When banking professionals think about topics such as personal finance, there are a series of logical arguments that come to mind, which serve as common, no-nonsense, universally accurate advice. For example, the idea of investing for retirement early in order to reap the benefits of compound interest is inarguably touted as sound financial advice, yet most Americans fail to act on this advice.
In this example, the argument isn’t flawed, but the way it’s presented is less than convincing.
Data visualization is an increasingly popular catchphrase in the financial world, and for good reason — customers are visual learners, and creating an image around their finances can help articulate financial advice better than most narratives. Consider these three examples of data visualization when you think about your customer experience strategy.
When looking at mortgages, many customers may be ignorant to the dynamic between the remaining balance and the way that affects their monthly principal versus interest payment, particularly in terms of the slow principal paydown early in their mortgage when their overall balance is still high.
By helping customers visualize this piece of information, you can help them understand when they can expect to have certain milestones in principal paid down, they can make long term plans, such as when they might be able to afford a new home, and you create a motivating narrative for them to make extra principal payments each year, if they choose to do so.
Creating visualizations toward savings goals, such as a “thermometer” or jar to be filled, can create motivation and excitment around savings goals. Often, customers begin savings journeys with a goal that is genuinely exciting, such as a loan payoff resulting in freedom, a vacation resulting in relaxation, or the purchase of a new vehicle which serves as a functional symbol of hard work.
However, once customers are actually doing the hard work of saving, it’s easy to reduce these ambitious goals to monotonous monthly payments toward numbers on their online dashboard. Think about ways you can spice up these savings goal account pages in order to channel the excitement customers initially feel when they establish a goal.
Current and Prospective Monthly Budgets
Similar to savings goals, monthly budgets benefit heavily from relying on data visualizations. Consider a bar graph, with real spending by category positioned side-by-side with “goal” spending. By creating this visual, customers can quickly glance to understand what categories they’re spending responsibly in, and what categories are their weak points where they need more work.
By creating a visual, customers can absorb information quicker, and channel those images in the moment when they’re making a budget conscious decision, such as purchasing a gift or picking a dining destination.