Like most other consumer and business services, online banking has become a major part of the business landscape together with the opportunities and challenges this presents. Banking is a very competitive industry and it might be reasonable to think that this would have spurred banks on to producing excellence in their online offerings. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case; from security to access problems, limited functionality, services and navigation issues and a sluggish adaptation to new platforms such as tablet and mobile, the industry has mostly displayed the characteristics of old, conservative and innovation-averse organisations; user experience appears to have only risen up the agenda in very recent years.
In fact, consumer dissatisfaction with, and distrust of, the traditional banking sector grew so significant that several new entrants to the marketplace have emerged to challenge the established order, especially online. Companies such as Monzo and Tide are challenging the traditional operators using the very principles that they have generally spurned – user experience and customer needs. It is also interesting to note that in the latest consumer survey only one of the so-called big 5 banks (Santander) gets into the top 6.
Improving User Experience in Online Banking
The use of banking apps has certainly improved the image and reputation of the sector as some companies have belatedly realised the power of this particular segment and made big strides quite quickly in their offerings. So what else can the banking giants do to try to regain some of the lost ground in both business and reputation that has been diminished since the banking crisis and subsequent economic downturn?
Well here the major high streets could certainly learn from their new, smaller more agile online competitors. These banks have not only embraced the concepts of user experience and customer wants and service – they have made them the foundation of their business plan. Analysing customer needs and issues and designing services and websites that address these directly are the cornerstones of successful online financial services. The newer businesses have recognised this and used it to their advantage. Now the larger competitors need to adapt to this reality. Simply offering an app or an online provision that covering the same old services will not be sufficient in the future.
More forward-looking providers are considering how to give users more up-to-the-minute information and, therefore, more control over their finances. This includes offering facilities such as pending commitments and the ability to cancel purchases (especially late-night impulse purchases) which often cause customers to go into debt and overdraft. In addition detailed breakdown of spending and merchants used can also provide insights for customers into where there money is going and how to control it in the future. These all help the user to be in control and protect more vulnerable users from poor judgements or high-pressure sales techniques. Accessibility issues for disabled and less savvy or comprehending users are also innovations that need to be embraced and maintained in the financial sector.
If you are involved in financial (or any other) services and would like to know more about user-centric design and service provision, why not ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an exploratory, no-commitment chat.