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Three ways Zopa is staying disruptive

When Zopa was launched, our founders were focused on a simple customer problem: those who needed money were being charged high rates to borrow whilst those looking to invest were offered low rates. All customers were losing out. The solution they created was radically different to anything else in the personal finance space: peer-to-peer lending.

Twelve years on, as we launch into new markets and plan to build a next generation bank, this customer focus remains central to Zopa. Here’s some of the ways we stay disruptive:

1 – Rack up the customer exposure hours

In the last year, we’ve run 182 hours of usability testing on our products. In itself this is great, but the really exciting thing is that an average of four people from across the business sat in each session to observe. These ranged from software developers to compliance and even our executive chairman. That’s a total of 728 customer exposure hours – the equivalent of 90 working days spent watching how people use our products and prototypes.

This empowers us to develop ideas that are rooted in the customer’s experience and expectations.

2 – Testing, testing, testing…

Secondly, we test everything we can on as many real people as possible. For example, in the last two years, we’ve run 18 split tests on our website, with our most ambitious exploring 12 variants of the landing page experience with 220,000 humans.

This testing means that we can iterate constantly. Our loan application flow is testament to this continuous process of improvement; it’s streamlined and built around features like a soft credit search that are designed to directly address our customers’ concerns when they apply for a loan.

3 – Tribal tech delivery

We’ve cultivated the technological capability to move quickly.

How do we do this? Last year we restructured our teams in to tribes, organising people around the customers they serve rather than their job function. So instead of having a functional UX team, a front-end development team and so on, we have, for example, a cross-functional borrower tribe, where people of different disciplines pull together to solve customer problems.

This allows us to deliver our tech at speed, but also to build in space for innovation; each tribe has a pioneering squad that is focused on expanding the feature set, the customer channel or the product offering.

This combination of customer-focus and technology is what allows us to stay disruptive. By rooting our decision-making in the consumers and our data, we are able to take bold decisions to develop our business and our product offerings. These can then be delivered at speed by our agile tech, bringing us a few steps closer to the simple and fair financial future we believe consumers deserve.

This blog post is from the talk Amy Miller, Zopa’s CMO, gave at the 20:20 Customer Experience Summit in March 2017.