Five ways to optimise UX when conducting financial checks

Previously in this series we’ve talked about changing the culture, we’ve looked at how to phrase your all important player communications, and even precisely what information you should ask for.

All that means that of those customers who are required to perform financial checks, the highest percentage possible are going to arrive at stage one of the process. You have managed to persuade them, in other words, to at least give it a shot.

What happens now will make or break the success of your program. And the good news is, we can help. Read on.

A brief recap

Before going any further let’s just remind ourselves what we are trying to achieve here. If you are an operator currently asking customers to perform any sort of compliance check in which financial data is shared, the percentage of those customers who complete those checks is a very important number

The factors that contribute to that number are multiple, and moving that number means looking at every angle of the process. Hence this series of articles, and the following advice about optimising the customer experience to ensure the highest percentage of customers who START this journey by clicking on an email (or an SMS, or in-app message…) also FINISH the journey by clicking submit when they have shared that data.

Let’s get into it

Five ways to make sharing financial data easy

There are an almost infinite number of observations we could make here about usability engineering and user-centred design. Trust us, if you had ever met our Head of Product Rob you would be well aware that this is a conversation with no apparent end. And nor should it be: fundamentally the job is to make things as easy as possible, and following the principles of good usability, including user testing, will get you a long way. But with all that said, here we will pick out five things we do believe every organization should do, or not do.

These don’t include “use Open Banking”. We mentioned this in a previous post, and we don’t think it is worth going over again: it should be taken as read. If you are not already committed to an Open Banking journey rather than asking for physical bank statements, or other irrelevant documentation, you really should change that before going further. 

But when you are ready:

1. Look the part

As everybody should be aware by now, you are asking people to share sensitive financial information. Many of those people are rightly protective of that data, and they are entitled to be nervous about who they share it with. 

With that in mind take plenty of time to look the part. A slapdash, shonky user interface will reduce the user’s trust in the entire process, and you will pay the price. Don’t compromise. As our CEO Martin Burt says (sometimes too often for comfort) “a great UI should feel positively lickable”. That may be an eccentric way of putting it, but he’s right: give nobody any reason to distrust the experience you present to them.

2. Don’t ask for registration (or worse)

When performing financial checks, two people want to get something done.

  • The compliance officer wants to ensure that the data required to make an affordability or AML decision is shared by the customer, and that a decision can then be confidently made
  • The customer wants to continue playing

Neither of those jobs require anybody to set up an account, register for a service, or even worse download an app or sign-up to become the customer of some third party organisation. 

So don’t ask them to do any of those things. They are a distraction from the core job you want the person to do, and in many cases can have a dramatic impact on completion rates. After all, the natural response to most of these requests is for the customer to wonder what precisely they are signing up for and why.

Keep it simple. Ask for the data in the most straightforward way possible. And move on.

3. Minimise the number of steps

Every single time a customer has to click a button and perform another task is an opportunity for them to decide that this isn’t worth it. It is imperative that you reduce those opportunities to the absolute minimum.

There is a tradeoff here of course. It can be counterproductive to fill the screen with a huge amount of information and checkboxes that overwhelm the customer. Some form of sequential disclosure is appropriate in order to avoid that scenario. But the core principle remains: ask for as little information as possible, and ask for it in as few screens as possible.

4. Use clear, reassuring language

It should be a given that confusing your customer with unnecessary jargon or intimidating “compliance-ese” isn’t appropriate and will backfire. The job is a relatively straightforward one, keep the language that describes it simple and clear, and ensure that at all stage you are honest and matter--of-fact.

We spent a long time ensuring that the language we use in ClearStake is just that. After user testing we even dropped the term “Open Banking”, replacing it with “connect via your banking app” as language that we felt was both clearer (most people don’t really know what Open Banking means) and more reassuring. After all, to the average person “Open Banking” sounds like something they don’t like. 

It is worth putting all your language under the same lens. Don’t be lazy - interrogate it. Ask typical users what they think and adjust accordingly.

5. Check data in real-time

One of the benefits of Open Banking is the speed with which data can be checked. In terms of making this process smoother, that ability can be used to ensure you have the right data first time, and letting the customer know before they leave the process if you need more.

Consider the common scenario in which a customer shares a bank account that does not include the sort of information required to make decisions around affordability or source of funds. Opening up their account after the fact and discovering that your compliance team don’t have what they need can add days to the process, and will certainly lead to customer drop-off.

But it doesn’t have to work like that. Checking quickly in the background for the things you want to see (salary, utility bills and so on) means you can let the customer know immediately if they need to add another account. Or alternatively, that you have what you need. That has the potential to greatly improve the experience for everyone concerned and reduce a huge amount of back and forth.

Result: more players completing the journey. More retained revenue.