Next Bank China: Jason Huang


TANG’s Next Bank China event was successfully launched in Beijing on August 24th. Seven speakers sharedand exchanged their unique views at the forum, which undoubtedly benefited and impressed the participants.


Outside-in, experience thinking

Hello everyone! Finally, it's time to discuss consulting firms. In the morning, Mr. Hu saidthat consulting was very promising. To improve its user experiences, the China Merchants Bank (CMB) should, above all, find a proper consulting company. Thisis a very good message for us consulting companies. Now, I'd like to do alittle bit of research. How many of you are from a consulting or design company? Ok, about one fifth.

Today, the theme ofmy speech is 'outside-in, experience thinking'. Today's keynote speech and forum has made me recall a pioneering master in product psychology. He wrote a book last year. It says that most of the time, we really want to do something in a simple way, but we'll come to realize that finance and banking are actually very complicated. Complicated things confuse us. 'Complicated' here means that many other things are involved. So, I think the biggest difficulty in designing user experiences for banks is to achieve a balance between two things. You hope to provide consumers with products or services that are easy to understand and operate, but meanwhile, the banks’services are complicated in nature. I've communicated with some friends workingin banks. They wondered whether banking experiences can be made simpler forusers when they use the product for the first time.Today's forum has two participants from consulting companies. The other is quite different from me. He once helped Apple design the entire Apple store, and has also designed for Citibank. I'm very much looking forward to Tim's speech.

Let's start with Lakala. Lakala suddenly appeared in about 2007 and was later called a 'killer' device. It can help credit card users make monthly payments. At that time, as mobile banking was not as popular as it is today, and cross-bank transfer was still a complicated thing, many consumers didn't know how to make a repayment. Today, if you forget to make a repayment, you may notget a loan when buying a house. But now, the banks are changing and China's credit system is also changing. Your bank credits will be associated with loancredits. If you are from rural areas, you'll know that many people in your hometown, including mine, transact with cash. There may be only one bank out letin a small town. So, Lakala is a good idea and has many opportunities and goodprospects. But credit card repayment isdifferent than before. Now, we can use Paypal. So, what role can smartphonesplay in the Lakala ecosystem? I think the service system plays a crucial role.

When we talk about user experiences, functionality will often be our first thought. I've heard the speeches in the morning. The finance sector is actually a typical service sector. It's evenmore complicated than the Internet sector. For the finance sector, Internet is just one type of service. So, today, we are discussing how to help banks design better experiences for consumers. Talking about services, a friend mentioned retail in the morning. I personally think that Shanghai's retail industry is a typical service sector. And take travelfor example. I am going on a vacation, so obviously, I'll use hotel websitesand car rental outlets, etc. Travelling is also a typical service sector. Let's get back to banking. Mr. Hu also mentioned that consumers dealt with bank sthrough different channels. You'll find that all traditional service sectors are more responsible than Internet companies. Here, I have to mention service experience design. We've heard about service design, which is a type of cross-channel design. You may come across some of TANG's staff outside who are offering these services. When you ask for the way to the bathroom, they will tell you. When you intend to participate in the forum, you can register online. This is interaction, right? Even if you don't work with them on a project, there are still many ways they will offer something to you. Providing users with a complete experience process through various channels is across-channel experience design.

There was some foreign research carried outin 2010. The researchers conducted research on some famous business sectors and 90% of the interviewees were business people. We've dealt with many different banks and financial institutions. What's the current state of China's financial service enterprises? The first point is about the management of personal consumption. For example, if you spend about 20,000-30,000 yuan on Taobao every month, and you'll receive a bill at the end of year indicating that you've spent 200,000 yuan for the year. But, what have I bought? Clothes or something else? Users have a strong demand for the information. In fact, it's better that Paypal do the statistics, rather than banks, because Paypal has the data, while banks can't judge what the user spend moneyon. As for Paypal, it's easy to find out whether the user has bought men's shoes or women's shoes. The second is multi-account management. You'll find that you have many bank cards. You may have a CMB's salary card and a China Guangfa Bank's credit card. You'll find many cards in your wallet, but your parents may only have one ABC card. How can you gatherthe capital together? How can we design the overall interface? It's not only a matter of different accounts, but of different people, such as my wife and I, or my mother and I.

