Customer Experience Principles
Open Banking Products and Services Place the Customer in Control
ASPSPs and TPPs should design customer journeys equivalent to or better than the journeys described in these guidelines in order to deliver the best possible experience and outcomes.
Open Banking products and services must therefore enable:
- Informed decision making: Customer journeys must be intuitive and information must be easily assimilated in order to ensure informed customer decision making.
- Simple and easy navigation: There must be no unnecessary steps, delay or friction in the customer journey.
- Parity of Experience: The experience available to a PSU when authenticating a journey via a TPP should involve no more steps, delay or friction in the customer journey than the equivalent experience they have when interacting directly with their ASPSP.
- Familiarity and trust: The customer must only need to use the login credentials provided by the ASPSP.
Customer Experience Principles
The Open Banking customer experience must ensure informed decision making while remaining understandable, intuitive and effective. The customer experience must be shaped and positioned into content and functionality that clearly communicates and facilitates purpose, intent and relevance.
This is especially true in a transactional context where customers need to know and understand at all times:
- Where they are in a specific process (and what they should expect from that process).
- Where they have come from.
- What options, actions or steps they have in front of them (if any).
- The (implicit) consequences of taking those actions or next steps.
- An unambiguous signal, feedback and/or response, once that action is taken.
It is essential to move beyond the pure mechanics of the transactional process and into a meaningful, supportive and trusted experience that directly addresses the customer’s needs, goals and concerns. This can be achieved in the way a transaction is structured, but also how it is expressed, designed for and organised around a range of fluctuating human needs.
A series of guiding ‘experience principles’ are outlined here that can be, through careful design, baked into a process or transaction, and dialled up and down where certain interactions become more critical.
These guiding experience principles are deeply customer-centred, shaped by research and insight that reflects and meets specific customer needs. They are used to drive and focus design and User Experience (UX) decisions i.e. what kind of widget, interaction, font, colour, technology, UX and User Interface (UI) best serves the aspirations and requirements of the business but also meets the needs of the customer in simple, effective ways.
Extensive customer research undertaken by OBIE has demonstrated certain recurring themes that customers deeply care about or are worried by. To promote engagement, understanding and ensure adoption these must be addressed, to varying degrees, within each of the Open Banking customer journeys described in these guidelines.
To support and achieve the goal of creating trust, these themes have been aggregated and synthesised into a number of driving experience principles for Open Banking. These principles underpin the range of core journeys and key customer interactions described throughout these guidelines.
If customers feel they understand what is going on in a process, are able to make informed decisions and choices on their own terms – including recourse to change their mind – it provides a sense of ownership and control over what is happening. In a transactional context, where money and data are potentially at stake, getting this right is essential.
For Open Banking, control comes from providing the right tools and clarity of information at the right time (e.g. knowing the exact amount of a transaction at the point of payment, or knowing that they can view and revoke consents given when they feel it is appropriate to do so).
TPPs and ASPSPs need to consider how they provide this sense of ownership and specific optionality throughout – enabling customers to feel this is a process they are both choosing and in charge of.
Speed must be appropriate to the customer and the journey they are undertaking. Convenient, speedy and intuitive design is a question of execution and interaction.
In the transactional context, anything that seems more time consuming or onerous than customers are used to is going to represent a hurdle to adoption. We have to manage and optimise each interaction, as well as hand-off between systems for speed, clarity and efficiency, but without sacrificing the principles of security and control.
In addition, we have to be mindful that the speed of transaction or interaction is not necessarily about the ‘fastest possible’ experience. As we have indicated, we must support informed decision making through comprehension and clarity allowing customers to, above all, move at a pace that suits them.
TPPs and ASPSPs need to ensure that Open Banking customer journeys remain flexible enough to support different customer contexts, expectations and situations and – critically – avoid any unnecessary friction in the completion of any journey.
In new transactional scenarios where customers are being encouraged to share their financial information this is critical. It is not only about communicating the benefits of a new service, but being explicitly clear on what is required from the customer, why it is required, and for what purposes. Customers need to be able to make an informed decision and, in turn, understand the consequences of that decision.
Sharing information is seen as unavoidable, and a trade-off for convenience and benefits. And while this is a great opportunity for TPPs and ASPSPs, the value exchange for the consumer needs to be explicitly clear.
At the same time, we do not want to overburden the customer or weigh down the business opportunity with excessive explanations. Transparency is about providing progressive levels of information, in plain language, that inform and support customer decisions.
Explicit clarity and reassurance will be required in relation to data definition, usage, security and above all, protection.
As a new service, all security messaging should be clear and reassuring in tone, but not alarmist.
It is therefore critical to establish and reinforce trustworthiness – trust in the service provider, trust in the transactional process and trust in the role and relationship with their ASPSPs, especially in a payment context where traditional, deeply established alternatives remain available.
