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Using customer insights to give financial services companies a competitive edge

Kathryn WhartonFintech

The financial services industry has experienced a digital revolution in recent years - and it shows no signs of slowing. Financial services includes banking, insurance and wealth management companies which are huge sectors in their own right. 

There are now over 60,000 financial services firms operating in the UK and customers are increasingly demanding digital services from them. In fact, over a quarter of British adults now have an account with a digital-only bank and it’s estimated that 23 million adults will be using a digital bank by 2026

According to Deloitte, more financial institutions are turning to digital innovation to transform their business models in order to meet the evolving needs of their customers and to take advantage of opportunities in their markets. 

To compete in this marketplace, financial services companies need to offer their customers exceptional digital products that support high-quality services. 

And the key to delivering those exceptional digital products - and to standing out from competitors - is to understand what customers want and need. 

Projects at hedgehog lab which start with a discovery stage prioritise this information. Our specialist app development teams which include staff from Design, Research, Product and Engineering dive deep into the life of the customer to understand fully what they want and need from web, mobile, Android and iOS apps. 

In our experience of working with global financial services brands, we’ve identified three ways that banks, insurance providers and wealth managers can use customer insight to gain a competitive edge: 

Know when your customers need you

Customers are more independent than ever before but they still value human contact so getting the balance right between self-serve and personal service is vital. 

Mapping the customer journey and identifying customer needs gives financial services companies the data they need to deliver the right type of service at the right time. 

We used this approach in the UX/UI design of Standard Life’s wealth management mobile app, ‘Choices’ on iOS and Android. Extensive research sessions and user testing by our dedicated app development team identified when customers wanted to manage their savings, investments and pensions independently and when they valued the advice of professionals. The result was a digital product that combined self-service functionality with access to the insights of a team of digital assistants called Choicemakers to empower customers to make decisions about their financial priorities. 

Don’t limit your services

Great digital products are designed through iteration and refinement. The end result could be vastly different from the original brief as the product evolves in response to user testing and feedback. 

Customer insight is essential to every stage of the product development process to ensure digital products work for end users. 

We developed a banking app on iOS for Synced to rival challenger brands in the market. It was aimed at students and offered instant credit checks plus overdraft, real-time balance updates, categorised statements and spending notifications. Our experienced mobile app development team’s thorough user research identified a larger market for these services so the product was rolled out to all Synced customers, giving the company a much bigger customer and market share. 

Validate new concepts

Financial services are constantly evolving as traditional and challenger brands seek to attract new customers with cutting-edge products and services. 

Brands that want to dominate their markets need to validate their ideas to deliver truly innovative products. Customer insight enables them to do that. 

When Honcho sought to disrupt the insurance industry by placing mobile at the core of the buying process, we carried out extensive research to test their proposition. We delivered deep market analysis of competitor products, created user journeys and user personas, and tested UI/UX designs to prove the concept would work. This insight informed both product development and product launch strategies. 

Whether you’re an established company or a challenger brand, customer insight is a critical tool in developing digital products that deliver real business results. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help you develop your competitive edge through embedding customer insights into your web, mobile, Android and iOS financial services apps