“Micro lender” Nimble says correlating system performance to customer journeys is allowing it to improve the customer experience as the company seeks to become a fully-fledged digital bank and shed its payday lending tag.

The company tapped New Relic, a cloud-based service monitoring software provider, to help plug the holes in its customer funnel by correlating them to system events.

Nimble says improving the customer journey is vital if it is to join a host of new Australian neobanks which market themselves on seamless digital experiences.

Established in 2005 and now headed by Gavin Slater, the former NAB IT chief and one time head of the government’s Digital Transformation Agency, Nimble is trying to evolve from a small loan lender into a full-service digital bank. 

The company is yet to be granted a banking licence, meaning it can not offer the larger financial products it wants to and is restricted to offering smaller loans, typically with higher interest rates and fees.

Nimble Chief Digital and Innovation Officer Jason Barry says the company has indeed pivoted since Slater’s arrival. In 2019 it began offering personal loans and car loans.

Nimble Chief Digital and Innovation Officer Jason Barry. LinkedIn.

And while Nimble remains a microlender and still offers payday loans, Barry says it does so “at the highest end of responsible lending”.

“We do very much deal in the world of financial need, not financial wants,” Barry tells Which-50.

“I mean you look at sectors like buy now pay later. That’s certainly not as responsible as our own space. And it’s something that we take quite seriously, the way that we deal with our customers.”

Barry says the pay day loans tag Nimble is associated with is one of the drivers for pivoting the company towards digital banking and more “contemporary lending products”.

A new New Relic

Barry says Nimble tapped SaaS provider New Relic to better understand how its platform might be impacting customer conversion and retention rates for a new virtual credit card product.

Nimble is an “AWS first” company, relying on the US public cloud vendor to spin up resources as required. While the cloud approach means Nimble can scale up resources as provided sometimes delays in doing so can mean delays for customers.

Essentially the software allows Nimble to correlate events in the application funnel and customer journey to system events, Barry says.

“If we see any impact on customers from a system perspective that gets surfaced inside New Relic and that allows us to track the performance of the funnel against the performance of the platform architecture.”

For example, Nimble needs to be able to approve customer’s transactions within fractions of a second because if the entire transaction process takes longer than three seconds it will be declined by the card network.

“We use New Relic to make sure that we’re performing as we need to ensure that customers aren’t impacted. And if we see any anomalies or spikes in processing time that gets immediately surfaced to us. 

The Nimble digital chief says integrating New Relic, a company founded in 2008, was relatively simple because of its well-established method for linking platforms.

The challenge, though, was clearly identifying what Nimble ultimately wanted to achieve with the software, according to Barry.

“It’s very easy to throw everything up into New Relic so you end up with this massive blob of data. But then eventually you have to make sense of it.

“So it pays to do a bit of pre-thinking about what you’re trying to surface out of all that data before you begin just sending it across.”

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