Innovation Strategy Enhances Banking Experiences

A projekt202 Financial Services Success Story

A leading U.S. bank’s home loans division needed a significant turnaround and looked to projekt202 to fuel their transformation. When other approaches to innovation resulted in disjointed and disappointing results—including a high bounce rate on their website and very low rates for loan starts—the division decided to invest in a far-reaching strategy to turn its business around.

The Outcomes:

  • The previously underperforming digital channel grew to providing 75% of the traffic that results in conversions
  • From 23 minutes to five: a drastic reduction in the time it takes consumers to pre-qualify
  • Insight to inform experience-based differentiation, preventing the need for cost-based incentives to improve conversion
  • New self-service loan-processing application and other tools, messaging, marketing, website, and additional application development with the customer as the focus
  • Increased customer-centric maturity: shifted the organizational approach to development and marketing, using an experience-driven methodology

The diversified bank, offering services to people across the United States, needed to create a strategy for engaging prospects. Stakeholders sought to launch an innovation research initiative to align its offerings with the experiences people were looking for when buying a home. This would also identify opportunities to meet prospects’ needs that current offerings did not yet address.

To fully understand customers, projekt202’s integrated team of experience researchers and strategistsconducted a series of in-context sessions with home buyers. They went into people’s homes, investigated their previous and current home buying experiences, listened to their stories, looked at their documents, and envisioned ideal experiences when buying a home. This in-depth data gathering provided a rich understanding of what customers experience when buying a house and acquiring a home loan. The in-home sessions revealed a number of insights, including:

  • Home buyers had a general distrust of banks, fueled by home loan processes that were confusing and often misleading.
  • The realtor plays an important role in suggesting home loan providers, presenting a new opportunity for future partnerships.
  • Providing more information to buyers earlier in the process leads to higher customer satisfaction, as well as more trust in the system.

From these and additional insights gained during the home sessions, projekt202 developed personas based in data, representing motivationally-based archetypes for home buyers that the design, marketing, and development teams could use to understand the audience. To further understand behaviors, projekt202 created a detailed visualization of the current home-buying experience, called a journey map, starting with the first consideration of buying versus renting. The detailed journey map explored how each persona approached each activity. Executives in the organization requested printed journey maps for their offices and team spaces, and these techniques were used by the institution in future projects.

In addition, projekt202 led a workshop with a large contingent of the institution’s team, walking them through the data, personas and journey map. In a brainstorming session with the bank’s team that focused on finding new solutions, projekt202 helped the company see people’s needs through a new lens. Together the combined team generated 262 solution ideas, which they distilled into 55 opportunities in 11 categories, including both tactical and strategic offering concepts. In projekt202’s final presentation of the customer needs, findings and opportunities, one executive commented:

“Our challenge is in front of us now: we have the understanding to serve our customers’ needs and make a huge impact.”

Through the partnership with projekt202, the institution’s digital innovation team was given a new approach to generating ideas and determining which projects to prototype and develop. projekt202’s end-to-end methodology for supporting application development with an extensive understanding of the audience, marketing and design needs, transformed the company’s innovation initiatives to enable teams to find new success in the market.

Following the innovation strategy engagement and using the customer understanding developed there, projekt202 went on to help the bank design and build numerous digital solutions to serve prospects and customers, including a financial literacy website, an online loan application process, and more.

Later, the sponsor of the engagement at the bank remarked that the work had enabled him to provide an “experience-based differentiation” for their home loan offering, preventing him from needing to discount or provide other cost-base differentiation.

The Challenge:

  • Poorly-performing web properties: web channel providing 1% of the traffic resulting in conversions
  • Disjointed online offerings: multiple web properties which confused potential customers
  • Data without knowledge: the team had a wealth of competitive and marketing analysis and analytics, but were not able to act on it
  • Lack of traction: internal teams recognized problems, but were not able to solve them

The Solution:

  • An approach to transformative, actionable customer understanding that provided new insight for innovation, to complement a large amount of quantitative analytics
  • Collaborative idea-generation yielded 55 strategic and tactical plays in 11 different categories that aligned business and customer goals
  • A visualization of the consumer’s home-buying process revealed surprising new business opportunities in areas not recognized previously
  • New experience principles, inbound marketing strategy, marketing micro-sites, online self-service loan process and more

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