AMA with our Chief Product Officer, Fernando 🎉

Thanks for raising this super important point. To me customer support means the journey for a customer. It’s not just your chat conversation or phone call with one of our customer operations people (although that is very important obviously).

For product – it’s my responsibility to resolve the challenge or meet the need of the customer so the problem they contact us about either doesn’t happen in the first place, or we’ve resolved it well before it gets to the point you reach out.

One of the things I’ve been doing a lot is building strong links between our Product org and our Customer Operations org, so we’re looking at our customers’ journeys end-to-end. It’s important to understand the user’s lifecycle.

So actually we need to do a better job on the whole journey. We’ll be making lots of improvements on this, which we’ll be sure to share with you here. We know what the top issues are and we’re working to address them decisively.

That said – ’Product’ also means the product for our customer service teams, where we’re developing some new tools for our COps so they are fully empowered and have all the information and support they need to deliver the best experience when it does come to that chat or phone call.

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Thanks for these answers. Genuinely interesting, thank you.

Coming back on UK joint accounts, though, I know it might be difficult for you to talk about, but it’d be really helpful to have some sort of insight into why the experience isn’t where we all want it to be.

It seems to be that there are two things:

  1. Feature parity (however you define that)
  2. Limitations on opening joint accounts.

You’ve covered number one (and thank you so much for that - I’m sure that’ll make a whole bunch of folk super happy) but can you directly address number two?

Without pushing the point too far, it’s absolutely the elephant in the room. I think it’s the not knowing more than anything - can you tell us what’s up? Why are new joint accounts so tightly controlled? And if you can’t (as opposed to won’t), can you tell us that you can’t - and perhaps an indication of why you can’t?

:elephant:

Sorry to have gone all Jeremy Paxman on you (that might be an aged/cultural reference - sorry!*) and thanks for your continued engagement over Easter too! :pray::bowing_woman:

* Paxman was famous for his difficult and forensic political interviews. He once famously asked the same question 12 times over and over…

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Hi :wave: @fernandofanton and welcome. Thanks for answering some questions for far. Really pleased to hear joint accounts are being worked on.

My question is around open banking. Monzo’s open banking interface is the best I’ve seen and it’s personally great I can see my other accounts all within Monzo’s app, and that it integrates with Trends. The missing piece with open banking for me is external savings accounts. How do you think Monzo will tackle that given the desire is still for Monzo to become the financial control centre?

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This feels like you asked a chatbot to reply. I understand you can’t reveal everything but this told us nothing that we didn’t know.

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Bit unfair. Told us it was something they were aware of and are working hard to rectify.

Fernando has the tricky job of trying to answer our questions without giving too much info away. While some answers are (perhaps necessarily) vague, sounds like quite a lot coming down the pipe which should keeps us all happy (until we find something else to moan about :upside_down_face:)

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I appreciate this will be frustrating but I don’t have anything more to share about this – we know what the issues are and we’re working on them :pray:

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It is obviously early days but we are playing with some tools internally already.

We are just learning about the opportunities and possibilities of it, but no doubt things will not be the same. This is a new and revolutionary platform.

The data/API angle is definitely interesting as well as the “Jarvis” approach. Maybe we should do a particular session on this topic later on with the community. We’ll bring some ideas to share.

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I always pay attention to the competition and the industry in general. But of course, we will always primarily be driven by our customers’ needs and how we can deliver on them, and not by what others are doing! This is what I mean by “first principles” and we always look at problems that way.

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The Get Paid Early drag interaction has been described as a 'signature moment '.

However, Monzo really should allow customers the facility to opt out of this and ideally offer the option to automate the process.

While it may be nice the first or second time you see it, I find afterwards it just adds additional friction and delay to the process making it a negative interaction (for me) not a positive one.

What is your view?

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Interestingly, the US version is just fully automatic.

(And before someone says market differences, yes there are a ton but this absolutely isn’t one of them).

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Thanks so much for your questions :slight_smile:

  1. Personally, I don’t think it’s a must. I’ve met great product managers who are not technical at all. For some products it does help though. I generally encourage even non technical folks to learn a bit of coding if they can. Doesn’t mean that they will check in code into production though. In the end, it’s just one team where everyone brings their unique expertise to find the best solution. So the more you understand each other the better. That’s why I encourage engineers to talk to users, read research, dive into the data, and non-engineers to get into the code, even if a little bit.

