Now more than ever, it is important that tech companies and their clients in the financial services sector are providing reliable products. Customers expect a seamless service even in times of high demand, so it’s important the technology products on offer are robust and fit for purpose.
We sat down with Mathieu Déjean, Product Manager at Nucoro, to find out how having the right product in place can retain customers during an uncertain time. Mathieu has been with Nucoro for three years and began his journey in customer service, so understands the needs of customers and how they might be impacted by the current situation.
How has your experience with customers helped you approach the current situation?
My experience as a customer service agent helped me gain great insight into how our customers feel and behave, which I can now apply to our products.
In times of uncertainty, people may react very differently: experienced investors are usually aware that market downturns are inherent to the investment journey, when other clients have a lower capacity to deal with losses.
Focussing on facts rather than on a complex - and potentially biased - analysis is usually the best approach, as clients are then able to make their own decisions.
That same level of transparency needs to be applied to the product, by incorporating clear charts and metrics, and making sure that information is easily accessible across the platform.
Have you seen the amount of interaction with clients change since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic?
There’s been a slight increase in the number of requests regarding our portfolio management strategy, mostly from those investors who don’t necessarily have extensive financial knowledge and need to be reassured.
Our UK B2C platform, Exo Investing, is based on a fully quantitative approach: client portfolios are analysed by our algorithms every day, and rebalanced if necessary. However, investors have the possibility to define their investment preferences and to modify the risk level associated with their portfolio.
With market volatility increasing as a result of Covid-19, we’ve noticed that many clients made changes to their portfolio configuration, switching to what they consider safer assets to reduce their risk exposure.
When creating an investment and savings product, what innovations become vital at times like these?
As mentioned before, transparency is key. At first sight, this may not seem to be a major innovation, but the reputation of the financial services industry in this domain is still disputed. At a time like this, clients don’t want to wait until the end of the quarter to discover the impact of the market evolution on their investments. Providing investors with daily updates, directly on their smartphone, about the performance of their assets and the decisions made by their portfolio manager, becomes essential in building trust.
The second key factor is control. We see it in many areas of our everyday life at the moment: people usually don’t remain passive when facing a complicated situation. Therefore, features that allow investors to act on the allocation of their portfolios create a feeling of relative security. For discretionary services that don’t offer this option, communication is a must, and in-app chat functionalities are important to the customer.
How do you make sure that what you create for our clients truly delivers for their end users?
Product development is a continuous process. It usually starts with a minimum viable product that allows our clients to launch a new proposition into their market, which we then keep improving constantly.
Defining the next priorities requires data, which comes from direct customer feedback and platform analytics, looking at things like what the most used features are and if there are any friction points. This is an iterative process, so most technology companies opt for an agile approach.
What are some of the key challenges and considerations when designing digital-first products for clients?
When we engage with a company, their team can be at different stages of the product definition process: some will have a clear idea of what they want to build, while others are still considering different options.
For us, the most important thing is to identify the pain points of these organisations, and to understand the goals they’re trying to achieve. When we’ve collected their requirements, we’re then able to offer the optimal solution for their project. An important factor is to maintain the balance between business objectives and user experience.
Our role is also to look at aspects of the product they may not have considered. For instance, a bank that wants to launch a new digital platform which allows clients to create their account autonomously may rethink the value that can be added by the advisors who are usually executing this task. Now these experts have more time, they can focus on other facets of the service.
Times like this put additional pressure on products. How do you ensure this doesn’t cause any issues?
During times of market uncertainty, the volume of activity on our platforms increases, and we need to make sure that our services remain available at all times. Our cloud-based infrastructure gives us the flexibility to increase our computing capabilities, if needed, while preserving the robustness of our system. These are exceptional circumstances, so we’ve also adjusted our organisation: our culture is remote working friendly, so we remain fully available for our clients.
Mathieu's insight is part of our Expert Insights series. Read the first in the series here.
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