Cresset Capital: Client Portal Research Project

Cresset Capital's marketing contacted me with an issue: "Our clients are unhappy with our portal, but we are not sure why. Can you help us?"

My Process

Stake Holders Needs 

Cresset Capital is a wealth management firm in Chicago that serves high net worth clients. 

 I met with the marketing team about the client portal and learned that the goal of the portal was to provide a reporting experience for clients that allowed clients to access all their financial reporting needs in one place. I learned that many financial firms only report on assets that are managed by that firm, rather than giving their clients a full picture of their finances in one place. This was one of Cresset's unique selling propositions to prospective clients.

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Research

I worked with the marketing team to help coach them on how to ask clients open-ended questions and find out the real issues with the portal. It was clear that internally, there were different conclusions as to why clients were unhappy with the portal that was leading to confusion on what to work on next.

I researched usage of the portal using Google Analytics to understand who was using the portal and what pages they were visiting. As I dug into the data, I realized there were a lot of assumptions that Cresset was making that wasn't based in data. For example, there was a misconception that clients did not use the portal, but I found that although some clients did not use the portal, over 60% of clients were logging in multiple times per day.

Interviews

I conducted both internal and external interviews, speaking to both clients and employees. My internal interviews consisted of a series of open-ended questions to understand internal pain-points that arose from the client portal. I primarily spoke to employees that worked directly with clients. My client interviews  began with a series of open-ended questions to find out more about their experience on the Cresset client portal. I included questions that were about their experience becoming a Cresset client, why did they decide to become a client of Cresset, how often they used the portal, and what they were trying to accomplish when using the portal. 

 

Next, I synthesized that research through affinity mapping and gained insights and themes within the responses. Themes I found at this stage included: there were issues with data integrity, there were internal process issues and communication issues, and the UI was sometimes not straight-forward.

Final Stages

I met with the marketing team to discuss the research that was found. After we discussed the themes I recommended that they prioritize the data integrity issues before they created new functions or pages to their portal. They were eager to start a new page, but the data integrity issue would continue to cause frustration with clients. 

Next, I recommended that internal process issues be addressed. The team was completely unaware of these issues before the research and decided to address them with the Chief Operating Officer to ensure these internal processes would be fixed as they were affecting the data in the portal.

Additionally, I noted there were better ways that they could communicate with clients such as showing pending items or introducing notifications within the portal. We walked through a few examples of notification features. 

Lastly, I pointed out a few places where UI could be improved. For example, rather than using icons that were not intuative to the user, they could use words. 

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In Conclusion

This research project allowed Cresset to prioritize issues in their client portal. Hiring me allowed Cresset to receive data-driven research from an unbiased third-party.