How Fintech Start-up “Plum” could enhance its customer experience

I have been a user and fan of this savings and investment App for about a year.

Plum launched using a Facebook Messenger Chatbot to prompt and help you in to make small, regular savings and investment.

Plum now offer an App with a rich set of features that is growing by the month.

Much like Monzo, Revolut, Chip and some others in the Fintech space.
Plum’s AI autosaves on your behalf making use of open banking API’s to track your spending, it makes suggested saving amounts, rounds purchases up to the nearest £ and even suggests where you are overspending on things like energy.
All awesome and helpful features.

All that considered I wanted to challenge myself using a combination of Design Thinking + Agile to see “how might I” (design thinking question) improve their customer experience?

Plum if you are reading this, it is not a criticism. I am sure most of this is in your backlog.

Here is what I will cover:

  • Charity
  • Speed
  • Push notifications
  • Community
  • Auto withdraw


With all the saving and investing going on with Plum I think some giving would balance the proposition.

Here are some ready written features for your backlog:

As a savings customer, I want to choose a charity to donate to, so that I can give to others.

As a savings customer, I want to choose what % of my savings are donated to charity each month, so that I can control my spending.

As a business, I want to raise money for a named charity, so that we are pay something forward from our success.

As an investment customer, I want to chose a % of my earnings from investments to be automatically given to charity, so that I can share my success.

As a customer, I want to see a summary of how much I have donated over time, so that I can track my giving.

As an investment customer, I want to donate some of my earnings to charity, so that I can save on taxes.

As a customer, I want to crowd save towards a charitable cause, so that I am part of something bigger.

As a customer, I want to donate every 1 in £5 saved to a charity pot, so that I can meet my personal donation goals.

As a customer, I want to invest £1 into carbon offsetting every time a I put petrol in my car, so that I contribute to my carbon offset targets.


(This point is a criticism, I hope something here helps)

At times, with all the API calls going on the App can lag and buffer. This is not surprising the App is trying to check and pull a lot of sensitive information!

To help with this you could use Asynchronous API calls that do not rely on server callbacks to and/or parallelisation (implementation is dependant on your coding language).

Another trick is to use optimistic vs pessimistic UI rendering paired with “prefetch”, “prerender” or “preload”. This all anticipates the users next click and starts getting that experience ready in the background.
You will know from you click paths and heat maps where the “desire line” is in your experience. So why wait? Go and get it ready for them.

You can even get super smart and create customer buckets such as “balance checkers”, “investment checkers” and “serial depositors” based on the different groups’, first “go-to” feature after they have logged in.

Think of it like a butler in a posh hotel running you a bath before you get back to your room.

Push notifications:

?How might Plum improve their push notification?

Plum does use these but they are fairly generic, sometimes repetitive and not interactive.

A question and response feature would be cool like your Chatbot used to do.

“Your investments are doing well do you want me to move some to your savings”?

A bit like the community suggestion. A quick way to improve this service is by partnering with a provider.

I would recommend Airship as their notifications have a lot of rich features and allow users to act in the moment without having to invest time logging in and navigating to the feature they need.

You can also A/B tests to see what works best and create in-app alerts too.

In-app alerts may sound like they get in the way but used correctly they are very useful.

ScenarioCustomer visits a page and stays there for 10 seconds
TriggerThe customer scrolls up and down a few times during the 10 seconds
ResponseShow a help message that links them to chat
Insightthat page is too confusing we need some better content
Actionask the community members to submit ideas
Resultquick customer and data-led optimisation


“?How might Plum improve their community offer?

Plum already has an engaged community on it’s Facebook page.

However, this is always going to be restricted by the capability and controls you have in managing a community this way.

Much better would be to partner with a community platform. My personal favourites are the team at Standing on Giants. This platform was built by the brains behind Giff Gaff probably one of the most successful community platforms ever launched so you are in good company (especially when they have Airbnb as a client).

The image below demonstrates the broad appeal of a community platform to generate high customer engagement whilst also reducing marketing spend (CTA) and inbound queries which in turn reduces your servicing costs (CTS).

To do similar in Facebook you would have to set up and manage multiple pages which would confuse users and remove the effort vs reward benefit for the business.

The community in this sense goes beyond help and support. You will find you have community super users who act as brand protectors, advisors and idea machines.

You should also put your membership base to task. Here are some things I have asked members to do in the past:

  • Test a new feature
  • Find and report bugs
  • Submit a review
  • Refer a friend
  • Submit an idea
  • Share the brand on social media

It seems pretty brave to do this but if your brand is strong enough they will happily do it and it’s free!

The whole point of the community is that you have generated a tribe, heard, swarm that your members believe in and value. They feel part of the team and valued (sometimes a little public gratitude and the offer of a badge or status helps of course).

Auto withdraw:

Does exactly what it says on the tin.

If my investment earns over £100

Then deposit x% into my savings

If this <£100.1> then that <-x%>
Plum home page image

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