By Arthur Moan, Vice President of Customer Success EU at UserZoom

The financial sector is currently experiencing the full effects of digital transformation, like many other industries across the country. Financial technology, better known as fintech, has exploded over the last 5 years, and finance and banking are being transformed by innovations like peer-to-peer models, crowdfunding, and contactless payments.

In the consumer finance space, today, new software algorithms price and rate credit. Paperless processing eliminates the frustrating paper pushing between retailer, borrower and lender. And simple and seamless financing apps offer loan approval, transparent pricing and terms on the spot, making the approval process quick and hassle free.

Furthermore, in the eyes of many consumers, the industry is still suffering from the aftermath of the 2008 crash and a raft of mis-selling and price fixing scandals have combined to erode people’s belief in financial institutions. It’s an erosion of trust which some executives have argued will take a generation to restore.

UX as a differentiator

In this context, companies in the financial services sector are increasingly new e-commerce strategies that require adopting new technology tools and services. Mastering user experience is emerging as a major theme as many finance executives are feeling immense pressure to devise the perfect customer experience—an experience that takes advantage of digitisation to provide customers with cross-channel, targeted, just-in-time product or service information in an effective and seamless way.

As more consumers use mobile phones, tablets, and other digital devices to make basic financial transactions, user experience is seen as an important differentiator in an increasingly competitive market.

MoneySuperMarket, the largest price comparison website operating in the UK, is an example of a company that is putting customer experience at the heart of its digital asset designs. The company’s business model means that customers don’t actually buy anything on the MoneySuperMarket website because they are directed from the results page to the insurer’s site to make the final purchase. Nevertheless good user experience must be at the heart of this journey in order to improve conversion rates. Key to good UX is insight gained through research, and it is Moneysupermarket’s emphasis on this process that has seen it cement its position in as one of the leading financial services comparison site.

The power of research

Adopting cutting edge tools that are successful in e-commerce, Moneysupermarket has taken a more forensic approach to user research to champion design-led thinking within the business in order to help solve customer problems in new and innovative ways.

In particular, its use of remote usability testing, with task-based research, has been used to test more frequently, on a larger scale and at an earlier stage in the design process, enabling it to influence and inform the design changes.

While many online financial sites and other e-commerce platforms run multivariate (MVT) tests in the form of response forms and surveys on their lives sites as a means of getting large scale user feedback, this process can be flawed as it only allows for responses to be gaged once design changes have been made.

MoneySupermarket’s use of remote testing and its ability to gather feedback from participants, in addition to MVT testing, however, ensured there was also reliable and scaled quantitative feedback gained during early design iterations before any changes were made to the site, saving valuable development time and ensuring improvements could be made at a faster rate.

The range of testing has included putting customers through journeys online and recording the sessions to see how they navigate on the pages. It also comprised card sorting tests which are designed to find out which elements of web design, layout and the overall journey are important to customers.

Empowering change

MoneySuperMarket is testing more people than ever before and is using the insights gained from the research to create a smooth, seamless online experience for its customers. By testing earlier and continuously through the development cycle, the research has been credited with the successful design and implementation of a number of key, revenue generating projects, including a redesign of the car insurance content on the site.

Through the insight and intelligence gathered, MoneySuperMarket has been able to maintain its high conversion rates and stay ahead of the competition by focussing on customer needs. The company’s UX team now relies on customer feedback as a core part of its development processes for its digital assets. Because insight is fed into the design team quickly, the team can make changes quickly and efficiently and the company can stay on top of the latest industry trends in the rapidly changing consumer finance market.

The forces that are reshaping financial services are clear to see: a shift towards a demand-driven model centred around consumer priorities. Companies than focus on UX will continue to have a competitive advantage in the efforts to create a smooth, seamless online experience for customers.

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