Understand What Problem You are Solving

How to think when starting out designing a new customer journey in finance


Welcome to the inaugural segment of our insightful series, "How I would design a new customer journey." In this journey, we place ourselves in the shoes of those we serve – our customers. For those of us in the financial sector, particularly in digital sales and onboarding, understanding our customers' financial goals is not just a task; it's an essential part of our ethos.

Imagine your customer's financial aspirations as a spectrum: On one end, there's the dream of a sun-kissed holiday next summer, a tangible symbol of relaxation and reward. On the other, there's the pursuit of long-term objectives, like securing a better pension income, embodying financial security and comfort in their golden years. And somewhere in the middle lies the practical necessity of a car loan – a fundamental need for mobility and independence.

Our role? To decode these aspirations into actionable paths. It's about digging deeper than mere transactions and understanding the critical decisions our customers face on their financial journey. The decisions that shape their today, tomorrow, and future.

This series aims to guide you through this process, offering insights and strategies to align your digital offerings with the very heartbeat of your customers' needs. Join us as we explore how to not just meet but anticipate and exceed these expectations, laying the groundwork for a customer journey that is as rewarding for them as it is for your institution.

Embracing Internal Assets

In the quest to revolutionize customer journeys, the treasure trove of solutions often resides within our own organizations. This first segment "How I Would Design a New Customer Journey in Finance," pivots on the principle of utilizing existing resources and capabilities to significantly improve customer experiences in the financial sector. By tapping into these internal assets, we can offer solutions that are not only effective but also resonate with the unique needs of our customers.

The first step in this exploration is a comprehensive assessment of our organization's strengths. This involves a deep dive into the various departments, technologies, and expertise that we possess. It's crucial to understand that every element of our organization, from customer service, to the skill sets of our team members, can contribute to enhancing the customer journey.

In the following three sections, we take a deep look at each of the following challenges and describe ways in which you can use internal resources to find solutions to them surprisingly quickly.

Understanding the Problem

A cornerstone in reshaping how customer journeys are designed and built in finance is understanding the challenges faced by customers. This understanding starts at the front lines – our customer service teams. Engaging with them provides direct insights into the customer experience, revealing the most common issues they encounter.

Identifying Top Customer Issues: Through interactions with customer service, we can identify say the top three issues that customers frequently face. These issues could range from difficulties in understanding financial products, challenges in managing their accounts online, or concerns about investment risks. By pinpointing these issues, we can direct our efforts towards addressing them in our customer journey redesign. Using this often-overlooked resource by regularly soliciting and analysing customer feedback gives us a direct line to their needs and expectations.

Customer Service Feedback Loop: Establishing a continuous feedback loop with customer service teams is crucial. This loop involves regular meetings and data sharing, ensuring that the insights gained from customer interactions are systematically collected and analysed. Especially when we are designing a new customer journey, we should take the opportunity to tap into this resource. Ie, this feedback should not only be used to resolve issues but also to innovate and improve our services.

By engaging with customer service for direct insights, conducting a thorough product analysis, and applying an expert perspective, we can create a more customer-centric journey in the financial sector. This approach not only addresses the current challenges faced by customers but also anticipates their future needs, ensuring that the financial products and services offered are relevant, beneficial, and aligned with their goals.

Review Product Benefits and Risks

Once we understand the customer perspective, an in-depth analysis of the financial products we offer is essential to align them with customer goals. This involves a dual focus on both the benefits and risks associated with each product.

Understanding Product Benefits: Every financial product has a unique set of benefits intended to meet specific customer needs. For instance, a high-yield savings account offers the benefit of higher returns on savings, suitable for customers looking to grow their emergency funds or save for short-term goals. Understanding these benefits allows us to effectively communicate the value proposition to our customers.

Assessing Product Risks: Alongside benefits, each product carries inherent risks. It's imperative to understand these risks to ensure that customers are making informed decisions. For example, investment products may offer higher returns but come with the risk of market volatility. A thorough understanding of these risks helps in creating transparent and informative customer communications, which is critical in building trust and managing expectations.

Product Fit Analysis: Assessing how each product fits into the customer's financial journey is key, also from a regulatory perspective. This means evaluating whether a product aligns with the customer's financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. For example, a long-term investment product may not be suitable for a customer saving for a short-term goal like a vacation.

You are the Expert

While technology is a critical component, the human element remains irreplaceable. Our employees, with their diverse skills and experiences, are the backbone of customer journey enhancement. Training and empowering them to understand and utilize the available tools and data can lead to more empathetic and effective customer interactions.

Drawing from personal expertise in the financial sector, we can also identify features that would make the financial journey more appealing and beneficial from an insider's perspective. If you go back to yourself and ask: “what would make me appreciate this kind of digital customer journey?” chances are that you are designing something which can be truly useful to your customers (as opposed to simplistic and gimmicky).

Additionally, the integration of professional insights into the design and implementation of these digital journeys is paramount. As experts in the field, we possess a unique understanding of the nuances and complexities of financial decision-making. By infusing our platforms with this deep industry knowledge, we can craft solutions that are not just technically proficient but also finely tuned to the real-world needs and preferences of our clients.