As far as I know, 'financial management' is still a profound term for many people. Have any of you bought financial management products from a bank? This sector has immense potential. Why not buy financial management products? In my opinion, financial management is a high-threshold product. I need to sign a pile of documents that I don't fully understand. I once talked with Mark about this. The staff will offer consumers a proper product through a proper channel in a proper scenario. How can we make consumers feel that they are getting closer and closer to financial management? I sometimes think that financial management is making money with money. So, we need to establish a closer relationship with customers.


I'll give you another example. Young people born after 1980 or 1990 buy things with their credit cards. They use a credit card because of discounts at some places, such as a 15% discount at certain restaurants. But they don't know which stores in Zhongshan Park or People's Square offer discounts. This is a problem. So, to help consumers find out where they can get discounts with a credit card, we can integrate the credit card with the LBS. For example, when I with draw some cash, I could be informed of where I can get discounts with my credit card. The ATM is not only a place for with drawing cash. At least I believe not, especially near a business district. An ATM is also the only means through which banks offer services to consumersin a business district. We can use an ATM for other purposes other than as a cash machine.

I understand that the transformation of thinking is the key for an enterprise to offer better services. I've mentioned many ideas and each of you can also think of many ideas. But in the end, we need to integrate the ideas in a good way, which, I think, requires the transformation of thinking in an enterprise, especially the thinking of service staff. There are two kinds of thinking. One is Outside-In, and the other Inside-Out. What is Inside-Out? The management of many banks will invite top consulting companies such as McKinsey for help.They will tell the leaders the future prospects of a product, and the leaders will say they are fully aware of that, but the product department says the product cannot be produced and that they don't know how to create a mobile bank. In such cases, the matter should be handled more from the perspective of internal management. Outside-In means enabling customers to feedback on these services you are offering to them. Take the health care and communications industries for example, for a patient shooting anX-ray in a medical room, there are service staff and an operator in the room. The film will be printed. This is an ecosystem. And this is why it takes you so long to shoot an X-ray. So, you can use these things to understand how consumers use your products, or how they are provided with experiences and services from their perspective.

Of course, some tools are involved here. They can help you record data. And many methods can be used. In fact, when you set about truly exploring consumers' demands, you'll probably use some methodsthat will help you integrate into consumers' environments and these methods canhelp you truly understand consumers. You'll find that banks' services areactually very complicated and involve many things, such as multiple channels and contexts. Bank design is a complicated job. It's far more than designing awebsite. It requires much planning. 

For example, suppose we are designing hotel services. This map shows some methods for truly understanding the consumers and the whole process of a consumer's going on holiday. First of all, the consumer does some searching on the Internet to find out popular tourist destinations this year, such as Sanya. Then, he checks out other traveler's reviews of the hotels, makes a decision and finds a way to book hotels. Then, he needs to make preparations and will come across more problems. He may not know where to go, or find that he needs to wait in a queue for meals. It is the role of the hotelto address these issues. If today, someone asks me to design an App to dopersonal management for them, then they need to tell me what the App shouldhave and what it is. This is a matter of positioning.

Next, I'll share with you the domestic cross-channel experience cases we've done from late last yearto now

First of all, we used some methods tounderstand what bank users do, and through what channels. I will not go indetail about this. Then, we gathered massive data and needed to have much discussion. If a client asks us to plan the positioning of each department ofan e-bank, how should we do it? This is a very important part. Planning the future of a product is not only done by technicians. Maybe the branding staff, market staff and staff from external companies are involved. This is a process that determines future directions and strategies.

In this process, you can produce some very important outputs, such as personas. I personally think personas are a very important thing. Of course, there may be more bank users than I think, maybe hundreds of millions. So, you should first find an entry group and then define how to make the product, because you can't cover all users from the very beginning.

You'll meet many different users. They may have accumulated some wealth. They may be white collars or golden collars. They may buy a lot of stuff on Taobao every month, and live from paycheck to paycheck. They may be middle-aged women who are users of financial management products. They may be rational investors, who have come to a certain age, may have their own business and may buy stocks. So, when they buy stocks, what things do theymainly do? Given the present cross-channel services provided by banks, how dothe above behaviors happen? During the cross-channel processes between banks, what are the issues and what can be improved? What's the biggest advantage of using personas? They can make unreal users real and help us understand our users. All the people who've seen the personas say that our team is offering services to such people.

Next, I'd like to make three points.

First, cross-channel experiences are macro and should be central throughout the entire user experience process or the overall service cycle.

Second, cross-channel experience design is about services rather than simply about products.

Third, cross-channel service experience should integrate the advantages of various channels and distribute and implement different parts of the service system into proper channels.

