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Transforming Banking Customer Experience Fully Remotely

The crisis we are facing has fast-forwarded the finance industry several years ahead. In just a few days, a great digital customer experience became the main differentiator between demanded financial products and failures. Companies that overcame the COVID-19 crisis successfully were the ones that digitalized quickly and focused all their efforts on creating a user experience that would serve their customers in these harsh times. All of this was accomplished remotely for the most part, due to the strict gathering restrictions, proving it's possible to execute voluminous transformations 100% remotely.

The technological advancements of today provide us with superpowers. It's possible to execute a thorough UX transformation of a financial company 100% independently of location. In fact, for the past five years, we have been doing just that, executing digital transformations and improving the user experience, independently of thousands of kilometers that separate us from our clients. 

In this article, I want to take you on a step-by-step journey of the UX transformation process that's executed 100% remotely. 

COVID19 - an accelerator of digital transformation in banking

We all well know that every financial institution that is willing to succeed in the digital age has to focus on the digital customer experience as their number one priority. 

During the Covid-19 there was a joke circulating the social media with a question “Who led the digital transformation of your company?” and the following reply options -  A) CEO B) CTO C) COVID-19” where COVID-19 is circled. It might seem funny but actually, in many cases it is indeed true.

Prior to the crisis, some managed to digitize fully and some partially. Others resorted to different kinds of excuses, most often related to their deeply rooted legacy and bureaucracy, telling themselves that there is still time left, and they don't need to hurry with improving the experience and development of the digital channels. For the latter group, the crisis turned out to be the most difficult to overcome. Those who failed to understand the importance of user-centricity and chose to make only a superficial visual transformation at the top level are facing a wide range of difficulties, as their digital products are visually appealing but largely unusable. 

Meanwhile, those who started with a deep transformation of their mindset and inner culture, shifting it toward user-centricity and exploring users’ needs to get served remotely from the comfort of their home will come out of the crisis as winners. They probably tasted the sweet fruits of victory much sooner than they had expected these investments to pay off.

How to remotely create a successful financial product with UX design

More and more often we hear predictions of a possible second wave of the Covid-19, so financial institutions should be prepared for effective and quick digitalization that's possible to execute remotely. 

Any thorough financial UX transformation consists of seven crucial stages, each with its own role in ensuring overall success.


The seven steps you need to take toward bridging the gap between a failed and successful digital financial product are:

1. Make sure your team has a united vision 

Together with the team, explore your business model and discover the unique value of your financial product. Make sure that you are all on the same page about why you are creating this product and what its future perspective entails.

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Disagreements among stakeholders and team members

  • Unclear goals and expectations that lead to conflicts and slow down the overall process

  • Chaotic, ineffective action plan

Action plan:

  • Conduct a stakeholders’ interview prepared and led by an experienced UX architect

  • Create a product audit and research

  • Conduct thorough research on your competitors

2. Define the expectations of your product's users

Study the psychology, expectations, needs and pain points of your end users and define a clear context for your product, ensuring it will be loved and demanded.

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Customers being disappointed with your product

  • Negative reviews on social media

  • Low product ratings in the App Store and Google Play

  • Losing customers to competitors

Action plan:

  • Define the key user personas

  • Create empathy maps for each of the user personas

  • Define the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD)

  • Conduct a Red Route analysis (see graphic below)



3. Create a match between your financial product and the users

Engineer the ultimate experience of your financial product by focusing 100% on the users. Make their goals as effortless and easy to achieve as possible. 

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Struggle due to the complexity of the product

  • Difficulties that take extra time and effort

  • Ignored or sabotaged business goals

Action plan:

  • Map a user journey with a BUP holistic frame

  • Engineer information architecture 

  • Create user flows

  • Make banking wireframes 

  • Conduct user testing



4. Create a visual identity of your financial product that WOWs

Form a visual identity of your digital product based on the unique goals of your business, the essence of the brand and the character of its users. In this way, you form an emotional bond between your product and the customers. 

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Being outdated and boring 

  • Not differentiating yourself from your competitors

  • A product that doesn’t match brand values 

Action plan:

  • Conduct design research

  • Generate a Design Mood Board 

  • Create the Key Concept 


5. Craft a full visual prototype

Demonstrate the experience of your product before it's even launched. Envision interactions in motion and prepare omnichannel clickable screens, so your product is fully ready for testing in the hands of real users.

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Developmental struggles 

  • Faulty estimations 

  • Bad usability and lack of demand 

Action plan:

  • Craft an omnichannel UI design 

  • Provide a click-through UI prototype

  • Deliver a cutting-edge motion design

6. Make sure to have a systematic UX implementation

Create a UX design guide for your product that ensures a quick and effective handover of the UX and UI deliverables to your developers so that they can start working on it immediately. All deliverables and elements compiled in a design system book allow everyone to be on the same page and develop the product further with ease. 

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Slowed developmental process

  • Inconsistency of flows, modules and channels

  • Miscommunication among the team

Action plan:

  • Create the UX/UI design system 

  • Form a motion design system

  • Prepare design documentation



7. Ensure UX guidance throughout the development process 

UX design support and development supervision allows your team to go full speed in delivering a top-notch product to your customers and avoids any mistakes in UX implementation.

This eliminates the risk of:

  • Design implementation errors

  • User frustration caused by the end product

  • Lack of user-centricity on the development team

Action plan:

  • Organize UX consulting and support for the development

  • Supervise the development work 

  • Implement UX design improvements based on user feedback

Digital banking ecosystem is your key to unlocking success

Effective execution of all of these seven stages will allow you to create a digital banking ecosystem that ensures the best possible customer experience across all of your financial products. 

Unfortunately, many banks are on the verge of failing because they focus on digitizing their products separately. Each digitization project within a single financial institution might have its own team of project managers and designers working on it, executing different visions and setting different goals. This causes fragmentation within the organization that might not harm the financial institution from the inside but will definitely have a negative impact on the customers. This is because customers see the experience as a connected, holistic flow, not separate fragments, and fragmentation breaks the customer experience by causing a lot of struggle and confusion. 

I believe creating and developing a digital banking ecosystem is the only way for banking to ensure a successful digital transformation, as it ensures a smooth, connected flow of a delightful experience that the customers expect.

Check out my blog about financial and banking UX design >>



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