So that Customers can make informed decisions while enjoying a simple and easy navigation and a secure Customer journey, a key principle is to ensure clarity of information that is presented and described in a manner that ensures that each API Standard Customer journey is easy to understand.
2.2 Useful elements in the customer journey
Many Customers skim through the information presented to them when setting up online products when the information is not well presented.
In their desire to achieve the benefit, insufficient notice is taken of the implications of their actions, or the terms and conditions. It is common to find that they cannot describe what they have just agreed to.
Research carried out by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), based in the UK, shows that better understanding can be achieved by carefully designing the Customer journey. It reveals that the solution is about:
effective, intuitive presentation of information,
not introducing steps to slow the Customer down or repeat information.
The following methods have been found to be the most effective:
Clear messages and navigation in the redirection screens that pass the Customer from the Third Party to the API Provider and back again.
The redirection screen should create a clear sense of separation as the Customer enters the API Provider domain to authenticate, and as they return to the Third Party. Use redirect screens as signposts so Customers know and trust where they are in the journey.
Present information in an intuitive and easily understood way.
Keep it to a minimum.
When it is necessary to present more complex information it is easier for the Customer to understand when:
presented in a series of smaller amounts,
across more than one screen.
Avoid text heavy single screens.
Providing supplementary information at specific points in the Customer journey is useful, helping the Customer to understand the process as well as ensuring comprehension of a product or offer and its implications. If executed well, it will enhance the Customer journey and reduce drop off.
Experience and branding should mirror existing online Customer channels.
2.3 Unhelpful elements in the customer journey
Research by OBIE has shown that superfluous information, poor or confusing choice of words, repetition, large amounts of text, too many steps or avoidable delays in the Customer journey can lead to frustration, an even greater tendency to skim, and ultimately an increase in Customer drop off.
The following unhelpful elements were identified in the research and should be avoided:
A Customer authentication journey that takes too long and requires the use of separate devices such as one-time password generators, especially if applied multiple times in the Customer journey.
Where there are fewer screens but a significant amount of text on the screen.
Customers having to scroll up and down the screen to progress the Customer journey.
Unnecessary information that does not add to the Customer’s understanding or trust, especially when presented in a separate step or screen.
Delays such as slow loading times, web pages or apps that have not been effectively debugged, and unexpected crashing of web pages or apps.
Language which may create a level of concern, uncertainty and doubt when going through the Customer journey.
The use of language that is too long, complex or legalistic to be easily understood when going through the Customer journey.
Asking for the same information twice.
Asking for information when it is not needed.
Forcing the Customer to open a new browser window during the Customer journey.
Asking a Customer to input information that they do not readily have to hand, such as unique Customer reference numbers.
Requesting input of information that could be pre-populated once the Customer has authenticated.
Inconsistency in selecting an online channel when multiple channels are supported e.g., differentiating between personal and business banking.
2.4 Customer experience principles
The API Standard Customer experience should balance informed decision making while remaining understandable, intuitive and effective. The Customer experience should be shaped and positioned into content and functionality that clearly communicates and facilitates purpose, intent and relevance and meets the appropriate legal tests relating to the customer disclosure.
This is especially true in the act of giving consent context, where Customers always need to know and understand:
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; and
a clear 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 the act of giving consent is structured, but also how it is expressed, designed and organised around a range of changing human needs.
A series of guiding ‘experience principles’ are outlined below that can be, through careful design, developed into a process or transaction and dialled up and down where certain interactions become more critical.
These guiding experience principles are deeply Customer centred. 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 a simple and effective way.
Extensive Customer research undertaken by OBIE has demonstrated certain recurring themes that Customers deeply care, or are worried, about. To support and achieve the goal of creating trust, these themes have been combined and made into a few key experience principles when implementing API enabled Customer solutions. These principles underpin the range of core journeys and key Customer interactions described throughout the Guidelines.
The introduction of any kind of new transaction, product or service - especially online - can create an opportunity for deeper engagement. However, it can also create barriers through poor implementation. From a consumer perspective, this is often driven by a loss of control in the process.
If Customers understand what is going on in a process, they can make informed decisions and choices on their own terms – including the option to change their mind. It provides 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 API Standards, control comes from providing Customers with the right tools and clarity of information at the right time (e.g., knowing the account balance at the point of payment or knowing that they can view and cancel consents given when they feel it is appropriate to do so).
Standards Users need to consider how they provide ownership and control to Customers throughout – enabling Customers to understand and take ownership of the decisions made through this process and that this is something that they are choosing and in charge of.
Speed should be appropriate to the Customer and the journey they are undertaking. Convenient, speedy and intuitive design is a question of execution and interaction.
In transactional context, anything that seems more time consuming or difficult than Customers are used to [or expecting] is going to degrade adoption. Each interaction should be managed and optimised, as well as hand-off between systems for speed, clarity and efficiency, but without sacrificing the principles of security and control.
In addition, be mindful that speed of transaction or interaction is not necessarily about the ‘fastest possible’ experience. As we have indicated, informed decision making needs to be supported through comprehension and clarity (especially in the context of Account Information Services), allowing Customers to, above all, move at a pace that suits them and ensuring that the Customer knows what they are consenting to.
Third Parties and API Providers need to ensure that API Standard 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.
Transparency of choice, action, and, importantly, the consequences of actions or sharing of data is crucial to promoting the benefits of API Standards.
In new transactional scenarios where Customers are being encouraged to share personal information this is critical. Be clear on what is required from the Customer, why, for what purpose and what the consequences could be.
Sharing information is a trade-off for convenience and benefits. The value exchange for the consumer should be made explicitly clear.
This is, however, a balancing act. We do not want to overburden the Customer or weigh down the experience with excessive explanations. Transparency is therefore about providing progressive levels of information, in plain language, that inform and support Customer decisions
In the context of Security, the key concerns for Customers are fraud and data privacy.
Many will understand fraud, but data privacy may be less well defined in the minds of consumers. Not everyone has the same idea about what ‘my data’ means (e.g., is it my name and address? Passwords? Names of my kids? Transactional history?) Nor is it well understood what businesses even do with their data once they have access to it. Such concerns can be even deeper with newer brands, lacking established consumer confidence.
Explicit clarity and reassurance will be required in relation to data definition, use, security and, above all, protection.
In addition to personal data, transactional (data) security is the critical factor to ensure long term use of Third Party services. As a minimum, Third Parties and API Providers should ensure this is no less than consumers expect today.
As a new service, all security messaging should be clear.
Building trust with early adopting Customers is crucial and can be done by communicating clearly what is going to happen and ensuring their experience matches that.
The principles of control, speed, transparency and security combine to create a trusted environment for the Customer.
Standards Users need to consider, create and promote values of trust through every part of their API Standard Customer journeys, to foster understanding, acceptance and adoption of new innovative products and services.
2.5 Protection for vulnerable Customers
Standards users should be thinking of making their services suitable for vulnerable Customers. Those who are seen 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. Consent and data privacy issues are particularly relevant and important for people with mental health issues.
For reference, the NZBA and NZHRC have published guidelines that specifically relate to the provision of services to vulnerable persons:
It should be noted, however, that Guidelines still apply to the provision and communication of services to vulnerable persons. A Standards User should look to enhance the service provided in ways that would benefit an identified vulnerable group i.e., using large print or clear fonts for users with impaired vision.