Two-part physical and digital productivity tool for Relationship Managers
BNY Mellon is one of the largest and oldest banking institutions in America. Working in a team with Sun Park we were tasked with designing a tool to help improve the workflow of Relationship Managers (RMs) working in the corporate trust business line within BNY Mellon. Relationship Managers, alternatively known as sales representatives, want to better cater to the needs of their 80 - 150 clients in a way that helps them be more organized and feel more in control.
We began by first interviewing RMs of varying experience levels to better understand what their goals and needs were, and what pain points they had with the current process. We then took all of this information, recorded it on sticky notes, and affinitized their responses to better identify patterns and trends.
After our initial research and brainstorm we designed a research tool for the RMs to fill out to give us more specific insights into their daily activities. We were not allowed to visit their offices and observe them work, so this was the next best way for us to get a better idea of how they currently went about finding and compiling information on their clients. The research tool consisted of a circle divided up eight sections and each section was labeled with a specific tool or application. The RMs then placed a dot, on a scale of 1 to 5, to represent how often they used each tool. We e-mailed the research tool to the RMs which they then filled out and sent back to us.
From there we created a persona for an RM and established criteria to help us evaluate how well we are addressing the needs of the RMs.
The RMs main goals all revolve around building and maintaining long-lasting relationships with their clients. They want to create solutions that work well for both BNY Mellon and their clients and provide BNY Mellon executives with high-level updates on client status. RMs want to see the client’s background and details, including financial plans, goals, and benchmarks, current economic trends in the client’s area of business, and daily flows of the client’s investments.
We discovered that the main opportunities to improve RM's workflow were to create a tool that helps them collaborate with clients in real-time, increase efficiency, and aggregate all of RM’s daily tasks. It should also help facilitate fluid communication during meetings with clients. With a well-defined problem space, we began to iterate on possible design solutions. We started with low fidelity whiteboard and notebook sketching, so we would not restrict ourselves too early in the design process. We specifically explored both screen-based and physical 3D solutions. After the initial phase of low fidelity sketching, we moved to more refined wire frames. This allowed us to begin sending prototypes to the RMs for direct feedback on what was working well, and what aspects of our design needed to change. The final solution is Verge, a productivity tool to help RMs plan, collaborate, and grow their relationships with clients for meetings they have on a daily basis. It is a desktop application that comes along with a small portable device, Connect, to detect key words and aid in smooth presentation flow. RMs tag files they want to present at an upcoming client meeting with key words and phrases that they will remember. Then during the meeting if the RM wants to bring up a specific file, they speak into the Connect device, which is actively listening for key words, and the slide is instantly projected for everyone to see. This is a more natural and fluid way of presenting than using linear PowerPoint slides. These tools allow Relationship Managers to feel better prepared going into meetings, and help them make a more compelling pitch to their clients.