Empowering People with
Human Centric Design
easyfinancial helps millions of Canadians by providing lending products when banks are not an option, assisting clients to regain their financial footing and rebuild their credit. Together with Figure3, easyfinancial reimagined their client-facing branch environment to position itself as Canada’s #1 Non-Prime Lender.
Focusing on education, comfort, and trust, Figure3 created a branch environment to support a seamless OMNI channel journey that helps transition customers from an online application to a personalized human interaction at the branch level.
To set easyfinancial apart from other non-prime lenders, Figure3 refocused the design around the customers themselves, fostering a more welcoming, hospitality-inspired experience. The new design highlights intuitive touchpoints throughout the space to ensure a consistent retail journey that enables customers to easily comprehend easyfinancial’s offerings at a time when information can feel overwhelming.
Infused with a level of compassion and empathy, the overall goal remained for easyfinancial clients to feel educated, understood, supported, and valued; much different from what they may experience with other competing non-prime lenders in the category. Designing this seamless customer experience started with transforming the physical layout, fundamentally changing how customers would flow through the branch.
“Our employee experience and customer experience are at the heart of the design. We wanted to evolve our branch but at the same time create a safe space”
/ Jackie Foo, Chief Operating Officer, goeasy Ltd.
The journey begins at the welcoming entry experience, where clients are greeted with warmth and acceptance. This entry space acts as a decompression zone to help clients transition from the bustling streets outside to the relaxed environment within.
With emphasis on humanity and respect, the journey continues into a comfortable waiting area adjacent to the entry vestibule, that features a standout interactive merchandiser as well as educational and product marketing material; encouraging customers to familiarize themselves with easyfinancial offerings. This uncluttered, graphically appealing signage hierarchy ensures the customer is educated on the product and service offerings and feels informed on the various lending verticals.
Within this multi-functional “learn area”, short financial education videos are looped for incoming clients as new projects, products, or services are offered and introduced, the information can easily be updated and displayed here – allowing for the messaging to evolve and update as determined by the needs of the business.
Through a series of targeted client interviews, an Ontario-wide staff seminar, and existing branch site visits, the Figure3 team was able to identify significant pain points and opportunities.
“One key learning was that the design of existing branches felt too open and impersonal to comfortably discuss the nature of the private, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations associated with financial planning,”
/ Mardi Najafi, VP, Retail Strategy and Design, Figure3
In order to address privacy and sound transfer, pod-like “squoval” shaped structures are positioned throughout the otherwise open floorplan, creating semi-private nooks. Slatted walls enclose each structure and allow for airflow and light to permeate the space while providing privacy and additional noise-reducing properties.
To support easyfinancial’s advisors in providing tailored solutions to clients, Figure3 strategically placed double-sided digital frames within the pods, allowing for cross-selling opportunities. These digital frames provide real-time control to pair relevant content to the individual appointment and offer an efficient way to update marketing messages.
Each squoval is outfitted with ergonomic furniture, including a sit/stand desk and adjustable monitor brackets. This configuration also provides a professional working enclosure for advisors to comfortably execute the daily requirements of their job; aiding in employee retention, a key consideration in an industry that often faces a high rate of staff turnover. “When you talk about the ownable elements, that pod does so many things for us, it acts as a place to showcase our products and services, and it provides a safe place for our clients to have private conversations. Every customer deserves a unique and special interaction, and the pods allow us to do that” stated Jackie Foo.
The success of this innovative branch design paves the way for easyfinancial to translate the kit-of-parts to accommodate neighborhood locations ranging from 1,500 to 1,750 square feet. Figure3 ensured that the design included ownable elements that could be scaled to suit these varying smaller format locations, without compromising on the core values that make the design impactful.
The focus on education, empathy, and comfort remains consistent throughout, ensuring that clients visiting these neighborhood branches receive the same level of care and support as those in larger locations.
The new human- centric branch design has allowed easyfinancial to reinforce their position as Canada’s top non-prime lender and financial partner to many across the country. As they expand this innovative approach to smaller neighborhood locations, easyfinancial is poised to make a lasting impact on communities across Canada, empowering individuals with the knowledge and resources to build a better financial future.