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Customer experience Updated: 07 Nov 2017

BBVA’s customer-designed new mobile app delivers astonishing results

BBVA has revealed how a redesign of its award winning mobile app has led to astonishing results in its sales figures.


The new app, which was designed by an in-house team and built on the back of continuous customer feedback, has led to take-up of some services almost tripling.

For example new credit card applications went up by 80%, current account opening by 20% and sales of investment funds soared by 50%.

Other key figures included a doubling of sales in pension plans, health insurance and home insurance, while car insurance take up almost tripled as did people carrying out mortgage simulations.

For BBVA, design is a key factor in how the bank engages customers and stays relevant in a world where user experience is paramount and the choice of providers huge.

The business sees design as about the whole customer journey -  about how a product or service looks and feels, but also about how the processes that manage the service operate, the user experience, and the access to information that is given.

In July, BBVA’s mobile banking app in Spain was named by Forrester Research as the best mobile banking app in the world - receiving the highest score Forrester has ever given and out performing apps from 53 other large banks around the world.

Yet just two months after that win, BBVA announced the launch of this re-designed mobile banking app in Spain. So how have these results happened and why was it redesigned in the first place?

BBVA's Head of Design, Marga Barrera, explains: “There are three reasons - but also one overriding one.

“Firstly, to support the growth in digital sales that BBVA is seeing month on month. Secondly, because the business identified a need to create more space within the app to improve findability and visibility for new features and experiences. Thirdly, to implement a new global design style and the integration of BBVA's ‘Creating Opportunities’ tagline and ethos.

“However the overriding reason was simply to put the customer more firmly at the centre of the app’s design and ensure that the functions that our app could deliver were easier to access.”

The new app - which was launched in mid-September - was built using Design Thinking principles, and using BBVA’s now central Agile methodology. The process ensures that from the start both the design teams, the engineering teams and the business development teams work together in small groups, with short delivery timescales, and agreed actions - meaning the product can go from inception to delivery in only a few months.

Just 15 people produced the new app, from the front end design - what the customer sees ‘above the glass’ - to the back end development, pathways, functionality integration and capabilities - the below the glass.

But central to all of this build was customer feedback, and so throughout the production, customer’s opinions, suggestions, and criticism was incorporated into the process.

What has changed?

The big changes included a new dashboard, new tab bars, swipe tools enabling new product and service access and shortcuts to contextual actions.

BBVA’s new app also includes new access to product catalog alongside relevant offers, highlighted by a ‘+’ symbol which leads customers on a ‘story’ specific to them.


The results have been astounding, as BBVA´s Head of Business Development in Spain, Peio Belausteguigoitia said: “This is a great example of how clever design coupled with direct customer feedback can drive sales, interactions and commercial productivity.”

However the other area that was impressive was in the impact the redesign had on customer interactions with the bank - a critical metric that shows how engaged customers are with the wider services BBVA offers.

For example, usage of BBVA Valora tool - that allows people to assess the value of a house they want to buy, compare it with other sales in the area, understand the impact the purchase will have on their finances, and the cost and value-add that renovations will have - more than doubled.

The biggest jump, though, was seen in people using the app's expected transactions area, where people can see future likely payments and bills and manage their money to meet these demands. Here there was an 11-time leap in people accessing the tool.

Hugo Sierra, the lead designer for the app project, explained: “The feedback we received from our customers - and we worked with these focus teams for six weeks during the design - was central to the amazing results we are seeing.

“We created scalable design foundations, that allows us to include more features or even large-scale new services in the app keeping consistency and usability on the path to success.”

The team has not finished though. Barrera added that production of this app wasn’t just about building a product, but about fully integrating the teams that worked on this. The benefit this process brings is that it can now be used for future programs and indeed across the Group's geographic footprint.

She said: “It’s the fastest way to create at speed and it ensures we design with the customer at the heart of it.

“As we roll out more and more services, insights, products and content going forwards, we now have processes in place to deliver excellent results in the kind of short timelines you expect from the startup sector.”