I love to engage with engineers as much as I can, generally around a whiteboard. I am an engineer at heart in the end (started coding when I was 11 and never looked back). There is an inner beauty and peace in coding which to me is a special feeling. And now with chatGPT, everyone can “code” in plain English! That is truly remarkable.

  1. Not sure there is such a thing as a typical day tbh. But I generally start with 1-2 hours for myself that I use to either play with Labs features, catch up on the latest user research we’re doing – or read the community forum. I also spent at least 1-2 hours per week on average talking directly to customers. We’ve actually set up a program so everyone at Monzo can do this really easily. In the end, there is no replacement for knowing our users’ problems deeply and obsessing about how to solve them.

  2. I heard about Monzo many years ago when it first launched. And I was always a massive fan as I thought it was one of the very few truly disruptive companies. By this I mean ones that truly make a difference in people’s lives by redefining an entire industry, particularly one that is deeply entrenched already. Personally, I always thought of Apple, Tesla, and Monzo in that category. Would love to hear your thoughts on others as well.

  3. I really like both Flex and the Safety Net Pots as I think they both represent how Monzo can help people improve their financial outcomes. We are bringing a lot of improvements to Flex to make it the best credit card/BNPL product out there, making it super easy to understand what is more convenient for you. Safety Nets empowers people to easily calculate the amount of money they need to put away, while earning interest on it. The idea is people who use this feature should be much less likely to enter negative financial outcomes due to lack of planning. In the end, we want users to learn more, without much effort, and get better outcomes when they use Monzo.

  4. Both! Nalbandian was maybe one of the best technical players I’ve ever seen. His backhand was brilliant, he hit the ball so early, great technique. Del Potro’s forehand was just ridiculous. So it’s hard for me to choose one of them. If I have to pick one tennis player I have to go with Roger. He was just amazing to watch at Wimbledon. I mean, where do I start? It was just an artistic experience.

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thanks again everyone – logging off now but will be back :slight_smile:

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As a Chief Product Officer, I suspect you would encourage everyone to use Monzo only rather than another bank/app.

What are your thoughts on the current lack of cheque imaging in the app and the fact that there is a fee to pay in cash?

Frequently, customers are told to use another banking provider for these features which can’t be what you really want?

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I get that Monzo would be want to be the one stop banking & budgeting solution - I love Flex and have a loan with Monzo as well as use it for all monthly Direct Debits. The only exception is weekly grocery, petrol and other debit card payments - for the moment I use Chase purely for the 1% Cashback - and whilst it’s not mega dollars I get in return, the chance of a £100 plus extra cash in my wallet per year is certainly better than nothing.

I wonder if Monzo have looked into offering Cashback even if tied to the Plus or Premium accounts?

Thanks for being so responsive and providing great insights to us - enjoy your weekend!

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Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing this. It really would overhaul my opinion of the app and make it much more appealing!

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Yes it is. Very.

Here’s the thing. Community building is difficult. It takes time, effort and and genuine desire to engage. And once that’s been done it can be pretty difficult to curate and even more difficult to maintain trust. The sad fact is that it’s much easier to lose community trust than to create it.

In case the point is lost, it’s this: of course you have a choice about what to share and what not to. But every decision has impact. I worry that this is the easy short term choice for you, but fundamentally the wrong one for the company in the long term.

I won’t press this any more.

Over and out!

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Nice questions, thanks Peter.

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In some cases it’s because we’re trying to maximise around the platforms, others we just need to do a better job at feature parity. But all teams are staffed against both platforms. Any particular area you’d like us to focus on?

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Thank you, appreciate the feedback. Let me look deeper into the external savings angle. But in general we are very keen to use the full power of open banking and the like to deliver on the financial control centre proposition.

We’re already leveraging some open access type capabilities to show your mortgage in Monzo, as well as the ability to pay it via Monzo, for example. So yes, these capabilities will be important if we want to help you bring all your financial life to Monzo. This is something we’ll continue evolving over the next year.

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