Last month, frog’s own Assistant VP of Strategy and Financial Services Lead, Toshi Mogi, moderated a panel at the Financial Health Network’s EMERGE Financial Health Forum on building and maintaining customer trust in the financial services industry. During the session, the panelists discussed different innovative methods to develop and grow user trust from day one—from brand strategy and research techniques to open communication and human-centric product design.
The panel opened with a conversation about how throughout the financial services industry, the digital experience generally doesn’t match up to customers’ expectations. Kylie Emers, Director of Customer Experience at Umpqua Bank (a bank known for dealing with their customers in the “right way”), discussed the process she went through to guide and convince internal stakeholders that they needed to elevate that aspect of their business. This resulted in the development of their Go-To app, a platform for secure direct texting with your banker. Toshi posits that this idea of creating personalization and transparency within the client-banker relationship could be pushed even further to open up more channels for communication via social media. Of course, as he notes in a recent article on the topic, “many are not ready to take that step in their social relationship with advisors. That may change soon.”
The conversation then shifted to the dichotomy of optimization and trust. Nabil Kazerouni, a senior product designer at Credit Karma noted that from his experience, the speed of the process for getting things like credit scores is so optimized, it makes it almost untrustworthy. Sometimes, these processes need to be slower in order to meet the customer’s expectation of how long things should take. This becomes a question of design—not just algorithms. Financial services organizations need to be thoughtful with their design because every moment of the customer experience has implications and expectations. It’s not just about optimization, sometimes slower is better because it’s perceived as more thorough and more importantly—more trustworthy.
Another theme that came up was the issue of trust and communication—specifically how to disclose the right information to customers without overwhelming them. Alex Mooradian, CEO of Resolve, a company that provides debt consolidation and bankruptcy services, finds it difficult to build trust in a field where the majority of the players are financially incentivized to refer their customers to a bankruptcy agency. In order to overcome this, Alex tries to make all of his communications with customers as transparent and personal as possible, giving them all of the information they need to make an informed decision. However, Alex has realized through experience that often, information overload can be detrimental to a customer. When it comes to transparency, it’s not just about showing the customer everything at once. It’s about providing a progressive disclosure of information while ensuring that the customer will always have access to all of the facts and analysis, without biasing them or directing them against their own self-interest.
The panel concluded with a conversation about the principles of financial services. Tanya Van Court, Founder and CEO of Goalsetter, a financial tool designed to teach the principles of financial services to kids, discussed how she had to earn trust from both the kids and their parents, who have very different expectations. There’s an underlying assumption that parents know the basics, but when it comes to sitting down and trying to teach financial health to their kids, they realize they don’t know it as well as they thought they did and decide to get more engaged. The gifs and animations embedded within the tool to appeal to a younger generation, but also resonate with the older generation as well.
Though personalization, optimization and progressive disclosure all play integral roles in creating trust, they don’t tell the whole story. To learn more about designing for trust in the digital age, download the full report here.