We've divided such services into three levels. The first is function, the second is channel, and the third is user. Sending short messages is the most common method used by Banks. I don't know if you've ever met this situation before. A bank's credit card division sends you two or three or more discount messages every day. Is this the way to offer push notification services? Push notification services should combine the functions of tablet computers rather than be limited to short messages. From the consumers' perspective, a bank's E-pay service may not be bad. After you've conducted the research, you'll find out whether such E-pay services are really what the consumers need. Different colors show different severity levels of the issues. This is a very important part in our methods for designing cross-channel bank experiences. You can use such methods to simulate E-pay's main services and functions provided by banks. Of course, there are other factors, butthis is unique and can serve consumers best.

The third is users. Banks may have some questions. How to improve the exchange rate from credit cards to debit cards through creditcard service? What functions and services shall be used to develop user strategies? When you have done such analysis, the next thing is cross-channel electronic services. You should figure about the positioning of each channel. You may say that an ATM is a cash machine, but it's originally a self-service terminal. The users can be automatically provided with real remote video services and don't need to handle transactions at the counter. The ATM can help solve various issues through a virtual service. Then, what about online banks, cellphone banks and tablet banks? Is a tablet bank an extension to a cellphone bank? What are the consumers doing with a tablet computer? Mainly watching movies or buying things? Originally, a tablet computer offers consumption-related services. First of all, how do a sales team use tablet computers? This is the first question. Another issue is the exploration ofcross-channels. For example, you can directly fill in a business application form with a cellphone. 'Dear Mr. Huang, please fetch your card at Zhongshan Park in two days.' After considering the product that can offer individual services, we need to explore cross-channel services. There are different departments in a bank doing this. As far as I know, most banks have an electronic bank, an online bank and a mobile bank. But they are developed by different teams, so it's hard to ensure consistency and unity of their experiences. In other words, are you thinking about things from consumers' perspectives? Many people can't understand the services because perhaps, banking terms are used and the services are not designed based on the consumers' perspective. 

What's the role of each channel such astablet computers, cellphones and ATMs in the consumer's mind? Cellphones are like a data center. Then what is an ATM? These things require our thinking. After you think these questions through, it's possible for you to make a product and to approach users through these channels and devices. Another issue is visual unity. Due to confidentiality reasons, I cannot share details with you about visual interfaces. If you want to help banks with user experience design, you need to consider business, and business logic, etc. It's actually arather strategic thing. I've used the term 'complicated' in a commendatory sense, but it's indeed a troublesome thing.

Besides, we'll often find that the ATMs in China are built with a mirror due to a previous murdercase. I think this is engineering thinking, and the banks can solve this. Forexample, a color patch may be added to the floor. Anyone crossing the area will be considered to be attempting a crime. This can indirectly help consumers. Infact, sometimes, we should see things in the overall sense. This is a hugely different way of thinking. I suppose Tim will share with us about this later.

A prominent background for the banking sector is the Internet and Internet thinking is constantly influencing and impacting the finance industry. I think a typical change has been that in the past, most electronic banks mainly created channel sinstead of products, while this year, I've heard of 2 or 3 of domestic banks that have transformed from electronic banks into Internet banks. In other words, electronic banks don’t only offer channels, but build services into the channels as well. So, for such emerging Internet banks, to what extent shouldthey understand their customer base? For UI, product, service, or business? Ithink most of the time, what society needs is cooperative innovation instead ofisolated innovation. You need to enter the business level rather than stayingat the UI level.

There are several issues for you to think about.

First, when to enter? If you conduct researchor design for a cross-channel bank experience, what's your relationship with the business department? At what stage will your customer experience designs or research be integrated with the work of the department? If you are to develop abig or small customer experience team, when will you begin your work?

Second, who will maintain it? After you've completed your work, there will be follow-up work such as upgrades, maintenance and discovery of new issues. Who will do the maintenance in the bank? An internal or outsourced team?

Third, positioning and operations systems. If your bank is to build an experience team or any other team, regardless of the size, what will its positioning be? How should it integrate with the business staff, developers and even the management?

Please think about these three questions. I  hope that this forum will make you think. I think the conditions vary from bankto bank. For example, we entered the finance industry in 2008. Some of you may know that ICBC has a Customer Experience Division, which was developed by us between 2008 and 2009. Finally, you have one more issue to face. Is customer experience the responsibility of the CEO or the management? I personally agree with Mark that we should not just regard it as an executive department.

Thank you!

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