management is very important and using tools like Optimizely Rollouts can get you there.
- Experiment on your users directly through A/B testing in your app or on your site to understand how users navigate through your funnel. Make sure to observe micrometrics and not just macrometrics by seeing every test as a chance to learn more about your users and their behavior.
- Preventing frustration for your users is also essential. Make sure to guide your users every step of the way, especially during onboarding. Test how/where you can guide your users more or where they struggle by looking at your data points such as error messages, navigating back and forth, bounce/exit rates, etc.
- Clear and frequent communication with your users in the onboarding process can help reduce customer service messages or calls, as users are informed why they have not received a bank account yet or where they are in the process of approval. This will alleviate any frustration customers may experience due to ambiguous communication or lack thereof from the bank. When it comes to dealing with finances, customers want immediate answers so that they feel secure in knowing the bank has a handle on making sure every encrypted transaction is completed accurately and safely.
- Provide your users with clear error messages. Test different message types with various calls to action and colored action buttons to see what they respond to the most and feel most comfortable with.
FinTech is more than just banking; it also involves payment providers or tools such as Mollie, Stripe, Square, Venmo and the like. And, of course, brokers such as Robinhood or DeGiro. These companies are all aiming to meet the same goals of making their customers happy by helping them feel like they can trust whoever they choose to manage their finances and create convenience for making payments, deposits, transfers, taking out loans, etc.
That applies on any day, but especially during a pandemic when everyone is supposed to stay safely at home, and still be able to electronically manage their funds at the same time. Even after the world begins to open back up again, online banking should be ubiquitous and trustworthy.
Regardless of which area of FinTech you are involved in, gaining and sustaining your customers’ trust should be your main concern when running an experimentation program, especially now in a post-pandemic world with more digital users than ever before. It’s important to get an idea of their user experience and behavior so you can meet them halfway in satisfying their needs and concerns.
The finance industry saw a huge acceleration in their digital transformation through COVID-19. Now it is up to each banking institution to win the race and win customers. Doing it through optimal user experience and experimentation on a daily basis to stay on top of user trends in the industry will get you there.