I have capacity for new clients from May 2024 - Get in touch to discuss your project

Increasing trust through smoother customer onboarding

Fintech • Established business
UX & Product Design • Strategy
6 months

Canada Life has an enviable reputation for quality and customer care in the Financial Services space. Their digital portals for financial advisors needed to be living up to that promise but, instead, were causing frustration and driving avoidable overheads.

With multiple portals and different logins used to manage various products, Canada Life was burdening already busy advisors with this annoying overhead. More frustrating was the lack of user access controls for large firms to manage their teams. Functionality for adding new users, managing permissions, and updating credentials were broken, inconsistent and unreliable. As a result, advisors leaned on Canada Life's support teams for key features they expected to have control over.

Canada Life recognised this gap, but it felt like a mountain to climb. Ongoing minor tactical fixes were a sticking plaster over a more significant (and growing) problem that could impact reputation and retention. Canada Life needed a vision for better agency management.

Exploring the art of the possible

Existing issues were born out of a heady mix of well-known issues. Feature bloat, technical debt, and lack of design leadership had eroded the experience of using the advisor digital tools used to sell Canada Life products. 

Canada Life's head of Digital, Richard Cooper, knew it was time for fresh thinking. Rich is a pragmatic leader; he knows when it's time to iterate and when it's time to explore better ways forward without the restrictions of existing technology or thinking. This challenge required a clean slate and an ambitious approach.

Over six months, we immersed ourselves in the problem from the perspective of advisors and internal support teams. Interviews with partners highlighted frustrations with portal features, time-consuming admin, and the need to contact Canada Life to complete simple requests. Internal workshops revealed senior support staff frustrated by their task workload to support requests from advisors.

The bar had moved for self-service functionality, too, and a Kano model analysis showed how far Canada Life was lagging behind benchmarks set through both B2B and consumer digital products.

Research and workshop learning led me to explore better journeys from advisors and support staff, proposing more joined-up workflows that would meet (and, in some places, exceed) expectations. 

Prototyping and funding a near future experience upgrade

Vision projects often fall victim to scope creep. A crucial part of my role was facilitating conversations focused on meeting core needs and adding extra delight and new technologies only in areas where this value would be most appreciated and enhance competitive advantage.

Security and identity management were areas where we saw the potential to push higher. By smoothing out and speeding up the authentication process, we could onboard advisors more quickly while highlighting Canada Life's commitment to security.

I prototyped a seamless end-to-end onboarding journey, from invitation to permission setting. Socialising these journeys was vital, and I ran a roadshow of demos both in-person and remote to gain buy-in and clarity on the vision for this critical advisor experience.

With momentum behind the initiative, my final steps were to explore viability with technical teams and build a business case for investment. As of late 2023, Canada Life was ready to explore a first phase of investment in the new portal, having demonstrated the time, cost and reputation benefits of pushing forward with the project.

Search for something