Aleksei Matveev
customer research
research is an integral part of the product process, which can not only find and fix invisible or non-obvious problems, but also radically change the vector of product development.
in our case, the research involved two products similar in functionality, but different in scale and importance to the company, so methods and hypotheses flowed easily from one service to the other.
comprehensive fintech research is an opportunity to see your own processes and products through the eyes of customers, to understand what difficulties and inconveniences users face today, what are the consequences and what actions need to be taken to provide customers with better and more modern service.
most often, research in fintech is needed in order to:
  • identify non-working or unused scripts or products;
  • identify inconvenient and incomprehensible processes for the client;
  • define a portrait of the customer, the target audience of the product or service
the study of existing banking processes and the typical portrait user helps to:
  • prioritise those products and those features that a particular user needs;
  • test processes and interfaces on the audience, understand the most critical problems, highlight changes that can be implemented quickly and with great effect;
  • accelerate the involvement and understanding of the product, to form a perception of «friendliness»;
  • understand what's on the market, how much it's worth, and what problems aren't closed to find a new value and price proposition
there are different ways of conducting research, but the most common are:
  • in-depth interviews;
  • usability tests;
  • mystery shopper;
  • shadowing
in-house or outsource
before forming goals and describing research methodology, it was necessary to understand whether we could manage on our own or whether it would be more convenient to involve someone from outside.
searches and inquiries of respondents within the bank did not yield positive results, absolutely all information about clients was either under NDA, which greatly stretched the already tight deadlines, or completely unavailable for the sake of data security, which cut off any communication with customers.
the choice fell on outsourcing, more precisely on the agency, with whom we had several meetings, and from whom we received an offer that did not suit us in terms of duration and cost.
but soon McKinsey & Company came looking for us, with the right team, tools, respondents, and an attractive offer that we simply could not refuse.
methods and objectives
the team that joined us immediately began by discussing research methods and goals.
while we initially understood that we would only need in-depth business registration and usability tests on two products, the goals were a little more complicated.
the bottom line was that it was necessary to:
  • evaluate the current customer journey, pains and opportunities for improvement VTB Start;
  • evaluate the usability and functionality of the updated VTB Start service;
  • understand the advantages or disadvantages of the functionality/interface of competing services for remote business registration to improve the bank's in-house solution
in addition to the goals, we also formed hypotheses:
  • is the speed of processing and current experience with the chosen bank one of the main criteria for choosing a service for business registration?;
  • is there a standard, among current services, process for registering a business?;
  • do clients open an account at the same bank where they register their business?;
  • does a seamless and convenient business registration process, as well as additional features (chat rooms, non-banking services, etc.) affect user conversion to opening a checking account, within the selected service
when discussing the approximate path of interviews, we agreed on the idea of not dividing sessions into depth and U-tests, but to try, if possible, to fit both methods into one meeting in order to collect maximum data and reduce overall research time.
the flow of the backwoods represented:
  • introductions (which included introducing and explaining the purpose of the interview, setting up the software, notifying the formality of the interview, and requesting a recording);
  • a story about the business from the respondent (the reasons for creating and registering the company, opening a current account and presence in other banks as a physical person);
  • the main part with a focus on the details of business registration (time spent on registration, stages, choice of service, filling data and uploading documents, submission of documents to the tax office and their signing UCEC);
  • general impressions of using the service (what you liked, what was especially useful and valuable, were there any wow moments, as well as what was missing and could have made the experience better);
  • hypothesis test of functionality that was not discussed in the main part (more precisely, whether there were any questions to the support of service specialists and whether there was a need to contact technical support, how did you choose the form of taxation and consulted earlier, whether non-banking gifts were offered when opening an account and whether it was important in choosing the service, as well as whether there was experience of interaction with a chat-bot)
the usability test, which is the testing of a product/stage version or even a prototype, implied going through a customer journey during which the interviewer would have to ask questions to evaluate the usability, intuitiveness and functionality of the service.
research helped find many patterns and solve many unnoticed problems, because we were able to collect a huge number of insights and comments from customers of 8 different banks, the leaders of which of course Tinkof, Sberbank, Alfabank and Tochka.
both VTB Start's showcase product and VTB's in-house solution were significantly affected by the research. in the first case, we were able to update the service, increase metrics, attract more clients and test out hypotheses. in the second case, we optimised resources to implement the remaining functionality, as well as refine scenarios and communications with the client.