The Polish banking market is one of the leading European markets in terms of the development of contactless payments. In 2014, Poland was also in the sixth place in the European Union in terms of e-banking penetration (52.3% vs the EU average of 40%). Whilst the products for individual clients are fairly well described and the needs of the target group are known, corporate banking is still unexplored. Banks lack information on how their services compare in terms of quality compared to the solutions proposed by the competition. Therefore, we decided to carefully examine individual solutions in the field of internet banking and corporate customer service.
The main objective of the project was to check: what solutions are used in online banking, what banks offer their clients as an added value, what are the best practices in terms of usability, where critical problems arise.
What and how we studied
The main objective of the project was to check:
- what solutions are used in online banking
- what banks offer their clients as an added value
- what are the best practices in terms of usability
- where critical problems arise.
The result was a report summarizing the market situation, current solutions, problems, along with a list of guidelines for introducing improvements and changes contributing to a higher level of customer satisfaction.
The study lasted over 6 months, during which we conducted 48 interviews with users, we conducted over 360 hours of analysis and we have established almost 200 contacts with customer service in selected leading banks in Poland.
Customers are willing to pay 4, 5 times more for better customer service
Focusing on customer experience is especially important in the case of large organizations due to the complex customer service process and the multitude of communication channels. Online banking users do not perceive it as a separate entity from helpdesk or bank branches. Therefore, neither should we. Therefore, we decided to extend our study with additional dimensions and techniques that helped us to examine not only the online platforms of banks, but also the entire customer experience at each stage of using the service – from sending an inquiry, through selecting an offer, concluding a contract, ending with the implementation of key
This is a very disadvantage of the bank, because the bank itself, as an organization, may have good products, may have a good reputation, may have good customer service, and all this is lost in the fact that the element of the bank, which I will most often contact, reduces drastically this desire to use. The platform itself can make me change bank.
3 phases of the project
The project was divided into 3 parts: 1. Onboarding – how is the first contact, signing the contract, creating an account, first logging in. We have verified what is happening with the client before he gets access to the current account. We checked how the contact with the bank proceeds after sending the first inquiry via the form on the website (response time, waiting time for data to log in to the system). An important element of this stage was also checking the level of intuitiveness of the process and customer experience during the first login to the system, which is usually slightly different from the standard login. 2. Usability audits and offer review – verification of the effectiveness of the offered products After analyzing the onboarding process, we focused on online banking systems. For this purpose, we conducted a series of usability audits based on UX heuristics and the cognitive journey method. We also looked at the accompanying items offered under the contract, as well as the banks’ price lists. As problems arose, we were able to see how the support services were working and whether they were properly supporting the client. 3. User tests – how do customers use internet banking systems? Based on the knowledge gathered during usability audits, we created scenarios containing the most popular and potentially problematic tasks that users perform while working with systems. During the entire research and analysis process, we collected data related to all e-mails, meetings and phone calls that were carried out, as well as information on the tokens and cards necessary to service the accounts.
Combining methods — the key to in-depth knowledge about the user
Due to the innovative scope of the study, it was necessary to combine traditional methods, such as usability audit or task tests with users, with marketing know-how. Mystery shopper A very important element of the project, especially in its first part, were numerous visits to bank branches to sign the contract. To investigate this part of customer service, we decided to use the mystery shopper technique – based on previously prepared scenarios, we verified how the meetings were conducted by simulating real customer problems. We also used this method to obtain interesting data on the call center or helpdesk. It allowed us not only to broaden the knowledge about the user with the history of his contacts with the bank, but also it was a rare opportunity to view the bank’s internal procedures. Documentation – formal basis of the client’s relationship with the institution We have assessed various types of documents in order to check whether they are legible and understandable for a person without legal or banking education. We assessed nearly 500 pages of text for language and appearance. We paid attention to the clarity and simplicity of the vocabulary, while checking the length and correctness of grammatical structures. Plain language rules were the key determinant of a customer-oriented language. We also assessed the layout of elements on the pages, which affects the readability of documents.
Interdisciplinary team – support with the knowledge of specialists
To ensure the highest level of implementation, we consulted the project with many specialists, including: Customer service experts and service designers – they helped us design the study, apply and adapt new methods and analyze the results, supporting us with years of experience in a pro-customer approach. Business analyst – economists and banking specialists who brought their substantive knowledge of the industry to the project.
Result – image of the client in contact with the institution
In addition to a very detailed market analysis, we also obtained a complete picture of the user and his contacts with the bank. The combination of UX and CX made it possible to assess the suitability of online banking systems as part of a larger ecosystem where all elements are interconnected and are essential for customer satisfaction. Telephone service Helpdesks and other telephone services are a good example of this. In case of problems, it was the first place users tried to contact for help. In banks where they worked flawlessly, even serious problems generated by critical errors on websites were solved quickly and efficiently. At the same time, even the smallest problem grew to enormous dimensions when the consultant misled the customer or when the customer was switched from one hotline to another. Customer advisors played a similar role in the ecosystem. Their actions very often blocked or accelerated processes such as adding a new user or introducing a new product. It was important that these activities very often had a huge impact on the assessment of online banking customers. Two types of clients – two types of assistance An interesting example is a fairly clear division between clients who approach solving problems indirectly (tutorials, FAQs, search engines, chats, e-mails) and direct (by calling helpdesks or call centers, contacting customer advisors and visiting bank branches). The key factor influencing the level of customer satisfaction was whether the bank offered solutions for both types of customers. The institution’s assessment was negative if the bank imposed face-to-face meetings. Impact of procedures on the bank’s image The impact of internet banking procedures on the bank’s overall image was very high. Customers tended to judge the way a bank operated based on what they saw on the screen. For example: one of the respondents considered that the need to select a bank branch in his banking system in order to access a given report means that the bank does not really have a centralized, but a distributed organization. These types of deductions can be really harmful as one wrong solution in online banking can not only frustrate the user but also make them lose faith in the credibility and security of the entire institution.
Remember that the user experience is not created at one point, but is the entire process and should be treated as such. Therefore, we always try to combine not only the interests of our clients and the needs of users, but also embed them in a wider environment. Only this approach guarantees comprehensive business support.
Emil Rzepiel, Co-Founder & Senior UX Designer at Overlap Studio
 http://blog.euromonitor.com/2016/08/poles-high-contactless-usage-spur-mobile-payments.html  https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-30528-8_9 https://www.forrester.com/Only+One+In+Five+Companies+Deliver+Good+Or+Great+CX/-/E-PRE9504