The Importance of Proximity to the Customer in Product Development to stay ahead of the competition

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In the rapidly evolving digital landscape of financial services, product development plays a pivotal role in shaping the success of a business.

With advancements in technology and changing customer expectations, businesses must continually innovate to stay competitive and adopting a customer centric approach is vital.

A key determining factor of product success is proximity to the customer. Understanding the needs, preferences, and pain points of those at the end of the application, process, or user journey has become paramount in creating innovative and relevant FinTech products. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do customers' expectations that the solution fits around their requirements and schedule. In Jersey these expectations are no different.

At Vaiie we work at the forefront of Regtech, providing digital solutions to financial service providers that place the customer at the centre of product development to help businesses achieve greater productivity and effective risk management as well as a seamless experience for their customers.

Why is customer proximity so important? Not only by placing the customer at the centre of product development will businesses gain enhanced customer insights and increased customer engagement, the outcomes from this approach will allow businesses to tailor a solution to the customer’s needs therefore speeding up time to market all while continuing to drive innovation in a competitive market.

Enhancing Customer Insights

Proximity to the customer enables those building products for the finance sector to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and emerging trends. By establishing direct connections and engaging in meaningful conversations with customers, businesses can better understand their needs and pain points. According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, companies developing products that extensively engage with their customers throughout the product development process achieve, on average, 30% higher returns on their innovation investments compared to those that do not involve customers as closely. Particularly in a market such as Jersey where often customers may be based on Island and as well as in global international financial centres, understanding the nuances and priorities of these customers can be a key differentiator in the market.

Tailoring Solutions to Customer Needs

Developing products that truly address customer needs requires an in-depth understanding of their pain points and aspirations. Proximity to the customer allows the product manager to uncover unmet needs and identify gaps in the market. By leveraging direct feedback and customer insights, organisations can tailor their product offerings to meet specific customer requirements and create exceptional end user experiences. This targeted approach enhances customer satisfaction and fosters long-term loyalty. A survey conducted by PwC found that 73% of customers believe a positive customer experience is a crucial factor in their decision to do business with a financial service provider.

Driving Innovation

Innovation is vital for the providers of solutions to financial services firms to stay ahead of the competition and meet evolving customer and regulatory demands. Proximity to the customer fosters a culture of innovation by encouraging continuous learning and feedback loops to the product manager. By closely observing and understanding customer behaviour, FinTech businesses can identify new opportunities for product development and deliver innovative solutions. According to a report by Accenture, 78% of banking executives believe that the ability to innovate will be a key differentiator for their organisation in the coming years.

Vaiie Views

Vaiie have made a conscious decision to recruit in Jersey because that is where the customer experience happens. With seven new Jersey based team members Joining Vaiie by the end of 2023 we are putting real substance where we believe it needs to be.

For us, understanding our home market, a market which contains the head offices for many global firms is significant. We understand nuance and detail and that is reflected in the products we deliver.

We thrive when together as a team or with our customers, the benefits of in person collaboration are exponential and just cannot be replicated over a video call.

Adam Brown, Programme Manager - Vaiie

Speeding up Time-to-Market

In today's fast-paced world, time-to-market is critical for financial service providers seeking to gain a competitive edge. Proximity to the customer enables a business to gather real-time feedback and iterative product development more rapidly. This iterative approach allows for quick adjustments and enhancements, reducing the time taken for FinTech businesses to launch new products. In a survey conducted by Deloitte, 91% of banking executives agreed that agility and speed in product development are vital for success in the financial services industry.

Increasing Customer Engagement

Engaging customers throughout the product development journey enhances their sense of ownership and fosters a deeper connection with the brand. By involving customers in the co-creation of product features, financial service providers can build stronger relationships with key technology partners and create a loyal customer base. A study conducted by Salesforce revealed that 64% of customers expect personalised offers and experiences from their financial service providers. Proximity to the customer enables providers to gather real-time feedback and insights, facilitating the customisation of products and services to meet individual customer preferences. At Vaiie we leverage extensive client and data insights to refine and enhance our offering recognising that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for financial service providers in Jersey.


Proximity to the customer has become an essential aspect of product development for the financial services industry. By working with providers that understand customer needs, can tailor solutions, drive innovation, speed up time-to-market, and increase customer engagement, financial service providers can gain a significant competitive edge in the market.

The statistics alone reinforce the importance of customer-centric approaches and highlight the positive impact of proximity of a product manager to the customer when it comes to developing financial services digital solutions. In an era where customer expectations are continuously evolving, businesses must embrace providers that are close to their own client base to thrive and succeed in the dynamic world of financial services.

Vaiie has long understood the importance of proximity to the customer and have developed a suite of digital products that can deliver the right fit for any business and regulatory landscape. These products have been built with the customer at the centre of the experience to ensure these solutions are designed to learn, adapt, and evolve, continually raising the bar in terms of performance and user experience.

To talk to us about our approach to developing products that solve real world problems for the businesses we work with, please contact

This article was taken from Connect Magazine's September 2023 digital edition.

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