By Trisha Price, chief product officer of Pendo
Between rising inflation, strained supply chains, and an increasingly uncertain geopolitical landscape, the risk of full-blown recession throughout Europe and North America looks more and more a matter of when, not if. In order to prepare themselves to weather the coming economic storm, leaders in financial services are asking themselves difficult questions: How can banks and other financial institutions maintain healthy net interest volume (NIM), deposit growth, loan volume, credit quality and other key metrics? How can they drive growth without also driving up their budgets? How can they retain both customers and employees and make both groups happier and more satisfied?
To solve these and other problems and emerge successful from the economic turbulence, many of these leaders are embracing a product-led strategy as the answer. But to understand how becoming product led can leave financial services companies more prosperous, efficient, and protected from economic uncertainty, let’s talk about what the term actually means.
Putting the product at the center of your business pays dividends
In the traditional conception, businesses tend to think of their software and mobile products as some form of service they provide to customers or a channel for communication and activity. But for product-led leaders, they’re so much more than that. Being product led means putting your product at the center of all business functions. The product becomes the place where customers can find support and get answers to their questions. It’s the space in which to market new offerings and drive awareness of improvements to service. And it’s the means through which to drive sales and increase wallet share most effectively. For banks and financial services companies, that means creating a digital experience optimised for the user and free of friction points.
“Money never sleeps,” the famous saying goes. Yet if that’s really the case, why is it so difficult for banking customers to open new accounts from their phones on a Saturday evening? Why, in 2022, is it still often impossible to complete the most basic financial transactions without having to get a human involved on the other end? Why are customers prompted to answer tedious questions about personal information when already logged into their banking or financial services apps? Don’t the companies already have the answers to these questions in 99% of cases? Product-led financial services companies know that it doesn’t have to be this way, and they’re working to build something better for customer and employee alike.
Improving the user experience yields a positive return
Product-led financial services companies are creating a better customer experience. They’re doing this by making their apps easier to navigate and new features easier to discover. They’re using in-app notifications to promote new products and features, and show users how to accomplish popular tasks and perform various common transactions. In doing so, they’re saving their support teams precious time and resources by proactively preventing support queries and calls. They’re also communicating new offerings at scale to easily and efficiently drive cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, in the process growing wallet share from customers and accounts.
Product-led companies are also leveraging their apps on the back end, via the power of product analytics, to build something better for their customers and keep them from churning. Examining usage data and collecting feedback within the app (say, via a poll or survey) helps the product team see what’s working, what needs to be improved, and how best to plan their roadmap of what features to prioritize and what to build next. Product analytics can also alert customer success teams of users who may be unhappy with an app and struggling to get value from it based on feedback (say, NPS) or usage trends. They can then proactively step in, reach out to the customer, and work with them on fixing any issues and driving more value.
Happier employees mean better business outcomes
Being product led doesn’t end with your customers. The same principles apply internally as well to employees and the technology they need to adopt to execute on their work. For financial services in particular, employees are often navigating stringent regulations and compliance requirements that are constantly changing. What’s more, they’re doing so on software with constantly changing configurations. They’re regularly executing complex workflows, processes, and transactions, and they shouldn’t have to scramble to find obscure external documentation or try to recall an in-person training long forgotten as they execute on these tasks.
The same in-app support that provides timely and relevant guidance to customers can be used for employees as well. And in a similar way to how they gauge customer sentiment, IT and business technology leaders can gain insights from analytics on internal-facing software to see where employees may be struggling, what tech is working, and what needs to change. The result is happier and more productive employees, which leads to happier customers and better business outcomes.
Becoming product led is an investment in the future
No one knows exactly what the future holds, but becoming product led is a buttress against economic headwinds. By proactively optimizing the user experience, automating key functions within the product itself, and basing key decisions on how users actually act and what they actually want, financial services companies will come out stronger, more efficient, and ready for anything.
Trisha Price is chief product officer at Pendo, where she oversees product management, design and product ops teams and sets the product strategy for the company. Prior to joining Pendo, Trisha spent more than 20 years as a product and technology leader in financial services companies including nCino, Primatics Financial and Fannie Mae. She most recently served as chief innovation officer and chief product officer at nCino, a leading cloud banking provider, where she oversaw both core and new product development, and ensured the alignment of nCino’s technology vision and business strategy. In addition to her role at Pendo, Trisha serves as a member of the board of directors for Docebo and Lendio. Trisha holds a bachelor of science in mathematics and mathematics education from North Carolina State University and a master of liberal arts in extension studies, software engineering from Harvard University. Trisha lives in Wilmington, NC, where she enjoys spending time on the water, playing contentious games of Catan with her boys, and watching them enjoy their favorite activities.
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