Team Pad Thai | Building Relations with the Customer


Grow the amount and types of business with mass affluent customers (extending beyond just checking and savings to include investments, loans, credit cards, etc.)


Mass affluent customers (100k-1 million in investable assets, usually between the age 28–60)


Design experiences to encourage customers to share information with their financial institution, teach them the value of their information while helping them grow financially knowledgeable, through personal, tailored feedback.

Observations: Customers are willing to share information with financial institutions as long as they receive better services or that incremental and pertinent value is given in return. Customers have been disappointed by the lack of customized and personal services provided by the institution, given the information they have already shared.

Design Intervention: Currently, the institute is not utilizing the personal information given by the customers to meet their expectations. Bridging the gap between the customer’s understanding of how their information is used and the institution’s understanding of what kind of personalization the customers want.

02/09/17 Mapping

Today our group met to understand the project prompt-2 that we had selected of building trust through long term goals. We decided to break down the prompt and understand what information would PNC need if they had to build a long term relationship with their customers. We tried the “backcasting method” to list down all the details of customers that could be used to personalize services, understand customer needs and build trust.

Factors the contribute how people understand/learn
Mapping out different themes we can approach

We also mapped out to see the different themes that emerge from the topic: Building a customer + bank relationship. In mapping out the related factors that contribute to the relationship, or lack there of, we identified a few major points that stood out.

  1. Trust
  2. Communication
  3. Interactions

Most of the factors are interconnected and often lead to another. For example, the lack of trust can be a result of incorrect communication which could be due to how the bank system doesn’t seem transparent to the customers, because the bank doesn’t communicate their process. This in prominent in the kinds of interactions PNC offers to customers, digital or physical. Ultimately, to build trust with customers, the bank must be transparent with what they do with customer information and feedback, and show that they are valuable, as well as act on the feedback they receive.

For the next steps, we want to explore what the customers need to be prepared with in order to close the knowledge gap between what the bank is trying to do vs what they understand it is trying to do.

02/16/17 Knowledge Acquisition

Stacie introduced us to the knowledge acquisition exercise. In this exercise we had to list down the knowledge gaps that we thought the customers needed to be taught. We realized there were a range of customers who had to be considered while designing. Not only could we map out the knowledge gaps but also make an informed decision about the types of knowledge gaps we wanted fill up for the customers thus narrowing down our scope. We based all our assumptions on the research handed out by PNC in the first phase. It was really interesting to go through and analyze all the personas.

02/27/17 Skill Acquisition

Based on the identified knowledge gaps, we focused on the skills that we want the customers to have acquired throughout whatever our design approach may be.

  1. Building up financial vocabulary
    In order to understand what the bank is doing in the background, customers must be able to understand what the different financial vocabulary . In addition, we want them to gain skills that are transferrable outside of just PNC services and become more independent as mass affluent customers.
    Some of the ways we can accomplish by, taking a quiz to test their financial knowledge, which gives them self knowledge of how much they know, and perhaps strive to know more. Another method is to have them teach others (such as family members) which forces them to apply and interpret their financial knowledge.
  2. Understanding bank services
    To help customers engage and contribute to PNC more, customers should have a good idea of the different bank services that is offered to them. 
    Some methods that can be used include print materials that could inform the customers of services. Another method could be role playing, where the customers become the bank vendors, and recognize the common mistakes that are made to self reflect on whether they are also making those same mistakes.
  3. Articulating concerns and needs
    In order for the bank to build better relations with the customer and understand their concerns, customers must also know how to address their concerns (what do they want and how could it be improved). Some techniques we can use to teach customers these skills could be a personality profile quiz where customers respond to some questions that build up their profile of the certain topics they want to address. Another method is to present them with a common scenario where a problem might arise, and have to address the problem in the situation and possible solutions.
  4. Negotiating
    Last skill we considered was for customers to learn how to negotiate with the bank, or ask for services they want, but also the accept that there are limitations on what the bank can do. Some methods we thought may be useful in this situation may be role playing, where the customer and bank switch roles, helping them understand the bank’s perspective in interacting with different customer needs. Another method could be to just directly teach customers how to negotiate, which maybe fast, but also won’t stick long.

03/08/17 Setting context

This week was all about synthesizing all of the learning theories we’ve learned thus far in LXD. We decided to use scaffolding as one of main frameworks for filling knowledge gaps. We decide to identify knowledge gaps of the customer by using a goal mapping method which will be incorporated into the design solution. Mapping all this out was really helpful, as we were able to draw connections and visualize our own concepts. Due to this we realized that customer’s motivation needed to be boosted along the way and so we decide to help build motivation to complete short term goals and reward customer’s efforts along the journey of building a long term relationship.

