Our client is a financial services provider belonging to a leading international bank insurer, operating in the Belgian market. Recently, the bank made a conscious decision to focus on a new, unique customer experience. We were requested to guide this change towards customer centricity. In concrete terms, a pioneering project was started up in one of the most active market segments of that service provider: that of home loans.
The bank insurer requested support in personalising the offering of its products. Personalisation is one of the important pillars in the digital transformation that the company is currently going through. On top of the personalised customer approach, the bank also aims to achieve a consistent and integrated omni-channel approach. The end user can always decide whether the next step he or she will take in the communication or sales process will be online or offline.
Seamless experience thanks to the customer journeys
As a pioneering project, the bank chose the home loan segment, in view of its strong position here in the Belgian market. Closing a home loan increases loyalty to the bank and proves to be a strong indicator that such customers will also purchase other products or services of the bank. In co-creation, AE and the bank wanted to achieve a seamless experience for the end customer.
Identifying the needs of the customers and their journey was the starting point. A customer does not purchase a home loan - he/she is buying a house. We jointly thought about the following questions: Where does a customer get stuck when purchasing a house? Which are his pains and gains? What’s the logical flow in the purchase process? Gradually, the idea arose to design a loan simulator that is customer-oriented rather than bank-oriented, relieving the customer from any friction.
AE Consultant Pieter Peremans: “As much as possible we looked at the bank as part of an ecosystem, a necessary player in the chain who can help those wishing to purchase a house. We focused on this concept during every step of the process (for example the application) and adopted the role of a genuine advisor who supports, relieves and reassures the customer in his choices. A good example of this is the choice between a fixed or variable interest rate.”
"We acted as a genuine advisor, who supports, relieves and reassures the customer in his choices."
Involving the end customer in the development of the flow
Designing a logical flow is one thing, but must also be supported by the end customers. For this reason, we then tested the prototype and the flow with real customers. This approach had two advantages. The prototype could immediately be corrected with significant feedback from the end user. In addition, the interaction with customers provided a more realistic view of the personas - the profiles of the typical target customers that had initially been drawn up - and consequently the personas could be defined more accurately
In the next phase, we worked out an extensive prototype, for which the bank’s input was key. The flow was enriched with all the information a customer requires to make a realistic simulation. The result of this symbiosis between the input from the bank and its end customers, is a logically conceived simulator that provides the user with clarity and supports the customer throughout the entire process, from the search for a house to the ultimate purchase. The intensive support from the bank increases the trust of the end customer, leading to a stronger bond between the bank and the customer.
New way of thinking
This project resulted in much more than just a customer centric simulator for home loans. Gradually, a new way of thinking emerged within the bank - it gradually became familiar with drawing up customer journeys and consistently thinking from the customer’s point of view.
This was an interesting project for both AE and the bank. Working out a concept based on a clear customer-centric idea, which could be tested with customers as a prototype, and, applying lean start-up principles, evolve flexibly toward an valuable end product.