The user experience team at a credit union can now demonstrate as much passion for their user journey as they have for their members thanks to a redesigned website and onboarding experience. They’re expecting big results in the form of more conversions, happier customers, and fewer support calls and are looking forward to continuing to work with Praxent on new banking and mobile solutions for their community of members.
Meriwest is a $2 billion credit union serving individuals and businesses in the Greater Bay Area of California and Pima County, Arizona. Founded in 1961 to serve the employees of IBM, Meriwest offers its members access to checking and savings accounts, consumer loans, small business loans and merchant services, and investment and insurance options from its branches, online, and via mobile.
In 2019, with the launch of a new website, the Meriwest team started looking at their digital model and overall user experience. They wanted to improve the onboarding journey and transition to digital so their prospective members would be able to join and open an account without ever having to come into a branch. Post COVID, they realized many of their members had adopted new habits that revolved around convenience and did not include conducting any of their banking at physical branches.
They selected a solution to enable a fully digital account opening and onboarding experience. Happy with its performance but realizing the user experience could be improved, they wanted to enrich the digital account opening experience in desktop and mobile-responsive format, with UX best practices to remove the friction and increase conversions.
At the same time, Meriwest performed extensive analytics and pinpointed user drop-off within the account opening workflow but was unable to uncover the reasons behind it and the specific points of friction within the experience. They were looking to conduct user testing to better understand, from a member perspective, exactly why they were dropping off and surface insights to inform a best-in-class experience.
Meriwest engaged Praxent to help them reduce friction and increase conversions by understanding why prospective members were dropping off before converting as well as improving the overall user experience to create the best possible user journey for their member community. Both the marketing and user experience teams searched for an outside partner with deep understanding of the banking industry who could help them objectively approach and solve their problem so they could focus on delighting their members.
By 2021, Meriwest was in the midst of launching a full transformation to digital to accommodate the convenience-driven banking habits of its members post COVID. It was also hoping to better compete in the rapidly digitizing banking industry, increase new member adoption—especially among the younger Millennial and Gen Z market—and increase member retention.
Along the way, Meriwest identified two obstacles to completing a full transition to online and mobile banking: 1) an inconsistent (and sub-par) user experience throughout the journey from the website to their digital account opening and onboarding solution, and 2) user drop-off within the account opening workflow that they knew was a result of friction but they couldn’t identify where the friction was occurring.
Another obstacle to overcome was that two separate departments were involved in the decision-making: Marketing owned the website and User Experience owned the onboarding process. Both had strong opinions about how to marry the two to provide one consistent user experience, and they lacked the resources to solve the problem themselves. The team knew they needed outside help to conduct user research and design a consistent experience across their website and onboarding process.
How we helped
Praxent’s expert design team worked closely with Meriwest to conduct a UX audit as well as user testing and research of members, non-members, and members who had dropped off. They then applied these learnings to designing a consistent customer journey that started with an engaging website experience for both current and prospective members and ended with a seamless onboarding process.
Praxent’s approach included:
UX Audit to evaluate the existing experience to identify points of friction
- UX audit of three workflows: joining Meriwest, signing up for a checking/savings account, and signing up for online banking
- Finding reports
- UX recommendations
- User journey map
User Testing and Research through interviews conducted with non-converting prospective members to identify pain points, anxieties, and insights from their experiences opening an account
- Research workshop
- 8 user interviews
ClickModel® Prototype to redesign the digital account opening experience from homepage to digital account opening and onboarding solution with UX best practices to remove the friction and increase conversions
Meriwest received a redesigned user experience for its marketing website and onboarding platform thanks to four high-fidelity workflows and aligned UX/UI to drive consistency among Meriwest marketing and Terrafina catalog. Once the design is fully implemented, prospective and new members will be able to quickly and easily join, open an account, and compare products. They will be able to begin the onboarding process within two to three clicks, versus 7-10 clicks now.
The client is planning to move into phase two of its engagement with Praxent by the continuing implementation of its user experience across new online banking and mobile solutions.
Key Features and Deliverables
Customer Journey Maps
Praxent refined members’ and non-members’ customer journey maps to secure alignment and consistency across individual stakeholder perspectives and prepare for the UX audit.
Praxent conducted a UX audit of Meriwest’s homepage, product landing pages, Terrafina catalog, and account creation process.
Along the audit, Praxent identified 70 issues around:
- Options for the user to start the workflow
- Global navigation and unclear joining options
- Inconsistent terminology for CTA, buttons, and navigation bars
Praxent created a research plan and conducted one-hour research interviews with
6 new members, 1 non-member, and 1 drop-off non-member.
The findings helped the designers align on crucial design objectives based on stakeholders’ interests, will, and values.
- Driven by Value: Participants are driven by promotions and the benefits they will receive with a Meriwest account.
- Empowerment through Education: Participants want the education and details they seek to be easily accessible.
- Quickest Path to Open: Participants want a streamlined account opening process that reduces unnecessary steps.
Objectives were categorized in order of importance and ensured both the design team and the client had clarity and alignment on the ones being considered and those left out of the current design.
Based on user research and key findings, the team focused on designing an engaging online platform for multiple personas to open and manage their accounts with consideration given to scalability.
UX principles were considered to decide on what to prioritize to secure:
- The quickest path to open an account
- Communication of value in a clear way
- Empowerment through education
Praxent created a detailed style guide to ensure the UI felt unified and consistent moving forward.
Praxent brought the information that potential members were looking for to the forefront, which included:
- Pulling up special promos to the hero of the home page
- Providing quick access to the account types
- Making fees and rates highly visible on the account pages so users could quickly compare accounts
These changes help potential members to understand the eligibility requirements and jump straight into the application process.
Digital Onboarding Solution
- Reduced friction on the application process by simplifying steps
- Reduced cognitive load by adding clarity to the number of steps in the process and dividing information into different sections
- Added clarity to what to expect next from Meriwest if the user was not immediately approved during the application process
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