We’ve just launched a new application journey that enables businesses to apply for multiple funding solutions through one single form, quickly and easily. Now that may sound pretty basic, but it couldn't be further from it.

Onboarding is one of the most vital steps in establishing a strong relationship with our customers. And with the ever evolving landscape of business finance, we need to make sure we provide a first class experience, avoiding the headache that traditional banking has a reputation for.

What do customers expect from a first class experience?

Here are some of the key things we’ve learned in our customer research:

  • Our varying customer types have very different expectations when it comes to applying for business finance.

  • Trust and the “legitimacy” of the finance provider is a significant consideration when business owners or financial controllers apply for finance outside of their main bank.

  • With the majority of businesses only ever having dealt with their bank, they are increasingly becoming frustrated with their legacy processes. Customers expect a smooth, easy-to-use process which can be completed quickly and easily.

So we set ourselves some goals:

  1. Create a safe and secure environment for submitting an application
  2. Be digital first and mobile friendly, removing needless friction and requirements for unnecessary documents and data
  3. Provide a tailored experience to our many different types of customers
  4. Build for the future and measure our performance, allowing for easy innovation and automation

Build trust

First and foremost, our application form has many technical components that ensure online security and that any data we collect is used in line with our privacy policy. We are on a mission to reduce the demands on our customers to provide us with sensitive documents/data. Having already seen a significant improvement in customers completing their application from beginning to end, we think we’re doing a pretty good job. But a big challenge remains. How do we help customers feel comfortable providing data through integrations such as Open Banking or with their accounting software – arguably a much easier and faster way of completing the form. As these integrations remain unchartered territory for most of our customers, we are working hard to find ways to educate and develop trust in these features to provide a better experience.

Be digital first, remove friction

Our application journey has been built with convenience in mind. We know that our customers are increasingly turning to mobile to run their business, with an excess of 35% of our applications started on mobile devices. Turning to mobile to access finance should be an effortless exercise (as it should be on desktop too). With a 100% online application, we’ve incorporated key features such as autocomplete field entry, jargon-free language, helpful tooltips, drag and drop document upload, and progress indicators. Combined with clean and clear form design, customers feel informed and in charge of the process.

Tailor the journey to the customer’s needs

There are a lot of different kinds of people who use our application form including brokers, bank relationship managers, accountants, financial controllers and of course entrepreneurs and business owners themselves. Each of these have different needs and expectations from the application experience so it’s important for us to account for that.

Our new application journey is designed to cater to the needs of all our customers in a seamless way through a modular style and smart application form. This means we avoid a one-size-fits all approach by profiling customers early on in the process and tailor the application form as they progress through. We cut out any needless requests for information as well as save the customer time and effort.

Build for the future

At MarketFinance, we’re no longer a single product platform. We provide a range of complementary solutions to comprehensively meet our customers’ business finance needs – with more to come. This means we need to future-proof our application journey to avoid shoe-horning new products into the form.

Because we’ve built the application in a modular style, we can swap products in and out as well as make use of dynamic questioning and document collection depending on the profile of the company applying. In addition to this, the design of each stage of the application form and progressive data collection allows for instant funding decisions as early in the journey as possible, saving our customers time they can better spend on running their business.

Crucial to any product development is measuring and learning. We have a range of tools that enable us to observe and measure the performance of the application journey. We use heat maps and recordings to see where customers are getting stuck, and review simple performance metrics on each stage of the journey, so we can focus our attention where needed most and continue to improve the journey for all.

This is just the beginning of our new and improved customer journey and we’re very excited with what's in store in the coming months. Watch this space!