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Scottrade Getting to Know Its Customers Better

scottrade customer engagement

Gina Bhawalkar, Assistant Vice President, User Experience & Accessibility, Scottrade explained to attendees during her session, “Scottrade and Understanding the Customer Journey: When Segmentation Isn’t Enough,” at the 4th annual Loyalty360 Engagement & Experience Expo that her company wanted to understand its customers better to more effectively engage them and create brand loyalty.

“We didn’t know about their needs, emotions, and mindsets,” she said. “I wanted to change that. We wanted client personas grounded in research.”

Scottrade is a leading investing services firm heavily focused on numbers. The company had sufficient data and information on its clients from a UX and marketing research standpoint, but Bhawalkar said company officials sought unique insights gleaned from CRM and comprehensive customer research.

But as the company worked to enhance its strategic vision for client experience and add new services and solutions, company leaders knew they needed to not only bring all of their customer research together, but also fill in some gaps to gain a deeper understanding and gain a full picture of its audience–both current clients and potential clients they are looking to attract.

As a result, Scottrade worked closely with user experience agency EffectiveUI and embarked on a comprehensive ethnographic study, interviewing 36 people in their own environments to uncover what trading and investing meant to their lives overall, how Scottrade fits into this, the tools they use, where they need guidance or help, and how they feel along the way.

Lys Maitland, Senior User Experience Designer, EffectiveUI spearheaded the three-month research project.

“We wanted to help Scottrade understand who they were working with,” Maitland said. “Scottrade is a very numbers driven company. It knew the what, not the why, and it wanted to understand expectations and so we created personas and journey maps.”

Each of the interviews was two hours and Maitland said there was a plethora of data gathered. She spoke about storytelling sessions held after the project that helped bring to life clients’ motivational behaviors, along with the importance of seeing the data as the landscape of the clients.

The research yielded 4,000 data points that were analyzed and produced goals and motivations.

“We are excited to have personas and journey maps,” Bhawalkar said. “We socialize the personas and journey maps, but we take a strategic and tailored approach that’s very deliberate. Get personas out into your environment. We created coffee mugs for each of the five personas and also got journey maps out in our environment. We tried to tap into people’s emotions.”

Scottrade came away from the research project with a better understanding of its clients and what they needed beyond what the company’s segmentation models provided. Scottrade is now actively working to turn what it learned into action and tailoring its tools around its audiences. Using personas and journey maps drives actual business decisions and initiatives.

What’s more, Scottrade is monitoring and addressing the customer pain points uncovered in the journey mapping process.

“We identified 55 pain points and we prioritized what personas were impacted the most by these,” Bhawalkar said.

She offered some Dos and Don’ts.

Do clarify how the personas will be used and how they differ from segmentations

Do be thoughtful about who you socialize the personas with

Do find creative ways to get personas out into your culture

Don’t use a one size fits all approach

Don’t forget about new hires

Don’t share once and expect them to take hold

Bhawalkar said the project has helped Scottrade make better business decisions as they relate to their clients.

“Recognize what you don’t know,” she said. 

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