From Breadcrumbs to Bread: Customer Onboarding

The vision — a challenger bank. Fully digital. Giving customers control to manage their money as they see fit, with easy to use tools to do so. For the past 18 months the Brightside team has been heads-down envisioning, testing, validating and iterating on the offer, and the time is nearly here for Brightside to be released into the light.

The pros of building a challenger bank are stacked high: we can leverage best-in-class trends and tools, partner with third parties to build on and implement valuable technology, and we can layer on analytics in ways legacy systems just can’t support… This wide open sandbox is the perfect environment for developers wanting to disrupt one of the oldest, most traditional institutions. And we’ve been quick to take advantage of all of this. The complicated part of building a challenger bank is that it’s, well, complicated.

Where to Start and How to Know
We started off by envisioning a wide breadth of product offerings to provide a full banking offer. But it quickly became clear that the challenge of building a new digital bank meant we needed to put some parameters on our product development sandbox in order to focus on delivering a clear value proposition for Albertans as quickly as possible. 

Through early engagement and market testing with a community of potential customers (the BHive) and internal beta testers, we worked to develop something simple to introduce as Brightside’s initial product offering.

First: It became clear we should focus on delivering unique saving features (such as Round Ups) as Brightside’s first release. 
Second: We will introduce a new type of MasterCard product — one that blends all the functionality of a credit card with the control of a debit card, and still offers unique rewards. 

As a fully digital offer, and a challenger to traditional big banks, we knew Brightside would have to prove itself as a seamless experience for tech-savvy customers who already manage so much of their lives through their mobile devices. Designing and developing the fastest, slickest onboarding customer experience became a priority. The goal: sign-up for Brightside and be able to have a usable savings account in three minutes or less!

As Brightside readies itself for the first experience with public beta testers (waitlisters will be invited to join starting this fall), we’ve already begun integrating feedback and tweaking the experience based on several hundred internal ATB’ers who have been actively using the savings tools such as Round-Ups and Challenges.

The internal beta has highlighted a few key insights and provided lots of actionable feedback, but maybe the most important takeaway has been: Brightside isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. It’s difficult to resist shaping a product to please everyone and we’ve had to challenge ourselves to stay focused and pay attention to feedback that both validates and disproved our assumptions. 

In the end, we’re staying on track that Brightside isn’t for Albertans who already have robust financial savings habits and deep knowledge of banking services and products. Rather, Brightside is for a big segment of Albertans who want to live their lives to the fullest and use simple saving and spending tools that are complementary to their lifestyle and habits.

Soft Launch: Obsession with Onboarding
Preparing Brightside for a public release means we’ll be using the next few months as a soft launch to gather rich data and analytics from beta testers and integrate that feedback to evolve the user experience and onboarding process. 

The expectation of accepting an invite, creating an online profile and opening up a savings account in mere minutes means we’re using analytics platforms such as MixPanel to track the onboarding process and see where individuals stall or drop off.  We’ll be looking closely at:

  • What is and isn’t intuitive
  • Where can we streamline even more
  • Where and when do people move quickly, stall, or completely drop off?
  • How can we effectively re-engage them so they complete the process and start using the savings tools?

By tracking all of the onboarding stages automatically, we’ll be able to start testing automated educational prompts and re-engagement messaging. As an example, if someone accepts an invite, begins the process but drops off half way through, does a re-engagement message in one hour make most sense, or is it 24 hours later? We’ll be A/B testing as many aspects of the user experience as possible during this time to inform the public release.

More and more testers will be added with each sprint, and we’ve structured our tools and team to ensure we can gather feedback into a backlog, prioritize it, and push hard in sprints to tackle issues and evolve the product and experience. We expect that between now and the end of 2019, things will look and feel very different — and that excites us. 

The Brightside team is craving real world feedback and we’re ecstatic to pull back the curtain and invite Albertan’s to join. If you want to join the waitlist, come say hi at and sign-up to alphaBeta to learn more as we continue our journey of transformation.

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