Design thinking is making positive waves across industries and is enabling companies to rethink and rebuild the way they do business. The same is true for banking and financial services companies, as today’s rapidly changing consumers are driving an evolution of business process and design. While design thinking alone can be a large task, there are three simple ways to make the most of design thinking in banking and financial services to positively impact your customer experience.

Walk in your customers’ shoes.

It is important for all companies to take a step back and walk in their customers’ shoes. Instead of designing products and services based on past results with current offerings, following trends to guess which way consumers will jump next, or implementing new technology in pieces, financial institutions can have a solution ready for the future needs of the consumer by applying design thinking, a human-centric approach to digital transformation. Whether solving frustrations along the customer journey, improving digital channels, or identifying new service opportunities, design thinking puts customers first.

Have flexible tools and options to be able to operate nimbly when testing initiatives and gathering critical data.

Human-centered design has the potential to make interactions with your product or services more accessible, productive, beneficial, and thus more desirable. Once the desired customer experience is identified, imagination and exploration produce various possible designs, adjusting as necessary per the company’s strengths, resources, and technical capabilities until the right solution presents itself. Banks and financial institutions must stay on their toes to keep up with the changes in consumer preferences, competition from non-traditional players, and ever-changing regulatory scrutiny. Getting help upfront with research, design, and bridging any gaps can have a huge impact on retaining and growing your business.

Leverage support from inside and outside your industry.

In addition to design thinking, now is the time for banks and other financial institutions to leverage a more consultative approach. A recent Forrester study focused on the digital readiness of financial services firms. During the study, Forrester divided respondents into two groups: doers and aspirers. The authors of the study describe doers as those more likely than average to follow best practices most or all the time, compared to the aspirers. The doers, the study found, were more likely to seek outside help. There are several barriers to embracing digital, which can include lack of resources (or competing internal priorities), insufficient buy-in from all stakeholders, and even cultural barriers. One such barrier of note is the lack of creative and innovative thinkers within the organization. An ingrained culture of “this is how we’ve always done it,” or “it is not in the budget” can squash the very innovative thinking that can take their organization to the next level. Going it alone, without the proper resources, vision, documentation and ROI comes with a lot of risk and can cost more in the long run, while falling considerably short of expectations. Seeking inspiration from outside one’s own organization can also improve the solution and provide an edge against competitors who simply follow the leader. It is important to adopt a comprehensive digital solution that addresses entire processes to have the most positive impact on your customer experience and resulting profitability.

In sum, design thinking and customer journey mapping are processes that require investment in time. Yet a simple investment of time into exploring the user journey can lead to ideas and innovations that will take your business and customer experience to the next level with reduced risk, and a structured plan for measurable success. Stay tuned for more tips and ideas on how to maximize digital in your organization. Until then, be sure to check out our recent white paper, “Embracing Digital to Transform the Banking and Financial Services Industry.”

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