25 October 2014

Should more banks acquire UX design firms?

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Underscoring the importance of a great customer experience, Capital One has acquired the San Francisco-based design and user experience firm, Adaptive Path. Is this a testing of the waters by a historically innovative financial institution … or the beginning of an industry trend?

Joel Oxman, VP Business Development of Extractable [a digital strategy and user-experience design agency in San Francisco that specializes in helping Financial Services clients succeed online], explores the matter in more detail.

“Why is the financial services industry so slow to respond? The hesitation most likely stems from the lack of understanding and appreciation by financial institutions for the financial return on investment they can expect from improving the digital customer experience.

This can manifest as both cost-reduction for impractical and less effective methods of service (i.e. utilizing call centers for basic service tasks) as well as increased customer LTV metrics that go hand-in-hand with improved engagement. Staffing a call center in America can cost banks an average of $11.00 for an average customer call. With an effective content strategy for curating and service-oriented content that’s laid out across an easy-to-use and action-oriented design, it’s easy to see how these costs could quickly be pared.

There is a strategic imperative for the financial services industry, specifically consumer-focused banks and credit unions, to awaken to the principles of user-centered digital experience design. Great examples are now being infused into a wide variety of industries to promote highly-considered purchases such as real estate (Zillow), cars (Tesla) and even watches (IWC).

Quite related to this article, is a recent post by Adaptive Path co-founder Peter Merholz, entitled “San Francisco Design Agencies Feeling the Squeeze“.

In both cases, I recommend you read the comments as well.

Also check this reflection by Rami Tabbah.

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