Building Strong Client Relationships

The only way to keep your customers is to anticipate their individual needs and be their trusted advisor.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study.
the Challenge

Customers Expect Personalized Services

Today’s banking clients have more options than ever before. Each customer has become the focal point of their own retail lives in what is rapidly becoming a “Bank of One” experience. In this mobile age, every customer expects a personal, highly tailored experience.

Personalization can be difficult for banks to deliver however. Not because they lack the desire, but because legacy systems, regulations and their own bureaucracies confine them to the traditions of the past. These forces hold them back, even while they recognize that location and products alone are not enough to attract and keep empowered customers.

My Role

I led the design of Portfolio Analytics across Tablets, Desktop and Web since the outset of the project in August 2015. I led the efforts to evolve the web app and address customer pain‐points related to the browse and tasks experience.

Customer Insights

I partnered with a project manager and a business analyst to uncover insights and translate concepts into features that address customer behaviours and motivations.

Experience Strategy

I created frameworks and prototypes to share the vision, design principles and content strategy. This helped to evangelise ideas, gain alignment and drive decision making.

Planning & Scope Definition

I defined the product with my project partners. I evangelised customer goals and balanced business goals. I prioritised and negotiated features for launch and beyond.

Design Leadership

I designed up and presented works to gain buy‐in from executives, senior stakeholders and other teams throughout the project lifecycle.

the approach

Early Bird Gets the Worm

The demand for a well-built solution is growing, since improving customer journey and providing a positive customer experience was ranked as the number one trend, as well as top strategic priority, in the survey of global banking leaders.

This meant we had to move fast, while still delivering the quality that users are expecting. Working backwards from a fixed launch date, meant that design was subsumed into an engineering‐driven process. Sign‐off milestones were driven by engineering estimates and time to create the right design was the time left over. The combination of a fixed launch date and aggressive scope created an intense environment with many coordination and time challenges.

The Discovery

It's Time for a Shift

In this digital age, delivering a personal banking experience that differentiates and drives more business is going to take data.

However, the data that banks and credit unions require to personalize the experience typically resides in disparate systems, each serving only one specific delivery channel and/or product silo. As long as this data remains siloed, it will be extremely difficult to provide a superior and personalized banking experience. That's where Portfolio Analytics comes in.

We conducted customer and market research to drive our planning phase. These are the top priorities that defined the launch version of the product:


Enhancing Experience

Move focus of digital engagement from cost reduction to experience enhancement.

Leverage Data

Leverage advanced analytics, machine learning and contextual engagement to provide a highly personalized experience.

Channel Flexibility

Allow the consumer to engage with their bank on the channels they prefer at the times they want to engage.

Customer Journey

Engage end-to-end throughout the customer journey, from shopping to account opening, to onboarding and through relationship expansion.



It's About Everything

Personalization needs to happen across all touchpoints on all channels, and new technologies and applications that enable this must be taken seriously.

Decision Advice

Despite the recent rise in self-service banking, the average consumer still wants individual, in-person assistance to make intelligent and informed financial decisions.

Inaccurate Fees

Some customers still feel like they are being exploited by their banks, especially when customers are charged inaccurate fees without banks having an explanation for doing so.

the vision

Enhance Customer Experience


Our vision for Portfolio Analytics was to be the tool for Relationship Managers to use when dealing with customers. We did not want to offer an exhaustive list of irrelevant data, rather wanted to focus on the most critical KPIs. We envisioned the future of banking to be deeply personalised to customers' needs.

Portfolio Analytics turns data into actionable insights, empowering Relationship Managers to identify customer behaviours and characteristics — and then make prescriptive recommendations to maximize product cross-sell, minimize channel costs, and enhance customer experience. Value is what we wanted to bring to the table.

the requirements

The Right Tool for the Job

Trust has always been central to the relationship between a bank and its customers. Today, data and analytics offer banks an inherent opportunity to create value and build trust.

Yet as analytics moves from the back office to the front line, banks will need to ensure that they trust their analytics to ‘do the right thing’ for customers, shareholders and regulators. Indeed, just as banks need their employees to act with integrity, they also need their decision engines and algorithms to act with integrity.

We were responsible for building the right tool for the job - that's easy-to-use, has a minimal learning curve and provides the critical data RMs need to make clever choices. Based on customer insights and market research our main priorities to focus on were:

Product Cross-Sell

Deepen relationships by enhancing product cross-sell capabilities.

