The Vital Role of UX Research in Shaping the Future of Finance

In today’s fast-paced world, where digital transformation has become the norm, the financial services industry stands at the forefront of change. Delivering outstanding digital experiences is no longer optional; it’s a necessity for financial organizations seeking to build trust, foster customer loyalty, and gain a competitive edge. A recent study conducted by Maze, the continuous product discovery platform for user-centric teams, sheds light on the critical role of User Experience (UX) research in shaping the future of finance, writes Marcus Law in Fintech Magazine.

The report, titled «The Future of Finance: Driving Digital Innovation Through Customer Insights,» emphasizes how improving UX can elevate financial service experiences, provide exceptional customer value, and drive innovation within the industry.

The digital revolution in financial services has fundamentally transformed customer interactions with financial institutions. Today’s customers are more informed and tech-savvy, leading to higher expectations regarding the quality of their financial products and services. Seamless experiences across all customer touchpoints have become essential, with customers even willing to switch providers for a better digital experience. In 2022, a significant 25% of customers changed banks, and over a third switched their insurers and wealth managers, primarily driven by the desire for a superior digital experience.

Personalization, speed, and security are central to meeting customer expectations. The report reveals that 66% of consumers would abandon a brand if it failed to provide personalized experiences. However, achieving this personalization must be balanced with robust security measures, as heightened awareness of personal data security has made trust between providers and customers more critical than ever.

Sheila Maceira, Head of Design for Everyday Banking (Savings) at a leading UK-based financial services group, highlights the challenges: «Navigating complex financial regulations and still creating simple and user-friendly experiences, ensuring user data safety, and shaping intuitive, accessible financial apps that cater to all digital literacy and financial competence levels are some of the key UX challenges in finance and banking.»

In this constantly evolving landscape, the experiences financial institutions offer to their customers serve as the key differentiator and a substantial growth opportunity. As advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) gain prominence, the report underscores the importance of understanding customer needs, delivering personalized experiences, and adding value at each step of the customer journey to stand out from competitors.

Jonathan Widawski, Co-founder & CEO at Maze, emphasizes the changing game in product development: «The current AI revolution is changing the game for how we’ll build products, making it easier than ever for anyone to build an effective product. A company’s ability to build products fast is no longer a differentiating factor. Instead, what matters most is a company’s ability to adapt to changing user needs on an almost continuous basis.»

To enhance UX success, mature research practices are crucial. Maze’s Research Maturity Report reveals that companies with the highest research maturity achieve 2.3 times better business outcomes, including reduced time-to-market, increased revenue, improved brand perception, and more active users.

Dylan Brits, Client Experience Designer at Capitec Bank, highlights the multifaceted role of UX research: «The role of UX is to be the voice of the customer in the journey of transformation and solution discovery. From a business side, UX research also saves time and costs down the line and improves team culture. Research creates better solutions, better solutions create better wins, and better wins create better team cohesion.»

While most financial services firms are making progress towards research maturity, there is significant room for growth. Financial services currently rank ninth out of ten sectors studied when comparing average research maturity scores across industries.

The financial services industry is poised for transformative change, and UX research plays a pivotal role in shaping its future. Banking and financial service providers have a unique opportunity to unlock the full potential of UX research and successfully navigate the ever-evolving landscape of finance.

Maze, as a continuous product discovery platform, empowers organizations to harness customer insights and drive innovation in the financial services sector. With solutions for participant recruitment, product research, and reporting, Maze enables teams to establish a culture of continuous product discovery driven by user-centric insights, while also ensuring robust security and compliance.

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