Researching operations at Monzo: Building a product our customers never see

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Customers rate us as the top bank in the country for customer service, and that’s a record we’re keen to keep, so what can we do to keep raising the bar? As a user researcher in the operations part of Monzo, that’s the question I spend most of my time trying to answer.

Behind the scenes we’re trying to build a tool for our internal staff that’s every bit as good as the app which was recently voted Britain’s Best. Most customers will never get to see it, so we thought we’d tell you a bit more about one of the other pieces of software which makes Monzo, Monzo.

Introducing BizOps: Managing work the Monzo way

We built ‘BizOps’ to help us operate at scale. It breaks the complex operational work we need to complete down into discrete tasks, each of which can then be routed to a Customer Operations specialist, known as a ‘COp’, who is best equipped to complete it.

Some of these tasks are relatively simple, like a customer wanting a reminder of their PIN. We can route these to COps who are quite new to the business, helping them gain experience of how the system works. Others are more complex, like when a customer has reported a transaction to us as fraud. In these instances we want to route the task to a specialist as quickly as possible, together with any data they might need in order to investigate what’s happened and protect our customers. 

As a researcher, my job is to find ways to improve this experience. That might mean:

  • finding ways to break a complex issue down into smaller chunks of work

  • understanding why certain tasks might generate a higher number of customer complaints

  • analysing the design of the tasks themselves, so that the person completing them is able to do so as efficiently as possible 

And whilst doing all this, there’s a rather spicy challenge that’s lurking in the depths ready to trip us up…

Banking operations are complex

As a fully regulated bank who customers entrust with their money, we need to deal with certain issues in very specific ways. Sometimes this means responding within a fixed timescale and sometimes it means proactively intervening when something doesn’t look quite right. We process a lot of transactions each and every day, so even identifying these issues can be tricky at times. We often can’t talk publicly about them either, to make sure we don’t inadvertently give too much information away to the criminals the regulations are designed to help catch. In banking, this is known as ‘tipping off’.

diagram of iceberg

Operations at Monzo is a bit like an iceberg; even what looks like a relatively simple service interaction like a customer asking us to help trace a missing payment can involve a whole heap of complexity beneath the surface. We need to:

  • make sure we’re talking to the actual customer (and not somebody who has taken control of their account) 

  • make sure we take into account anything the customer has previously disclosed to us (including whether they might be vulnerable in some way) 

  • reach out to other banks and securely obtain data from them

  • comply with a whole host of regulations designed to keep the UK’s financial system secure

  • keep the customer updated as to what’s happening

BizOps lets us manage this complexity for over 6 million customers and counting. Each and every day, the BizOps platform chunks this work up into thousands of separate tasks and hurtles these around the system. My job is to find ways to make this hurtling quicker, more efficient, and more effective - which ultimately makes our customers’ experience better too. Our data science team measures all of these things, and we’re constantly experimenting to see how we can improve. 

And we’re always looking for people who can help…   

Come help us build something special

It might not be Hot Coral, but BizOps is still chock-full of Monzo Magic. It’s going to be a big part of how we grow our business further, and we’re always looking for folks who can help make it even better: from Data Science Managers to Product Managers and Directors

If you’d like to know more, then check out our open vacancies and help us make work work for everyone.* 

* Don’t worry, we have writers at Monzo too - and they don’t let me anywhere near our slogans.