Project Description

Two business women brainstorming ideas, posting notes, and writing on a glass board.By Christine Hunsucker, Senior Vice President and Global Payments Strategist, Wells Fargo

Next time your ERP vendor, bank, or software provider unveils a new release, stop and consider what went into its development. If it feels exceptionally intuitive and easy to use, odds are the development team employed a user-centered design process.

User-centered design, or “design thinking” as it’s also known, emphasizes intense collaboration with customers at all stages of the development process. It prioritizes the needs of people, rather than business processes, technical features, or “the way we’ve always done it.” It’s a staple here at Wells Fargo, and at innovative consumer and B2B companies.

The resulting solutions are unexpected and exceptionally meaningful, because they originated from personal and real-world experiences, rather than the R&D lab. Consider the foot-activated liftgate on an SUV, or initiating a payment by text message. Both are out-of-the-box ideas that evolved from day-to-day customer frustrations and ideas.

Eliminate friction and simplify work flows

Your commercial card program is another opportunity. User-centered design can help improve your adoption, satisfaction, and spending levels by better mapping the way cards function to how your cardholders, approvers, and program administrators actually do their jobs (and not the other way around).

That means work flows with the fewest possible clicks, more self-service options, and information that’s “right-sized” and readily accessible.

For example, when a cardholder requests a credit increase, imagine having their current and historical transaction data readily available—without having to click through multiple screens. This user-centered idea enables administrators to make an immediate decision, and reduces interruptions for business travelers or cardholders who need more spending power.

Another improvement tackles the friction of lost or misplaced cards. With a traditional program, cancelling and re-issuing a card was the only option, which inconvenienced cardholders and administrators. User-centered design evolves the process significantly by empowering cardholders to temporarily lock their accounts from a mobile phone until misplaced cards are found.

Perspectives from front-line staff and treasury executives

At Wells Fargo, we employ a dedicated user experience practice that helps optimize the customer experience across our products and services. Companies large and small provide insights, from front-line treasury management staff and administrators to senior executives.

Participating can involve our experts observing how different people interact with a product prototype, asking for feedback on how reports and commands are named, or diagramming different ways that companies execute a transaction.

This firsthand input transforms our development process. Your perceptions debunk common assumptions and challenge status quo. They allow us to vet concepts and prototypes earlier, so we can rule out what doesn’t work right away, then retool quickly. Your ideas even create a pipeline of needs for future products and services.

Putting people first during development also benefits your organization. Including more viewpoints upfront makes it more likely that the final product will delight a wide range of users. And launching more intuitive tools reduce the time and effort it takes to learn, which decreases the need for training and accelerates user adoption.

The end result of all this collaboration? Thoughtful work flows that reflect how you and your cardholders actually do business—and solutions that enable you to spend less time and energy accomplishing your goals.

For more information, contact your treasury management representative.