Product Launch: A Journey Through Innovation and Collaboration
by: Scott Gordon, Lead Product Manager
At Enova, our mission is helping hardworking people get access to fast, trustworthy credit, and we’re constantly evaluating how we can improve our products — or introduce new ones — to better serve our customers. On May 22, we launched our NetCredit Line of Credit product in North Dakota. This new NetCredit product was a huge undertaking and was the result of months of research, ideation, problem-solving, collaboration and execution from team members across the business. We’re excited to be offering the millions of Americans who don’t have perfect credit scores a new credit option that meets their needs and helps them move their lives forward.
So, how did we launch the product? First, a little background on the product and the customers we’re serving.
Who is our customer?
According to the Financial Health Network:
- 67 million US adults have difficulty using mainstream financial products due to low-moderate income or income volatility
- 91 million US adults have a thin to no credit file or a subprime score
This market is further broken down according to various levels of financial health:
- 28% of Americans are financially Healthy
- 55% of Americans are financially Coping
- 17% of Americans are financially Vulnerable
Our Line of Credit product will be most beneficial to the “coping” customer segments. Consumers in this segment are employed and have income, but have less of a financial cushion for an emergency and typically cannot get approved for a loan from a bank or credit union due to their credit score. Customers in this segment also have a higher chance of experiencing income or expense volatility two to three months out of the year. Ultimately these customers are looking for a solution to help them manage their day-to-day financial lives, provide a cushion for expenses or income volatility, and offer a path towards a healthier financial future.
Understanding what our customers are looking for sent us on a journey to design a product that could meet or exceed these needs. We started by throwing as many ideas out there as we could think of. Once we had our list, we attacked each feature or idea with research, analysis, internal debates, and customer surveys. Ultimately we came up with a plan that was beneficial to our customers, beneficial to the business, and feasible to bring to market quickly.
NetCredit Line of Credit offers the following features and benefits:
- Open-end line of credit, allowing customers access to the funds they need, when they need it
- Fee Saver, rewarding the customer for on-time payments by lowering fees over time
- Reporting to credit bureaus, allowing the customer to build their credit profile with on-time payments
- We don’t charge daily interest, allowing customers to pay early and have more control over the fees they pay
We selected these features to give our customers flexibility in their day-to-day financial lives while also providing a path to future financial health.
We figured out what product we wanted to build, but how would we take our fairly abstract product concepts and turn them into a living, breathing thing? How could we build it in such a way that we can extract immediate value but provide a foundation to build on as we iterate, learn new things, and adjust our strategy?
Our solution was twofold. The first part of our solution was actually very obvious: use things that we already have! This was the straightforward and simple part to answer; we determined we would use as much of the established parts of the Enova Lending Platform as possible and couple them with newer components.
The second part of our solution was less obvious. How could we make it easy and extendible as a brand to not only use the things we had but ensure we could use (or not use) things not yet built? Our ultimate solution was one set of interfaces that acted as a layer for connecting the NetCredit brand to whichever set of underlying services were required. Our initial build-out required not only creation of the brand layer itself but extending some Enova Lending Platform Services to allow any brand to interface with them in a more unified way.
We have already had some success using this methodology; we can now underwrite using two different technologies for different products; and we quickly built a credit report waterfall feature for all products within the NetCredit brand. With this solution, we look forward to being able to continue evolving the technology that powers NetCredit in order to deliver on the needs of our customers.
A launch of this magnitude touches pretty much every department within Enova. In order to bring this project to life, we needed collaboration and buy-in from multiple teams: Accounting, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Compliance, Customer Contact Center, Data Services, Finance, Legal, Marketing, Product, Software Engineering, Strategy and Operations, Studios, Tech Ops and others were all involved to some degree. Something I learned interfacing with all kinds of people at Enova is that they have one thing in common: every team member is really good at their job and up to the challenge.
What started as some ideas on a whiteboard were brought to life by many, many people across the organization. Throughout the process, there was certainly adversity, changes in direction, disagreements, debates, elation, frustration, good ideas, bad ideas, tough negotiations and forces outside of our control, but it was amazing to see our “Best Answer Wins” and “Customer First” values on display throughout. Launching this product is really a testament to what we can accomplish when we collaborate.
What does the future hold? Our top priority moving forward is to continue to scale into new states and expand our ability to serve more customers. We will need to gather data, learn and continue to iterate. Ultimately, if we listen, our customers will tell us exactly where we need to go and what they want to see next.