User Experience (UX) is the overall experience of a person using a product, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use. A financial institution’s UX is composed of attitudes, emotions, opinions, values, and the ability to meet goals. Any transaction can become an Emotional Experience (EX) – which is what determines everything we do – and can heavily influence the UX.
A well-designed customer experience activates emotions that have an impact on customer loyalty. A great experience becomes intrinsically linked to the product or service itself. It is important that only positive emotions are triggered during the customer experience or there is a risk of damaging the customer relationship. Positive emotional experiences in banking create financial services that satisfy customers’ needs, both stated and implied, and generate customer loyalty.
Tech savvy customers are becoming a dominant segment of the market and have higher expectations from financial institutions than traditional banking customers. Customer-centered banking is expected along with innovative products, available digitally, 24 hours a day.
Factors that Influence UX
According to Peter Morville, a UX pioneer, there are “7 Factors that Influence the User Experience” in relation to transactions and product offerings.
- Useful – the product must have a purpose.
- Usable – customer can achieve their intended goals.
- Findable – product must be easy to find.
- Credibility – customer can trust the product.
- Desirable – achieved through design, branding, and aesthetics.
- Accessible – product must be accessible to all customers, regardless of disability.
- Valuable – product must deliver value to the financial institution and to the customer.
It can be difficult to create an informative, interactive, and easy-to-use financial services media that generates positive experiences. Well-designed media can generate a positive EX if the UX is designed around the following:
- The customer is always a priority
- Variety of devices and browsers that will be utilized
- Specific niche groups
- Interactive experiences
- Customer expectations
- Simplified processes with fewer required clicks
- Easy-to-find important information
- Customers’ desire to personalize websites and choose desired function
As technology becomes more sophisticated, it is easier for customers to manage multiple accounts at different institutions. Financial institutions that don’t provide an EX for their customers risk seeing their revenues fall as customers change financial service providers. Marketing messages must be cohesive and seamless across media channels to build the strongest emotional connection with customers.
PwC believes that “by adopting a human-centered approach that distills complex content into targeted, engaging stories, financial institutions can create emotional connections that are memorable, celebrate customer achievements, and drive behavior.” To deliver this human-centered approach, they recommend focusing on eight key capabilities as follows:
- Joint planning and coordination across marketing, business units, and IT;
- Content coordination to foster collaboration;
- Knowledge sharing about best practices;
- Metrics-based optimization linked to business goals;
- Human-centered design that puts people at the center of your messages;
- Storytelling and narrative to elicit an emotional response;
- Touchpoint management to ensure messages are consistent and streamlined; and
- User-generated content such as testimonials or reviews.
How to Design a UX that is Also an EX
Humans are an emotional species. We are drawn to people and objects that make us happy or make our hearts beat faster. We are attracted to images and ideas that we perceive as interesting, beautiful, or enticing. These natural human characteristics should be considered when designing a robust and appealing UX. UX Passion suggests incorporating the following features in your media to turn your UX into an EX:
- Humor, both written and visual
- Recognizable and relatable content
- Predictable content with a hint of surprise
- Engaging content like videos, graphics, or interactive tools
- Professional yet congenial tone of voice in content
UX Metrics and the EX
The central idea of designing an emotional experience is to use strong user emotions to create loyalty or engage in an action. According to the Temkin Group, “Compared with customers who have a poor emotional experience, those with a positive one are six times more likely to purchase again, more than 12 times as likely to recommend a company, and more than five times as likely to forgive a company’s mistakes.”
A customer’s emotions about a product or service are determined by:
- The customer’s ability to complete the desired transaction;
- The relative ease or difficulty in accessing and completing a transaction; and
- The customer’s emotional response.
Customer-centric financial institutions need to provide a positive emotional experience to retain customers and create loyalty. Designing UX for emotions allows financial institutions to raise their media messages to a more sophisticated, customer-satisfying level in today’s growing digital marketplace.