Our next stage will be ideating different aspects of the prompt we want to focus on and create learning experiences for the users. Now that we have the framework for all the touch points and concepts, we feel prepared to step into the making and iterating phases of the project.

03/09/17 Ideation

Using the learning theories framework we decided to target three aspects of the problem:

  1. How to identify customer’s knowledge gaps to help bridge those by educating them.
  2. How to help learners identify their own knowledge gaps by building goal maps.
  3. How to help learner’s stay motivated throughout the process achieving short term and long term goals.

Mapping the motivation gaps and the knowledge gaps across each other proved to be very helpful. We were able to identify over laps in the two and understand how motivation gap could be due to knowledge gap and vice versa. After this we had a brain storming session to design an apt goal map that could cater to all users. We briefly touched upon how to build trust over a longer period of time.

03/21/17 Concepts and getting ready for speed dating

We started wondering if our system is ‘universal’ enough to cater to the different kinds of customers. Since we were provided with different kinds of personas that PNC explored, we decided to use those as the basis to see how our system in a scenario would play out.

While we couldn’t cater to all of the personas’ needs, we focused more on the personas who wanted a bit of guidance, had at least a vague idea of their long term goals. With this, we created a timeline of experience we want the customer to go through, but also what knowledge/skill we want the customer to gain at each point. The whole experience was built on providing the customer with guidance and educating them.

For speed dating, we started solidifying on some concepts we built around the experience map. Stacie gave us some questions to think about which would help us create a more wholesome concept to pitch during speed dating. Some of the questions we considered were :

  • What specific content might we want to use for the experience? How can we cater it to the customers’ interests and needs?
  • What medium might we utilize to execute our design? What medium makes the most sense for the design to exist in, considering the audience and experience?
  • What is the overarching goal of the design? Where are we aiming the customers to be at the end of the experience?

In addition, we built scenarios around each of our concepts as well as possible visualization.

03/21/17 Speed dating feedback

We conceptualized three different ideas for the speed dating:


There is a give and take relationship between the bank and customer. For a customer to comfortably offer up personal information, it needs to be clear what the information will be used for and what the benefits are. Transparency builds trust. Asking customers to think of their long term goals offers a chance to build a relationship– customers will need to provide information to the bank to achieve their goals. Customers will also learn about the ecosystem of PNC services and feel less intimidated.


On an external website/application, you’re asked about your long term goal. A map showing the various steps necessary to take is generated, explaining how PNC can assist you throughout the process. You can choose a shorter or longer timeline and can easily see how the process might change. Each step is clearly explained and contains a call to action. If you’re a little farther along in reaching a goal, you can easily skip the earlier preliminary steps and jump towards steps farther down the timeline. By having you initially focus on only the final end goal and less on the process, you won’t be as overwhelmed by how or where to start.

Email check ins

Payday is always an exciting day and one of the few times you’re a little less scared of checking their bank account. This window of opportunity is the perfect time to think about your financial goals and how to work towards them. When a large deposit is processed, you receive an email alerting them of the completed transaction. The email also suggests moving some money into their savings account and explains how that small deposit over time can be put towards a large purchase or investment. There is a call to action prompting you to set a specific goal (a vacation, car, emergency fund, etc.). Over time, the emails are customized to fit your goals. By arriving in your inbox in a fairly predictable schedule, you are held accountable to your goals.

Virtual assistant

Customers have often commented about the lack of personalization in the services they receive, given the amount of information they have shared. Many customers want the experience to be personal, tailored to their needs, whether it be the kinds of advices offered or the degree of help they receive from the institution. A learning virtual assistant app tailored to to the customer’s needs, native language, and goals could help customers with their financial uncertainties and goals when they want help with easy access. The user would first ‘meet’ the virtual assistant, setting their long or short term financial goals along with some personal information. It would offer some different services the financial institute could offer to help the customer reach those goals, while also answering any financial questions the customer has along the way.

Our concentration was in helping customers ‘visualize’ their long term goals as well as financial futures, which will ultimately help build trust between them and the bank, and urge them to exchange information with the bank.

In the speed dating, we were able to find the weaknesses in our concept. Some of the things that were constantly brought up were :

  1. What is the motivating in using this design?
  2. Is the design private enough for customers to feel safe discussing financial concerns?
  3. What makes the design interesting? Why would the customer want to engage with the design (especially the e-mail)

So our next step is to work out some of the weak points in our concept and decide on one to dig deeper.

