Adrian Kaczmarek is the Head of Digital Sales for Santander Leasing Polska. As an experienced manager and product owner responsible for a number of projects that combine technology and finance, he is A great enthusiast of the synergy between financial services and fintechs. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for numerous inter-platform integrations and is currently involved in digitization of existing processes and building new channels for online sales.
Paweł Krasuski is an Executive Sales Director for Ailleron LeaseTech. An experienced manager, Paweł specializes in the field of sales structure management for large financial organizations and sales of IT solutions for the financial sector (Fintech). Currently, he is fully involved in the development and sales of IT platforms for companies in the leasing services industry.
Patrycja Leszek-Królikowska is the General Manager of the UX Lab and Design Sprint Facilitator in Ailleron. She is responsible for leading the Ailleron UX Lab support for the execution of UX/UI projects for customers from the Fintech, Hoteltech and Application Services industries. A certified moderator of Design Sprint workshops, she is an enthusiast of Design Thinking and Customer Experience. Working with banks and companies from all over the world has helped her develop vast professional experience.
Monika Lipiec: How did you identify both challenges and goals lying ahead on the business path of Santander Leasing?
Adrian Kaczmarek: We have always observed customers’ behaviours and market trends by monitoring our environment, talking to customers and partners and conducting periodical market research. The pandemic accelerated not only digitization itself, but also changes in customer behaviours and expectations. If we learned to buy almost everything online, as well as acquire financing for those purchases in the same way, why would we behave differently as entrepreneurs? In fact, it was the pandemic that mobilized companies to take greater interest in innovation and invest in new technological solutions.
Importantly, the tolerance for the implementation of new IT solutions among small businesses have also increased. According to our Leasing Index research, 25% of small businesses claim that the pandemic mobilized them to use technological solutions in larger quantities than they had before the crisis. It is a signal that it is not only large enterprises that are pointing to technological investments as a factor significant for maintaining and developing their business.
As Santander Leasing, we are responding to this trend by not only concluding agreements remotely, but also ensuring that our products can help finance purchases for companies in the process of their choice while shopping online.
M.L.: You are focusing on e-commerce. It’s an important field for the brand. What made you decide to cooperate with Ailleron while implementing Santander’s new leasing solutions?
A.K.: When more complex and multidimensional projects are being implemented, they need to rely on competences; without them, even good intentions are of no help. Another important issue is the swift ability to react to market trends and introduce innovations. The market is changing too fast for products to be developed slowly because they will cease to fulfil their main goal – responding to the needs of customers and business partners. Last but not least, precise synchronization of teamwork is also required, and it is especially important when working remotely.
Taking these factors into consideration, as well as the needs of our company and Ailleron’s experience, we knew that we were choosing a reliable partner.
M.L.: How would you rate your working together on an e-commerce platform? What determines whether cooperation between a leasing company and an IT provider is a success?
A.K.: Above all, the belief that what we do matters on both sides. Without this, we cannot create a partnership and succeed in implementing particular solutions. We work with agile methodologies on a daily basis, we talk often and we work side by side; our ideas evolve, and we are not afraid of correcting what we once did if we have a better vision.
Paweł Krasuski: I think that for years nothing really changes with this topic. I would say that the success of this kind of cooperation is determined by the approach of people involved in the project on both sides. Openness, responsibility, engagement, motivation and discipline are of greatest importance here. Optimism, energy and belief in the significance of what we do are also very helpful. In our case, it worked like a charm.
M.L.: Design Sprint Workshops organized as a part of your cooperation were held 100% remotely. What was the greatest challenge during your collaboration, and why did you decide to condcut the workshops in this way?
A.K.: The greatest challenges were the availability and attention of participants. Design Sprint requires creativity and focus, and all-day workshop with new idea in a remote form calls for additional effort. An engaging atmosphere and carefully prepared materials can achieve this goal. Each of the participants became involved before the workshop thanks to tasks that required preparation, which allowed us to hit the ground running.
Patrycja Leszek-Królikowska: Ailleron UX Lab conducts Design Sprints, creative workshops and usability audits with companies from all around the world. Even before the pandemic the cooperation, especially with foreign customers, took place remotely. It is not a problem, thanks to our efficient use of innovative methods and tools.
Regardless of the form of the workshops, we always discuss the best way to conduct them before we begin cooperation, and we adjust to our customers’ needs. The greatest challenge during the workshops is to establish a situation when each and every participant of a Design Sprint can be focused and involved. Such an approach is crucial for the final quality of our common work.
With Santander Leasing, it all went smoothly. The challenge was demanding, but strong motivation on both sides led to satisfying results.
M.L.: A design sprint requires a lot of involvement on side of both project teams. How is the customer prepared for such workshops?
P.L.K.: Let’s begin with what a Design Sprint is. Why is this kindof workshop worth investing in? Design Sprint is a series of creative meetings held over multiple days that result in a high-quality prototype tested by target audiences for the solution. A properly conducted workshop allows us to achieve great results in just 1-2 weeks, and it guarantees a savings in both time and money.
The key to every Design Sprint success is preparation. In materials we send to a customer before the cooperation begins, we include, i.e. description and dates of the workshops in a form of a calendar, instructions on how to prepare, list of people that should be involved in the workshops, description of tools we are going to use (I.e. a link to instructions to avoid “surprises” during the meeting) and a test schedule.
The workshops are conducted by certified UX Lab moderators who focus on the most important matters, manage the atmosphereand constantly monitor engagement levels, which is especially important with remote communication.
M.L.: Santander Leasing is a large and well-known player on the market, and that is what makes customers expect something better from you. What elements and solutions were you able to design?
A.K.: Above all, a different approach for executing the process for customers, both in terms of message we follow and the process itself – meaning the matters we implemented up to that point and for the market. Since the beginning, we were guided by the simplicity of the process – in online channels it is much more important than in face-to-face contact with an advisor who performs many actions for a customer during a conversation.
In an online process, it is the customer who provides us with information, so we have to minimize their effort while maximizing the clarity of the process.
M.L.: Today we put more and more pressure on customer experience (CX) and a customer’s positive experiences with a product. Do Ailleron LeaseTech products meet the expectations in the field?
P.K.: In Ailleron, work on every solution begins and ends with designing proper CX. We have a team of amazing experts who specialize in the field and, above all, enjoy taking care of it. Designing new solutions is always accompanied by CX workshops with customers that, as a result, and thanks to different stakeholders involved in the process, enables us to achieve results no one could predict.
However, what I personally appreciate in a holistic CX design is testing the solutions with users themselves – it is a true testing ground for our solution. Only when the changes based on customers’ feedback are implemented, can we declare with high probability that our solution meets CX expectations. That is how we aim to work.
A.K.: We consult with our customers iteratively – starting from the concept, through initial mock-ups we discuss with them, accepting feedback and correcting problems. Ailleron organizes such meetings regularly, and thanks to them we can build products based not only on our own assumptions, but also on reliable market practices.
M.L.: Thank you for the interview.
A.K.: Thank you.
P.K.: Thank you.
P.L.K.: Thank you too.
Adrian Kaczmarek, Paweł Krasuski and Patrycja Leszek-Królikowska were interviewed by Monika Lipiec, Fintek.pl editor. The interview was first published on fintek.pl.