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Duncan Keene, UK managing director of UX analytics platform ContentSquare, explains what Monzo’s success has taught us, and how we can learn from it

According to the BBC, the UK has lost 40% of its banks and building societies since 1989, which begs the question – how are people banking today? The simple answer is that there’s been a complete shift in consumer habits in the past thirty years as people grow more and more tired of having to fit their banking needs into the typical 9-5 bank schedule. Online banking has grown exponentially, and recent entrants to the market, such as Monzo and Atom bank, have become incredibly successful and popular with consumers.

This isn’t surprising considering the figures: according to CACI, a consultancy firm, consumers checked their online banking accounts 1.6 billion times in 2015, while only visiting their banks 427 million times. Online has now eclipsed the physical, as people eschew face-to-face interactions in favour of managing everything online. And why not – if you can shop online, why shouldn’t you manage your money online too?

So how can today’s banks and financial services take advantage of these developments? Can they even keep up? As online banking becomes exponentially more popular, adapting to these shifting times becomes more and more revenue-critical to these businesses. A quick search on the App store reveals the gulf that is opening up between challenger banks and traditional financial services firms: HSBC’s online banking app gets a low 1.5/5 average rating, while Monzo’s app enjoys a 4.5 star rating. So how can you take control of your online user experience and get a taste of Monzo’s success.

So what is Monzo?

Monzo was created in 2015 in order to address these consumer banking issues. No longer do people have to miss out on lunch to go to the bank – with a service like Monzo, consumers can manage everything remotely. Monzo’s creators have focused all their product design and user experience efforts on the platform most important to millennials – the smartphone.

Monzo understands that modern users need products that are easy and without hassle. Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfeld believes that “every bank claims to be customer-centric, and they are invariably not. They’re product-centric.” Monzo, however, is customer-centric. The numbers back this statement: its £19.5 million institutional funding round was followed by the fastest crowdfunding round in history, when £1 million was raised in 96 seconds.

So what’s new?

Monzo’s great success is in part due to its simple strategy of listening to what consumers want. It all boils down to superior user experience, or UX. Banks are starting to realise the importance of measuring and implementing user design, but they’re not quite there. With banking in particular, there are still plenty of long, laborious forms and nonsensical processes that frustrate users. This makes user experience all the more important – banks should be trying to make the experience as smooth as possible to avoid losing customers.

Financial services firms are struggling here in part because they use free analytics tools like Google Analytics. When you’re running a business that relies heavily on user experience, these services are no longer enough to get the proper insights into consumer behaviour. You should instead be focusing on tracking behaviours like click repetition, hesitancy rate, and time before first click. By monitoring these, it’ll be easier to visualise return on investment from different content.

It sounds simple but it’s true: it’s not enough to put effort into a well-designed website if those design features don’t affect financial returns. If you spend your design budget on a massive, beautiful banner that then fails to attract attention, that’s when you know you have a problem. Avoid this by adopting analytics solutions that actually measure your designed website content by the amount of financial value they’re driving. That way you’ll know where and how to focus your attention, and what to change to suit your consumers.

The millennial generation cares about brands which that make an effort with their customers, something that Monzo has capitalised on. User experience has truly become the new USP – according to Walker, UX has become such an important part of ecommerce that it will overtake price and product as the key brand consumer brand differentiator by 2020. Make sure that you’re taking care of user experience: while you may not become the next Monzo overnight, you’ll definitely be on the right track.

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