The financial industry is a highly competitive industry that has many institutions striving to gain market advantage. In order for these institutions to remain relevant in the long term, it is very important that they are able to develop products that speak to the needs of their customers. For them to do this, these financial firms must ensure that their teams are equipped to build offerings that produce the desired results - a satisfactory customer experience, increase in revenue and market share amongst many. For every team seeking to develop competitive products that meet the needs of their target audience, it is important to take advantage of product development tools, alongside design methods and techniques that have produced success for the companies that have leveraged them.
Before a product is developed, there are areas that should be considered to ensure that the desired result is attained. There is already a whole lot of product development tools that can be used, you can find some here. However, for the purpose of the article, we will be focusing on design methods and techniques. Below are the various tools to leverage on when looking to develop a product:
1. Understanding customers and building empathy for them: Having empathy for customers is very important to successfully (and competitively) meeting their needs. Tools like the empathy map enable you to do just that- empathize with your customers. An empathy map is a tool that helps you better understand your target customers. It assists you in identifying important elements that inform your solution for them, such as their goals, emotional drivers, and other important factors. The reason why the empathy map is important for product teams in the financial industry is that it requires the team to engage with your audience, either through interviews, observations or in-depth testing. By carrying out such activities, you are able to better build a product that would satisfy your customer’s needs.
2. Opportunity identification/ brainstorming tools: As you get a good understanding of users and their areas of challenge, opportunities present themselves as solutions, to address those challenges. In order to effectively do this well, there are tools your team can explore. Tools like the decision-to-action tool can help you address areas of challenge to arrive at a winning solution. The Decision to action tool is also important to help your team stay well within the confines of the ultimate goal, due to it’s structured and systemic nature.
3. Prototyping Tools: Prototypes avail product teams the opportunity to build and test early variations of solutions quickly and effectively with users to get learnings they can use for further iterations before launching into the market. In order to save time and resources, it is important that your team select the right tools to prototype with. These prototyping tools could either be physical such as basic paper prototypes or digital prototyping tools such as Figma, Sketch, Keynote etc. Testing tools could be UxCam, dscout, etc.
An example of a paper prototype.
4. Revenue validation tools: If a product, no matter how useful, is unable to bring returns on investment, that product has not met one of the primary goals of the owners. Revenue is an important metric used to validate a product’s success. While a product is being tested, elements like the price point and revenue opportunities should also be tested. Tools like the Business model canvas and the financial prototyping tool can be used to develop innovative business models and a good revenue model that will guarantee returns on the product’s investment.
5. Testing Tools: Once the prototypes are completed, the team can test to validate their hypothesis. Using tools that won’t influence or obstruct the respondents as they use the product is key. It is important to use good testing tools that capture all the necessary data you might need, to move forward in creating the ideal solution. A major reason why testing is important is to reduce the risk of failure when a product launches in the market. This is something that all companies in a customer-facing industry like the financial industry will value, as it significantly lowers the risk of product failure.
Knowing the areas you need to address when building a product and accessing the right tools to achieve your objectives will enable your team to develop products that aren’t only satisfying to your customers, but also meet your stakeholders’ goals. Another factor that should guide the product development process is having a product delegation document or tool that will help your team organise timelines and other important activities as you go through the process. One tool I’ll recommend will be the Implementation map.
In developing a new product or improving an existing one, the tools here will be of immense value to your team. They are proven to assist teams to deliver solutions customers love and need.
Have you used any of these tools before? Please share with us in the comment section.
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