I conducted interviews with both clients and account managers, and observed the quarterly report discussion, to see what is important to the client.
I observed how clients interact with the data that is available to them now, and how the account manageers use that data to inform the client about portfolio performance.
I created wireframes and concept designs to convey ideas to stakeholders and clients.
I created interactive prototypes that we used for both communication with stakeholders, and usability testing with users.
KBC Comfort Portfolio was a new product proposition for the Private Banking division, offering a full-service management of Private Banking clients’ portfolios. We were figuring out the specific details of the Comfort Portfolio service, and how to integrate this in the existing KBC Invest application. To guide the team In the right direction, I conducted a study, interviewing a few Private Banking clients and their private bankers. In the end, we managed to pivot the value proposition of the product, and how we would integrate the service in the digital KBC Invest app.
The KBC Invest app was aimed towards clients with an investment portfolio, allowing them to follow up on their portfolio's performance, and proactively get in touch with their account manager. Before KBC Invest was introduced, the clients would received a quarterly printed report, which did not allow our clients to act on market opportunities, or changes in their portfolio in time.
For the Private Banking clientele, KBC wanted to offer a service where the management of the portfolio would be done by their own private bankers, rather than leaving the clientele to do that. This would be positioned as an extra service, exclusive to Private Banking clientele.
The main questions that we needed to solve were:
The biggest challenge from a user-centered design point of view, was getting the user central to this new proposition. The team included business stakeholders who were in direct contact with Private Banking branches, not directly with the client. Nevertheless, they were very liberal in assuming user needs, and did not deem user research and validation necessary. There was a tendency to think in solutions already.
I was asked to propose two digital solutions already, and was given the opportunity to validate these solutions with clients and account managers. Conducting these validation sessions also gave me the opportunity to take one step back, and map the current experience by conducting interviews with the clients and their account managers. Combining these sessions helped me to get buy-in from the business stakeholders.
Talking to the clients and their account managers proved to be very useful, and we gathered valuable insights. We identified the needs of our Private Banking clients, and our account managers as well, and found that the new value proposition would help fulfil these needs. We also presented the two digital solutions with our participants, but these were rejected completely because of the level of detail and amount of complex information presented.
The reason why the product proposition was viable, was that it would take a lot of concern and effort out of our clients’ hands. We could distinguish our clients into two very distinct groups:
these were generally clients who had capital by means of inheritance or running a successful business, and wanted to invest to get a higher return on their capital. They severely lacked knowledge about financial markets and investment concepts, and found the available information too detailed and complex. They invest through private banking because they lack the knowledge and confidence to do it themselves.
These clients used to be active investors in the past, and grew their capital by investing it. They have substantial knowledge about the financial markets and investment concepts. They chose for private banking because they don’t want to actively invest their capital anymore, but go for a passive approach and spend their time on other activities.
Even though these two types of customers were very different in terms of financial knowledge, the thing they had in common was that they consciously chose to have a banker deal with their investment portfolio’s. They did not need all the technical details of the assets in their portfolio, either because they were overwhelmed by the details and felt uncomfortable due to the complexity, or they simply didn’t care about the technical details anymore. What both types of clients wanted to know, was simple: what is the performance of my portfolio, and how much money is there in my portfolio?
The product team was surprised to see that their assumptions and solutions got rejected, and had difficulties accepting this. However, they did want to continue exploring new options. Based on the feedback that we gathered during the interviews, we decided we would focus on the core concept of simple information, which would fulfil the need for basic portfolio performance information.
We proposed a simple dashboard, which contained all the essential portfolio information, and KBC investment strategy. The dashboard allowed for a drill-down approach, disclosing the technical asset and portfolio details for clients who are interested in these.
Despite having validated the product proposition already, conducting user tests with a tangible solution would strengthen the belief in the product proposition, and validate the solution to the need for simple and straight-forward information. The digital portfolio overview we designed proved to be successful, and cater to the basic needs of our clientele.
With this project, we introduced a new Private Banking service, and a way of empowering our clientele by providing the information real-time, and in a simple manner. For me personally, the biggest accomplishment in this project was the fact that we introduced user-centered design to the team, and immediately proved the value of this approach. In projects following this, again a user-centered design approach was adopted, and it helped the UX team to become more involved in the definition phase of a project.