User-centric Design for Behavior Change
October 17, 2014
Juntos provides our partners with a customer engagement platform that, unlike traditional forms of customer support, proactively transforms client behavior and drives engagement at massive scale. We blogged recently about the difficulty of changing behavior, especially financial habits.
Critical to the success of our products in changing financial behavior is our user-centric design process that allows us to understand how our users feel about their money.
Understanding emotions is crucial to changing habits. As Charles Duhigg writes in The Power of Habit, MIT researchers discovered a neurological loop at the core of every habit. This loop is made up of a cue, a routine and a reward. Attempts to change habits will fail if we try to change the routine without understanding the cue for that routine and the reward it produces.
Understanding cues and rewards is especially difficult when they are emotional in nature. To empower our partner’s clients to change their financial habits, we need to understand the emotions that accompany spending and saving money. The “deep-dive” interviews we conduct with potential users as part of our user research process allow us to capture the emotional aspects of users’ financial experiences.
In an interview with a taxi driver in his 30s in Mexico City, we learned that when he was in his taxi he kept his money out of sight until the end of the day. He was afraid that if he counted his money, he would be tempted to spend it on snacks or to go home early. When he was at home, however, he counted the all of his cash savings every day. Feeling his money in his hands motivated him to save more.
The deep-dive method allowed us to understand that the context where he counted his money mattered. In his taxi, he was surrounded by temptations to spend; at home with his family, he was surrounded by reasons to save. Understanding how the same cue can lead to completely different routines and rewards depending on the time of day is critical in reinforcing good habits and quitting bad ones.
We are able to transform the financial behavior of our users without interacting with their money because we understand their emotional cues and rewards. By providing our users with the right information at the right time, we nudge them to deepen their engagement with their accounts and empower them to realize their financial goals.