The principles of control, speed, transparency and security combine to create a trusted environment for the customer.
TPPs and ASPSPs need to consider, engender and promote values of trust through every part of their Open Banking customer journeys, to foster understanding, acceptance and adoption of new innovative products and services.
Design to maximise transparency to customers
- Clarify rights and responsibilities describing and how the relationship works.
- Investigate and answer additional questions raised.
- Clarify the purpose of data collection and who is responsible for the use.
- Offer detailed explanations for why specific data clusters are collected and used.
- Clarify what happens after the period ends.
- Clarify data use and removal after consent is revoked (e.g. what happens to past, present, future data).
Design to maximise customer trust
- Convey strong data security. When required, use fingerprint and face recognition to help drive security and trust.
- When working with trusted bank brands ensure to build in cogitative friction
- Add support/contact details.
- Specify groups (or types) of 3rd parties, and how they support the service being offered.
- Clarify the intentions and benefits of historical data sharing.
- In all journeys use the customer’s bank logos/icons rather than a generic one as users to support customer familiarity.
- Use simpler, more direct and less official-sounding language where possible.
Maximise the customer’s sense of control
- Visually foreshadow stages of the process in advance.
- Give users control of what data is shared and timeframes around this.
- Describe the benefit of sharing with non-essential 3rd parties, but offer the option to de-select them.
- Describe revoke consent to access data (and make it easy).
- Consider navigation with less scrolling and more swiping.
- Allow users to de-select specific data clusters if a reduced service can be offered without them.
Customer in Control
The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has undertaken considerable customer research over 18 months in order to understand how to enable customers to make informed decisions while enjoying a simple and easy navigation and a secure customer journey. A key principle throughout has been to ensure clarity of information, presented and described in a manner that ensures that Open Banking customer journeys are easy to understand, thereby enabling customers to make informed decisions. The results of this research have been shared with stakeholders as the foundations for Open Banking have been established.
The OBIE recognises that there may be consumers and SMEs are not yet familiar with Open Banking enabled propositions. They have therefore had to interpret the concepts to be investigated based on their experience and the explanations provided in the research groups or panels. This form of ex-ante research has some limitations as there is often a difference between what customers say they will do and what they then actually do. Observed behaviours and attitudes from respondents have at times been contrary. For example, respondents will express a concern that they want to be secure and protected, but in practice they value convenience and will react with frustration to complex journeys often skimming the most important information. The consequence of this is that customers may not review the information sufficiently and may make decisions that they might later wish to reconsider. It has become clear that it is extremely important to minimise unnecessary information and process, and then to package only the most important information in an easily understandable, intuitive manner so that the customer can actually assimilate the information and therefore make better informed decisions.
OBIE research has therefore identified information and steps which assist the customer as well as unnecessary steps, delays, inputs or additional information that may lead to customer frustration and subsequent drop out, or a failure to review important relevant information. In future research it is expected that further refinements based on ex-post data will be possible.
We examine the nature of both useful and unhelpful elements of the customer journey below
Protection for Vulnerable Customers
Customers deemed as vulnerable, or in vulnerable circumstances, may be significantly less able to effectively manage or represent their own interests than the average customer, and more likely to suffer detriment. This may take the form of unusual spending, taking on unnecessary financial commitments or inadvertently triggering an unwanted event. Any customer can become vulnerable at any time in their life, for example through serious illness or personal problems such as divorce, bereavement or loss of income. Work done by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute in the UK has shown the need to emphasise informed decision making, with appropriate steps and information in online experiences in order to help those with mental health problems to make informed decisions, understand the potential consequence of their decisions, or even deter a particular course of action.
Entities have a particular responsibility to identify and protect vulnerable customers, needing to pay attention to possible indicators of vulnerability at a holistic level and have policies in place to deal with customers where those indicators suggest they may be at greater risk of harm. For those customers identified as vulnerable, the policies applied should be implemented at a customer level, not at the transaction level or not specifically to Open Banking, just as is the case for vulnerable customers using other products provided by the ASPSP.
ASPSPs should take the following steps for vulnerable customers using products that make use of Open Banking:
- Provide support for vulnerable customers incorporating information from the Open Banking channel. ASPSPs should consider this issue holistically, treating Open Banking as they would any other customer channel. The ASPSP, having insight into customer behaviour, is well placed to provide the appropriate support, recognising that no single Open Banking customer journey should trigger vulnerability flags to the ASPSP.
- Provide useful and informative access dashboards within the ASPSPs domain that give vulnerable customers the control they need over their financial affairs and access to their account information. Vulnerable customers should be able to see full details of all the access granted to TPPs, the data shared the expiry date and to have the ability to revoke their consent.
- It is suggested that provision should be made in the ASPSP’s access dashboard enabling customers to switch on a summary information step as an opted-in choice.