Personalized Offers

Enhance the client experience by delivering personalized product offers.

Risk Control

Increase retention by identifying and targeting clients exhibiting attrition risk behaviours.

Channel Cost

Minimize channels cost by identifying and incentivizing activity with lower-cost channels.

Marketing Effectiveness

Increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns with behavioural insights.

the framework

Turning Data into Recommendations

The biggest challenge I faced during this project was balancing moving forward with designs, while collaborating with the wider team across multiple time zones. This was hard.

Based on our primary and secondary research findings we had to carefully prioritize the features of the web app. It was a fine balance to come up with experience and capability that would satisfy the bank's business needs and the end-user expectations.

Visual Thinking

Initially, I started with sketching general user flows on paper. Things got a bit more serious as I reached areas of specific user interactions, where we had planned for quite big and complex calculations to take place. Plus, I had to keep in mind different user groups, as each user group would use the app differently.

Content Planning

One of the earliest design challenges was proposing which content to display and data layout. For deeper insights we performed a hierarchical card sort with 10 participants. My aims were to understand how bankers thought about different categories of content and what was most important to them in the context of customer relationship.

Feature Planning

Next, an equally important design challenge was building effective features. Some of which were test scenario engines that would handle large amounts of data in order to provide RMs with the most appropriate course of action. Getting the right data in place was only half the battle, I still had to manage the experience without overwhelming users with so many steps required to complete a single task.


Once the sketches were done and I had a good understanding of the userflows, I started wireframing. I used rapid prototyping techniques to bring the designs to life and evaluate them with the users. Testing many concepts helped me form a broader view of the system earlier ensuring a more cohesive design.

Hi-Fidelity Mockups

To move forward with the design I used Photoshop to create detailed mockups. With this approach I could easily share the design process with future users and get early feedback on branding, visuals, and UI.

Prototyping & Testing

I used the InVision app to bring my designs to life as a working prototype. Working with the InVision app and the flexible features it has was an effective way of solving the Interaction Design. I worked collaboratively with users, tested constantly and iterated progressively.

detailed design

Digital Age Banking

Portfolio Analytics is a cloud based web app that assists Relationship Managers working with clients to reduce attrition and optimize their relationship by developing personalized offers, adding products, using lower-cost channels, and more.


Everything You Need From the Start

When designing our dashboard we thought of appropriate KPIs that would be displayed right "out of the box". Yet, at the same time we had to provide the flexibility of customizing the dashboard to fit the user's needs and display the right information.


Understanding Your Customers

Portfolio Analytics can help financial institutions realize that providing a personal experience leads to a high-value banking experience that helps to acquire and retain customers.


Discovering Opportunities

Our solution can leverage client data to match banking services with the highest propensity for take-up for each individual customer or customer segment and match products with customer needs.


It's Nice to Know What-If

Our What-If Analysis feature shows the various ways of working with customer segments and the hypothetical effects of deepening customers' relationship with the bank.

the impact

Banking Won't be the Same Again

There needs to be a shift of focus away from simply selling products towards providing relevant and contextual financial advice — in other words, banks need to demonstrate genuine interest and commitment to the customer’s financial wellbeing.

Our goal was to create the tool that could help banks do exactly that.

Since the launch, Portfolio Analytics helped retail banks to overcome the data silos and see through the overall customers' activity from 360 degree perspective. It helped them make customer centric decisions, design focused approach towards cross-sell/upsell and attrition. All of this resulted into a better customer retention and satisfaction.

We have presented our analytics suite at the FIS conference, where various bankers appreciated the way data & insights are presented to enable banks to take insights driven actions.

“Banking is changing and these kinds of loyalty initiatives are only going to become more important in the future.”
Ramesh N.
Head of Technology Solution Delivery — Standard Chartered
the reflection

What I Learned

The biggest discovery was the way banks operate, and how stuck far back in the past their whole setup is. At the same time, knowing that our product can greatly impact bank's operations and the lives of bank's customers, gave me confidence in my design work.

As a Lead Designer I learned that communicating the fine details of your design work and how it should look and function when coded takes patience and a lot of testing. Developers don't think or notice details like designers do. I learned to take the responsibility of making sure that my ideas are understood.

Throughout the project I picked up new skills related to business analysis, quality testing, and team management.

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