Written by Michael James on Tuesday 23 June 2015
It would be easy to underestimate the work of the marketing and creative team but the user journey could be the one chance to provide any form of gratification to a potential wealth product customer.
I have been looking at some interesting research this week about the emotion map of a typical retail purchase. To be honest I was quite surprised at the emotional rollercoaster it represented.
It had its ups and downs, anxiety and suspense, intrigue and issues. Ultimately though, as with all good stories, there was a happy ending. The end feeling for the client is a positive one, it is one of gain. I have exchanged both time and money in return for a tangible item. I feel positive about the experience and should I be dissatisfied when I get the product home (because I change my mind or it develops a fault), I can return it and in many cases get a full refund.
A financial services business does not have a tangible item to sell its clients, so often struggles to imprint a positive purchasing experience on their clients. In my opinion, this represents the reason a lot of people have just put their cash in a Bank and not done something that would yield a bit more return.
Putting money into a bank is an easy option. It doesn’t feel like a purchase it’s a choice, just a safe place to put my money until I need it again. Any idea of growth becomes almost secondary. It’s not a big leap for clients to translate this to a cash ISA account. Just as safe, but I earn a little more interest and the interest gets treated a bit better for tax purposes. Still though, I have basically avoided ‘purchasing’ anything.
Compare this to a typical direct investment product journey…
I choose to buy a stocks and shares ISA. I choose a provider, then I get asked a load of information about myself (earnings, debts, what I think when people say ‘risk’ and so on). After being battered about by this questionnaire and being tested as to whether I can be trusted to make my own decisions, I get the opportunity to choose some funds. The funds tell me they have some risk attached to them and I get asked if I understand I could actually get less money out than I put in. After this, I have to prove I am who I say I am and finally I hand over my hard earned money. I don’t get something I cherish in return or something that enriches my life. I don’t walk away with anything, so my overriding experience is ‘loss’.
The point is the effort I had to go through to buy my ISA is huge, so the ‘user journey’ can’t be taken lightly. As a provider, you are going to take someone on a journey. You have to think hard about making the journey part of the payback (by giving them knowledge, a sense of achievement, or a funky and engaging app). On top of making it rewarding you have to make it easy, frictionless - let’s say, to allow you to build trust, you must give a bit to get a bit, engage the customer so that they are happy to upload all the answers to all those questions.
All much more difficult than it should be given that my details, in a thousand different guises are already floating about in the data-ether that is the internet. My phone already knows what I am going to put in a text, so it should just be able to impart to another system who I am without me actually typing it in. There are lots of opportunities for this in the here and now and the future offers even more opportunities. In the near future I am sure providers will get it and I will just choose better value products without having to answer a quiz.