03/21/17 Developing content

These were the toughest parts in the process. Stacie pushed us to write our content first as that was the main chunk of our solution. Our concept was a chat bot that help build a goal map. Thus we needed to detail out the content first. We made a list of our assumptions and over arching goals and identified the steps that would help us bridge that gap.

We also made multiple story boards for our concepts which included a chatbot, goal map, physical map outside PNC branch and an application that acted like your assistant. We all divided the concepts to make storyboards. Later on we met to discuss what worked and what didn’t to make a final storyboard of our concept.

Different scenarios of the design conceptualization (all 4 ideas)

03/21/17 Refining content

At this point, we were focusing more on the specific prompt we may use to engage the customers. A lot of our focus went to (based on the feedback we received from peers) how to motivate the customer to start the process and continue engaging in it. What are some topics that PNC customers may take interest in? We mapped out the first part of our system where customers will be asked about their financial information.

We thought it may be a good idea to let the customers define the kinds of financial topic they may want to discuss about. After all, they won’t be engaged for a long time if the topic of discussion doesn’t align with their motives/interests. In order to ease them into talking about their financial interests, we wanted to have a casual approach, perhaps by talking about more daily, friendly topic, such as what’s going on in their lives right now.

Eventually, the discussion with the ‘bot’ would lead do a financial topic that the customer can elaborate on and start planning on.

In addition, we also talked about what to do when the customer doesn’t have a financial concern they are currently interested in. In such cases, we decided that suggesting topics other customers took interest in or are planning may be a good use of social proof to engage them into the system.

04/03/17 Presentation

Our concept was named relationship builder that helped you visualize. We were all excited to show our work done so far to PNC and get feedback from them which would reassure our direction of the concept.

We felt that trust is the most important factor in building a long term relationship, and transparency is the precursor to trust. If customers know exactly why they need to share their information and can see the benefits, they’ll be willing to share more with PNC, leading to more customized services, and a stronger relationship.

We also felt that long term goals would be the appropriate facilitator in building a long term relationship: achieving that goal becomes the visible benefit for the customer. They will understand that sharing information with PNC allows PNC to better help them achieve their goal. Long term goals will also take time to achieve, giving PNC enough time to slowly introduce customers to their services and products.

Based on the context of long term goals, we wanted to push learning theories that fostered long term action to really relied on them to build relationships between the customers and pnc. Inspired by the research Susan A. Ambrose and Julie Dirksen we built off of learning theories to incorporate them into each step of the designed process.

Some of the methods we looked into and applied in our concept were scaffolding, motivation, expectancy and feedback, and bridging knowledge gaps.

Scaffolding involves breaking apart a task into multiple chunks to reduce complexity by providing support to master each individual task. We wanted to scaffold the first steps of the customer’s continued relationship with PNC. These supports enhance learning and aid in the mastery of tasks.

Our team placed lots of emphasis on building the internal and external Motivation of customers.

To foster motivation, we :

  1. give early performance based assessments,
  2. provide opportunities for self assessment
  3. have students implement a plan — help create timelines

A key learning theory we built on was the idea of expectancy and feedback. We wanted to meet PNC customers at their current expectation and continue by exceeding with long term relationships by their expectation.

Feedback done correctly strengthens learner’s expectancy and motivation by having learners believe in their capability to succeed in learning. Evaluating one’s owns strengths and weaknesses helps set realistic goals. We wanted to clearly communicate and plan with customers to set goals and give them feedback of how they are doing in achieving the goals that they have set.

Bridging knowledge gaps involves identifying what learners don’t know to provide appropriate learning objectives and specific goals. If a task is too difficult or too easy, effective learning will not occur. Frequency of practice is also important.

Its importatnt to keep in mind that these learning theories will all come together to support longer term learning goals. By building on theories and causing actinos, we have designed to foster a growing relatinship between PNC and the customers.

After that we took some time to understand all the mass affluent personas, based on the learning theories and the needs of the personas we made this- our design approach. As our goal is to build a strong relationship with the customer over time one of the key aspects for that is trust, which is born out of transparency and communication. For a customer to be comfortable and confident with financial knowledge to start up a conversation, and especially a long term one, the benefits and outcome must be clear. The red dotted line is the learner’s journey.

So we propose:

1.Understand customer’s lack of trust

2.Use learner’s existing knowledge and ask learners to think about a long term goal

3.Give learners time to reflect and understand knowledge gaps

4. Learners will use personal information to visualize long term goal. Visualizing long term goals motivates them to take actionable steps

5.Visualisation helps learners feel confident to build a relationship with PNC and talk about their financial needs.