This combination of technological innovation and expert insight ensures that our digital customer journeys are not only intuitive and user-friendly but also rich in value and relevance, striking the right balance between automation and human touch. This approach ultimately leads to a more comprehensive and satisfying experience for the customer, one that truly resonates with their financial aspirations and realities.

Paving the Way for Customer-Centric Financial Journeys

As we continue to explore the potential within our existing organizational framework, it becomes evident that the keys to enhancing customer financial journeys are often already in our hands. By effectively leveraging these resources, we can not only meet but exceed customer expectations, paving the way for more meaningful and lasting relationships in the financial sector.

  • Building on Real-World Customer Needs—Our exploration has emphasized the importance of grounding our strategies in the actual needs and challenges faced by customers. Through engaging with customer service we can gather invaluable insights. These insights help us navigate the complex landscape of customer expectations and preferences, ensuring that our efforts are not just theoretically sound but also practically relevant.

  • Understanding the Product—Looking forward, the financial landscape is ever-changing, and so are the products and services offered to customers. By assessing product benefits and risks, specifically when designing a new customer journey, we can capture all the important decision-points the customer will have to consider. Staying attuned to the characteristics of products and how they can improve the financial lives of customers will be key to maintaining relevance and effectiveness.

  • Leveraging Internal Expertise—The journey has also highlighted the wealth of resources in the form of the human expertise of our teams. This resources are invaluable in crafting a customer journey that resonates with our customers. By effectively leveraging these assets, we can create solutions that are not only innovative but also deeply empathetic to the needs of those we serve.

But, our commitment to this journey doesn't end here. It's an ongoing process of learning, adapting, and improving. It involves a continuous cycle of feedback, analysis, and implementation. As we move forward, we must keep our focus on the ultimate goal: enhancing the financial well-being and satisfaction of our customers.

To this extent, below are a number of hands-on suggestions to explore in more detail on your path to more customer-centric financial customer journeys.

Increasing the Use of Analytics: For instance, equipping customer service representatives with insights from data analytics can transform a routine inquiry call into an opportunity for personalized financial advice. Similarly, involving employees from various departments in the design and implementation of customer journey strategies ensures a more holistic and customer-centric approach.

Customization and Flexibility: Customers value products that can be tailored to their unique needs. Offering customization options, such as adjustable repayment plans for loans or varied investment portfolios, can enhance the attractiveness of our products. Of course, this may be difficult given legacy product systems and how they work and are configured. Here you must balance the needs for flexibility with what is possible.

Integrating Financial Education: Incorporating educational components into the customer journey can be a game-changer. This could involve providing resources that help customers understand financial concepts, plan their finances, and make informed decisions.

Digital Accessibility and User Experience: In the digital age, the ease of accessing and using financial services online is crucial. Enhancing the user experience of digital platforms, ensuring they are intuitive, secure, and accessible, is a key feature that can set a financial institution apart. The modern user/customer has very little patience with experiences not up to the general standard of top-tier digital experiences available in many other industries.

Proactive Customer Support: Moving beyond reactive customer service to proactive support can significantly improve the customer journey. This could involve proactively reaching out to customers with personalized advice, reminders, and alerts that help them stay on top of their finances. Of course, such a capability requires systems to automatically monitory customer engagements including the ability to provide automated proactive next-best-actions.

Transparency and Trust: Building a customer journey based on transparency and trust is essential. This means being upfront about fees, risks, and terms and conditions. Providing clear and honest information helps in building long-term customer relationships.

Simplifying Financial Products: Complex financial jargon can be a significant barrier. Simplifying product descriptions and using easy-to-understand language can make financial products more accessible and appealing to a broader range of customers. This is an area where the financial industry historically has been underperforming, to say the least. There’s no need to complicate things further as the average customer is not a finance expert by any means.


As we wrap up this first segment of our series, "How to Add Value and Build Trust in Digital Finance," it's evident that the path to crafting impactful and meaningful customer experiences in the financial sector is multifaceted. This journey isn't just about compliance and efficiency; it's about aligning every step with the aspirations and needs of our customers. By focusing on these real-world needs and harnessing our internal expertise and resources, we can elevate the standard of customer service and experience in our industry.

In conclusion, the journey to designing new customer journeys in finance is a dynamic and continuous process. It requires a deep understanding of customer needs, a strategic use of internal resources, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By keeping these principles at the forefront of our efforts, we can build customer journeys that are not only compliant and efficient but also deeply meaningful and aligned with the aspirations of those we serve. This approach is not just beneficial for our customers; it's a blueprint for the future of the financial sector, one that prioritizes customer-centricity and innovation.

Join us as we continue to explore and shape the future of customer journeys in finance, where every step taken is a step towards empowering our customers and enriching their financial lives.

Subscribe to my newsletter here, and follow me on LinkedIn, X (Twitter), or Instagram to continue to stay ahead in the digital transformation in finance.