So, what happened?

I have been using Revolut’s Standard Plan for over a year now, and have enjoyed its Vaults, Crypto features, and shopping discounts. In December 2020 the app reminded me to update my identification documents by the 31st due to Brexit. I went through the easy process of uploading the identity documents, taking the picture in the app, and finally submitting the documents – only to get an email notification, ‘Verification Failed’. 

I did the process again – received an email 5 mins later – Verification Failed.

At the third attempt – Verification. Failed. 

What is Revolut?

Revolut is a fintech company that offers customers a prepaid debit card for chip, contactless and online payments, and ATM withdrawals at home and abroad. Its robust web and mobile app lets the user track spending by category (groceries, utilities, travel, etc.), merchant, and country. What makes it so popular is that a user can set spending limits, create saving vaults, split bills, make peer-to-peer payments and charitable donations, and exchange currency (and cryptocurrency) through the app.

Revolut estimates its active monthly users at 3.7m active daily users at 1.1m. 

Despite Revolut not being a digital bank — it’s an ‘electronic money institution’ licensed by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and trading in the EU under the passporting rules.

Cut to the Present…

After multiple failed attempts at Identity Verification and uncertainty around Brexit, I began to wonder if my savings were safe. My response to a regular banking service would be to call them up. What does one do when an app doesn’t have a real person to speak to? (more on this later) I reacted by transferring my deposit to a ‘real’ bank account at another bank. 

Looking back I honestly didn’t give the slightest benefit of the doubt to the service that I loved using the entire year. I did not think of sending a DM via Twitter. I did not even think that perhaps the fault was mine. It turned out, the problem was with my document – once that was sorted, I uploaded them successfully. ‘All’s well, that ends well’, one would think – But was it really?

Revolut reached out to ask, ‘What happened?’

Despite successful verification, I did not return to using the app as I did before. Two months passed and I received an email from Revolut wondering why there was no activity on my account during this time. They wanted my feedback as to how they could improve (10 brownie points for Revolut’s CX team here!).

Feedback time

This email contained the link to the Feedback Form, which I accessed via my desktop. As I wrote the reason for not using the app, I asked myself whether it was trust issues or was it something else? My reason for not using the service wasn’t trust, it was…

“When my identity verification failed multiple times in December, and I didn’t know how to reach out to a customer support rep, I wasn’t sure what would happen. It was uncertainty that led me to transfer my deposit to my current account. And I haven’t been using the card ever since. I appreciate your email for checking in. I opened the app yesterday to discover some very enticing cashback features 🙂 My existing card works fine. I just didn’t keep any money in Revolut to spend after the whole verification episode.” 

Revolut Feedback Form
Revolut Feedback Form

The chat support discovery on the Desktop site

Having thought I communicated the problem, I submitted the form and was directed to the login page. I was curious to see what the app looked like on a desktop, as I had only used the native app on my phone up till now. I was surprised to see the HELP tab, with a speech bubble icon signifying a Chat feature. From here, my path to find a customer rep looked possible. 

 

Chat Support flow on desktop

Chat Support flow on desktop
Chat Support flow on desktop

Following the path “Help > Start a New Chat > Chat with Rita > Chatbox dialogue”, I began speaking with Rita. We got to the point where I asked, 

“But why is the chat function only on Desktop and not in my phone app? What’s happened? Has Revolut added this new feature to my Standard Plan?

This time I was chatting with a REAL person, asking her to tell me: 

1) if this was a new feature,
2) if there is a Chat Feature in the Native App as well.

Rita explained to me that the Chat feature has existed all this while on both Web and native apps. 

I opened the phone app to look for this in-app chat feature – spent 2 mins looking for it, and upon not finding it, I reached out to the chat agent (via desktop) again to ask WHERE was this HELP icon (I’m looking for the speech bubbles I saw on the Desktop app), only to discover that the HELP option has been before my eyes all along, except that it looks completely different in the native app. 

Can you find the Help feature in the native version?
Can you find the Help feature in the native version?

How could I miss that? That’s as universal a Help Icon as it gets!

 

Google Search for Help Icon
Google Search for Help Icon

That led me to wonder why I couldn’t see it in the first place, even though I have seen/used similar iconography while using other apps. There was a speech bubble and a question mark there alright. And yet it was invisible to me. 

Context defines the User’s Experience

The thing is, I assumed the chat option wasn’t available to me on my Standard Plan, when I saw how it compared to other plans, at the time of signing up for it – and therefore I didn’t look for it. And when I did, it required extra work to find the HELP ICON due to visual inconsistency on both Native and Web apps.

Support is not mentioned in the Standard Plan, even though it is offered
Support is not mentioned in the Standard Plan, even though it is offered

Having experienced this feature as a user, I was curious to know how one could improve the UX of a given feature.

Presumably, considerable research has led to decisions up till now that make this product what it is. So to switch from a user role to a UXer, I can think of some reasons that may have contributed to this feature not appearing as an obvious “benefit” in the Standard Plan.

  • it could be a business decision to promote other plans
  • many designers or different teams are working on the product
  • it was probably discovered during testing, but it was not something that broke down the use of the product and didn’t need an immediate fix

Takeaways

This is a great example of how we expect products to perform when we are the users. I played ‘the user’ in this story, but I have picked a few story points to enrich my role as a UXer going forward and I would like to share these here. 

Context defines the User’s Experience

The Standard plan’s description leaves out the ‘in-app chat support’ as opposed to the other plans, possibly leading users’ to believe there is no real-time support, even though that feature is available. As a UX Designer, it is imperative to understand how the product is being pitched to the user because that will define how the user expects your product to behave. 

Understand motives for communication decisions

Internal collaboration is key to a productive discussion and informed decision-making for the product. I would ask why was the chat feature left out in the Standard Plan’s description? Was it to make the paid Plus/ Premium/ Metal plans more attractive to encourage users to upgrade to those? Was it worthwhile not to mentioning it even when the feature exists on the Standard Plan? We could discuss how we could tell the user he can reach out and speak to a live agent on his plan by calling it in-App Support, perhaps, and reserve ‘Priority Support’ wording for Plus/ Premium/ Metal Plans.

Strive for visual consistency

It is interesting to note the difference between icons for Help in both Desktop and the Native app. A live Style Guide (that includes design details, colours, typography, illustrations, sounds, interaction states, and icons) that is accessible to all teammates would reduce the likelihood of such inconsistencies across platforms.

Think 360

The success of a product begins with UX and is sustained by CX. My initial ‘reaction’ to stop using the app was overturned by an email that said I was missed for the last 2 months, asking me what they could do to help me. This prompted me to reach out again. A product is a living thing that breathes hope, drives pleasure, and lends support to the person who depends on it to solve their problem. It has a personality, a voice and it has context – thinking 360 will make the product experience rich and tangible. 

Parting Thoughts

As a UX designer, approach design with empathy and understanding for both the end user, and for product’s builder; un-turn stones with curiosity and with a the intention to understand, and then improve.

Till next time,
Saman.

**Update

I am super happy to report that the current version of Revolut has solved this problem of ‘not being able to find ‘Help’ all too well but putting Help section right on top, within the users’ Profile. 

However, visually the icons are still not consistent across mobile and desktop.

Before & After - Help Section of Revolut App
Before & After – Help Section

Interestingly, the chat with support agent is still not mentioned in the Standard Plan details eventhough it is offered – Help Section begins with suggestions for the user to identify his problem, and Chat with an agent is placed at the end of the scroll.

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