6. Help learners understand the financial processes and fill their knowledge gaps.

7. And lastly, Celebrate learners goals and reward efforts. Trust is built and learners see the value in this relationship. Learners feel motivated to visualize another goal.

Based on the previous map, out concept is to build a long term relationship with the customer through a conversational virtual assistant and customizable goal map. A virtual assistant walks the customer through the process of identifying and parsing their long term goals, suggesting actionable short term goals and checkpoints. These are all visualized in a goal map that changes with the customer’s needs, wants, and achievements. The virtual assistant can be consulted at any time and creates a safe space for customers to ask questions without fear of judgement. (bigger questions like how can i maximize retirement to more day to day like should i buy these airline tickets) It can also check in with learners periodically and keep them on track to achieving their goals.

Stephanie Miller: tech-savy Soon-to-be married, developer in Chicago who prefers convenience looking for trustworthy planner to design financial path

Stephanie receives an email, about a financial assistant that could help her visualize long term goals. Since she was stressed about planning finances for her marriage and relocating, she decides to try it out.

The assistant starts conversing with her casually asking her what her current financial concern is, and Stephanie shares her goal of buying a new home in a new state. The questions seem relevant to her situation, so she finds herself engaged through the process and eventually mapping her long term goal — paying her mortgage for a new home — on the goal visualizing map.

With the specific questions geared towards her goal, she is able to identify the difference between her future vision and now, and what she has to do within the small steps that lead up to paying back mortgage loans.

Using the mapping tool, Stephanie is able to finish multiple steps such as identifying her affordance and cash down payment.

However, she runs into a problem finding mortgage loan providers and rates. Just as she is furiously searching the internet, she receives a notification email from the virtual assistant checking up on her due to her inactivity! Stephanie logs onto the visualizing map and checks her current step, “determine mortgage and interest rate,”, and clicks into various options she can take.

As suggested, she decides to refer to a PNC loan specialist. After pre-authorizing her information from the map to be sent over to the specialist, she is sent to a physical branch.

There, she consults a financial specialist who already received and analyzed her information, saving tremendous amount of time for Stephanie. He shows her some of the tailored plans he picked out for her, and helps her decide on mortgage loans.

As Stephanie completes task over time, its gets more customized. The assistant learns all about Stephanie over time, giving apt advice for her needs and building trust and relationship as an essential tool and advisor. Eventually it translates into other hand held digital devices, allowing even easier access for Stephanie’s busy life in a new city. After completing her first goal, to pay back mortgage, Stephanie now begins a new goal: Save up for her newborn’s college funds!

Through the presentation of our storyboard, we found that we should put more concentration on bridging gap of the physical element (financial assistant) and digital element (the calendar) and using the assistant to ease those processes. Our system will reduce the need to repeat information, while helping the customer establish a personal connection with the bank with a wholesome system the communicates with each other to learn about and assist the customers to their needs.

04/11/17 PNC Visit

04/13/17 Narrowing down the concept

04/18/17 Content and concept

2 min video:

Show video explain concept displayed in scenes and highlight moments of motivation and explain them using learning principles.

Virtual Online banking (Vob) d

Banking Assistance Buddy (BAB)

Financial Assistant

Meet “user”


Stephanie is a mass affluent customer

Rough storyboard

Scene 1

Stephanie is a 30 something developer and has managed to accumulate enough assets to be considered a mass affluent customer. She’s about to become a homeowner but has some questions about where to start. Stephanie recently heard about (bot) her friend and decides to give it a try.

Meet stephanie. Stephanie is trying to buy her first home. Although she would consider herself to be money savvy, she’s not sure where to start. This is where fibo comes in.

Introducing Fibo,

Fibo is a personalized financial bot, that helps you achieve your long term goals.

fibo can answer quick financial questions, create a goal map of actionable tasks, and keep track of bank appointments with in-app calendar

Using Fibo, Stephanie can ask for help on how to get started with finding a competitive mortgage and get connected to a loan officer at her local bank. Fibo can collect information from stephanie’s responses and send them over to her loan officer with her consent streamlining the process as she goes.

and get connected to a loan officer at her local branch.

Fibo can help stephanie by providing easy step by step scaffolded tasks to help her take ownership of her goals.

Now whether stephanie, prepares to welcome a baby into the family, take a second mortgage or develop her retirement plan even further, she can use fibo to help guide her. For those like Stephanie fibo can be a valuable tool help keep people on track of their financial goals.



Stephanie can use fibo

Scene 2

(Bot) is a chatbot that quickly and easily answer any financial questions customers might have. (Bot) encourages customers to ask any question they might have, no matter how simple or silly it might be.

