Duncan Keene, UK managing director of UX analytics platform ContentSquare, shares his insights on what Monzo’s doing right and how to stay ahead of the pack
The meteoric rise in online banking, spearheaded in the UK by challenger-bank Monzo, is news to no one in the banking sector, but it’s important to take stock of just how significant this shift in consumer habits really is: according to the consultancy firm CACI, current account customers visited their bank branch 427 million times in 2015, a figure that is eclipsed by the 1.6 billion times consumers checked their details on a mobile app or website. With the BBC reporting that the UK has lost 40% of its bank and building society branches since 1989, it’s clear that the industry is changing beyond recognition for many.
In an age where the public is more prepared to conduct their banking online rather than in-branch, traditional banks are struggling to build user-friendly apps and websites. Look at HSBC: despite being one of the largest multi-national retail banks in the world, their mobile app scores only 1.5/5 on average on the Apple store.
Most traditional banks either have very little idea how their users are interacting or if they do, they’re unsure of how to capitalise on this information. They’re in danger of being overtaken by a new, upstart breed of services which have a very different idea of what modern consumers want and need out of banking.
Monzo: what’s the big deal?
Launched in 2015, Monzo bills itself as the answer to consumer banking nightmares. The bank places the smartphone at the centre of the banking experience, cutting out the headache of having to stand in line to make a bank transfer or waiting on the phone for 10 minutes to cancel your card. All these things, minor irritations though they are, can now be eliminated with the tap on the screen.
As Tom Blomfeld, co-founder of Monzo, argues, “every bank claims to be customer-centric, and they are invariably not. They’re product-centric.” Blomfeld understands what modern users want and need: no fuss, no hassle solutions to conventional banking. Monzo has the numbers to demonstrate the value of this approach: their average customer review on app stores is 4 / 5, miles ahead of the competition, and their recent £19.5 million institutional funding round was topped up by the fastest crowdfunding round in history, with £1 million raised in a staggering 96 seconds.
Bringing UX to finance
UX is fast coming to define success for banks, but they’re still struggling to hit the mark. Most financial brands rely heavily on traditional analytics provided by free services such as Google Analytics, but in reality, these kinds of services aren’t good enough at providing actionable insights to cater to such demanding online audiences. It’s no longer enough to just know how many customers are dropping out of the funnel at a particular stage, you need to know why this is happening as well.
Newer analytics solutions place a greater emphasis on the UX aspects of service design, tracking innovative new behaviours like click repetition, scroll rate, hesitancy rate and time before first click. These metrics can help banks start to understand the ROI of specific pieces of content: different elements on a site have different goals, and it’s important this is taken into account.
Content teams may spend huge amounts of time creating a beautiful set of hero banner images or on producing carefully curated loan or insurance information. But they’ve got to ask themselves the question, are visitors actually engaging with the content? The majority of consumer behaviour happens before users even click on the website for the first time, so it’s really important to track metrics which tell you how people are actually behaving on-site, and whether employees are directing their attention towards the right areas of the site.
User experience is the new USP, and, as Monzo has demonstrated, brands that get UX right can reap huge rewards, especially with Millennials, whose spending power is increasing by the year. With all this talk of ‘experiences’ you’d be forgiven for thinking UX is all about intuition, but it’s anything but: great UX isn’t something that should be done by instinct or ‘gut-feel’, it must be a gradual process, informed by user data. This measured, data-driven approach won’t turn you into the next Monzo overnight, but your customers will take notice and you’ll start seeing real improvement to your online conversion rates soon enough.