The Frustrated Customers


In 2017, after leaving my role as a foreign exchange dealer, I was contacted to take on the role of an e-Commerce Client Services personnel to manage clients and roll outs for the Treasury Markets business.  It was the only headcount for the global Treasury Markets business.  I saw it as a challenge and also as an opportunity to re-affirm my passion for building/designing the business and applications. 



What began as a duty to ensure that the client journey from onboard to offboard on the digital trading platform for deposits was smooth later on exposed other issues that have never been encountered by myself even though I was previously using other third-party trading platforms.  The deposits feature was an add-on to the existing foreign exchange trading platform.  Therefore, it was restricted to the issues faced by the foreign exchange module.  It was here that I discovered how critical CX and UX were to the digital business.

Problem #1: Java

While the other trading platforms that I was used to were running on HTML, this platform that I was onboarding the clients on was running on Java.  After receiving the welcome email from myself, the very first issue would always be clients having issues downloading and installing Java, or running the incorrect version of Java.  With Windows 10, there was also an issue with the recognition of the .jnlp file for Java.  Furthermore, Java has cache issues.  This meant that clients frequently had to clear their Java cache and re-install the platform from scratch.

Clients would often reply to the welcome email and inform that they had issues with the platform's installation.  I had to call them to check on the technical aspects of their computer and Java application.  The clients often complained about and compared the platform to other banks.  As I was from the buy-side in banking previously, I could feel the pain of the clients from a user perspective.  The remote control of their systems was not an option and hence I had to guide the clients via phone and send email instructions at the same time for them to read.




Problem #2: Certificate

After the long battle with Java, the clients would then run into issues with their certificates.  Certificates were created using a vendor's platform which often ran into issues.  For first-time users, the vendor would send them emails that further confuse the onboarding process for them.  For existing users, their certificates had expiry dates and patches to the in-house trading platform would sometimes cause issues with the certificate recognition.  Instead of presenting a relevant error message regarding the certificate, a wrong error message pointing to connection was displayed, thus confusing the clients and myself.


For the first-time users, I had to guide them on the installation of the certificates as it was too technical for some of them.  The welcome email to them also included steps on the certificate installation for those who were more tech-savvy.







For existing users, I had Level 2 support to investigate thinking that it was a connection related issue.  Their findings pointed to the users not having certificates which was unusual given that these were active users who logged into the platform daily.  It prompted me to do a sanity check on all the certificates only to find out that these clients who were newly converted to the cross-asset trading capability all had expired certificates.  Level 2 support was updated on the findings that highlighted the display of a wrong error message.  Sales were then informed and new certificates were issued to the clients after approvals were obtained.  Clients also had to manually delete their expired certificates.  Instructions were once again sent via e-mail, followed by a call to assist the clients.




Problem #3: Log-in

Clients were often confused by how technical the log-in process was.  Most of them had firewalls but were still not able to log-in after their IT personnel enabled the ports.  This was due to the different connection options that could not be automatically picked up and required the user to manually select on a trial and error basis.  To make matters worse, the bank's security patches sometimes further complicated issues, making a fixed solution near impossible.










It would sometimes take 2 hours to a couple of weeks just to investigate on the log-in connection issue of the clients.  Some of their IT personnel did not do their firewall settings correctly.  The troubleshooting on my end then got escalated to Level 2 support and sometimes the developers were roped in to investigate.  Given the long turnaround time just for a log-in, I had to manage the clients by apologizing and following up on the cases to ensure that they were able to log-in eventually.  With each successful log-in, the clients happily thanked me instead of dwelling on the cumbersome process.  Knowledge sharing was also done with the global foreign exchange e-Commerce Client Services teams to reduce the overall turnaround times for the same issue. 




Problem #4: Password Reset

One of the major pain-points of the clients would be the process of resetting their passwords.  Clients tend to get the notification that their accounts have been locked instead of informing them that their passwords have expired, thus creating confusion.  Furthermore, no option was provided on the platform to perform a password reset.

The password reset actually had to be done on a website belonging to the retail banking business, which has a very similar name.  This created more confusion and frustration on the client's end as they were unable to differentiate between the website and platform.

A wrong error message also was shown when the clients used passwords that did not meet the requirements, which were not made known to them and they had to read about it by clicking on the 'Password Policy' option.

Clients would often send emails to inform about their account being locked with screenshots attached.  The quickest way to assist them was to send them a reply on the website's link to perform a password reset and call them at the same time to guide them.  These issues have been escalated to the various stakeholders to inform them on the client experience from log-in to password reset.  The disgruntled clients would mostly be appeased given the personal attention and help on the password resets.





From this role, I realized that I might have taken for granted the good UX designs that I have experienced from the previous platforms I've used.  I managed to see how bad UX designs could make a simple task become complicated.  Something that usually takes a maximum time of 5 minutes to complete was instead done, on some occasions, after an hour.  In this instance, customers had to fight a battle just to be able to log into the trading platform.  My time in this role was painful but I managed to learn from the issues that the clients faced.  Being able to resolve their issues also made it worthwhile.

Things I've learned from this role:

  • Having good UX design will benefit the online business.

  • Having good offline support is equally important.  The human touch is necessary for diffusing tensions and frustrations.

  • Empathy was necessary to understand the frustrations that the clients were facing and providing solutions that would appease them.

  • Bad legacy designs might not be easy to change due to the lack of resources.

  • It takes a long time for platform enhancements and updates to be done.  Knowledge sharing in terms of troubleshooting is essential for quick turnaround time.

With this experience, I saw the importance of having good CX and UX designs.  I decided to apply for a UX design course under CareerFoundy.  I was now sure about the direction that I wanted to head towards.