B: Hi, I’m (bot). Do you have any questions about finances I can answer? I know quite a bit about buying a house, preparing for retirement, and saving for higher education, but you can ask me almost anything that has to do with money.

S; How do I know if I picked the right mortgage?

B: Well, one of the most important things is your credit score, which determines your interest rate. You’ll want to get quotes from different lenders, and then compare and negotiate rates. There are a lot of different types of loans to think about: Fixed, ARM, FHA, USDA, VA, HELOC, jumbo. You’ll also want to think about closing costs, turnaround time, and how you prefer to communicate with the lender.(Simple visuals to help Stephanie understand mortgage details)

Would you like me to explain any of the terms mentioned?

S: What are closing costs?

B: Closing costs are (etc).

Stephanie was able to have all her mortgage related questions answered without having to comb through search engine results for hours. By being a reliable teaching tool, (Bot) builds trust with the customer.

After discussing for a bit, (Bot) showed Stephanie PNC’s competitive rates and offers. Stephanie decides to go with PNC and begins planning her payoff schedule in the accompanying goal map.

Scene 3

B: Okay! Here’s the map with specific steps that you can take towards paying off your mortgage.

Are there any other goals that you would like to add?

S: Nope, that’s it for now

Screen shows the map with final goal “Pay back mortgage” and the current step Stephanie is on. Together, the bot and Stephanie build a goal map that caters to her specific needs. The bot helps her visualize goals and fills in knowledge gaps. (Show goal map)

Scene 4

(Bot)’s been helping Stephanie for some time now with paying off her mortgage. (Bot) can also act as liaison between the customer and PNC’s portfolio of services. (Bot) can connect the customer to a financial specialist, such as a loan officer or financial advisor, at the appropriate time. (Bot) will catch the specialist up to speed about the conversation it’s been having with the customer, saving PNC time.

mobile notification reminding and congratulating stephanie on reaching a milestone. Stephanie clicks into the app on her phone to ask (bot).

S: My partner and I have been talking about retirement. How can I maximize my retirement savings while still paying off my mortgage quickly?

B: Hmm…I might not be the best one to answer that question. Since your question is about retirement, a financial advisor will probably be more qualified. Would you like me to introduce you to one?

S: Sure.

B: Perfect. (Advisor) is the advisor that works at your local branch. I started an email that you can send to them. Feel free to edit it.

(show email)

I can also help speed along the process a bit by sending (advisor) a short profile about your current financial progress.

(show profile)

Is that alright?

S. Sure.

Stephanie is led to pnc branch where she meets with a financial advisor for more indepth planning. The advisor has information received from the bot and prepared some options that would work best for Stephanie. They discuss her concerns. Decisions made when in conversation with the financial advisor gets fed back to the bot and stored for user’s benefit.

(shows zoomed screen of map) Show how her map is updated with some kind of encouragement)

Scene 5

At every stage of her life, (bot) is there to help Stephanie with any challenges. When was planning her wedding, (bot) was able to help her budget for it. (Bot) also helped Stephanie set up a education savings account for her newborn. : — — — — — -|

  • The bot checks in with the user when they have not worked towards their goals and gives reminders.
  • Informs user with fluctuation in the financial market that can affect their goals
  • Checks push notifications to remind her of shorter term goals

The bot becomes a personal financial assistant to Stephanie’s family and this strengthens the relationship with PNC over years.

04/24/17 Making

04/29/17 - 05/02/17 Taking decisions together

05/04/17 Execution

Final product

Fibo is comprised of a chat, calendar, and goal planning interface.Customers can ask the chatbot any question. If Fibo, a portmanteau of “financial bot,” cannot answer the question, the customer is forwarded to a PNC representative. Fibo can send emails for the customer, making it even easier to contact PNC reps. Goal checkpoints and any appointments are automatically displayed on the in app calendar. The split screen interface ensures that Fibo is always available to assist customers and answer any questions. The goal planning screen scaffolds large goals, like buying a home, into smaller more manageable steps. Here customers have a list of tasks to complete, easing them through the process. Customers can input specific information related to their progress and receive feedback.


Many PNC representatives particularly liked the email functionality; it made contacting the PNC rep extremely easy. One individual liked the focus on maintaining a relationship. She felt that PNC does a good job onboarding customers but doesn’t continue nurturing the relationship as well as they should. It was also interesting being able to hear how they thought the product could be sold. One individual we spoke tol envisioned Fibo as more of a marketing tool and a potential method to collect customer data, which could be then sold as leads.