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CEO Jon Stein: How You Shape Betterment’s Vision For 2019

How you use Betterment and what you tell us shapes our future. Betterment CEO Jon Stein describes what he’s hearing from customers and how those ideas are changing what we’re building in 2019.

Articles by Jon
By Jon Stein CEO & Founder, Betterment Published Dec. 28, 2018
Published Dec. 28, 2018
4 min read
  • If 2018 was all about listening to your feedback with greater intentionality, 2019 will be about turning that feedback into Betterment experiences we hope you’ll love.

  • We can’t wait to show you what we’re building, including cash management solutions and a refreshed mobile experience.

At the start of this new year, I hope you look back at 2018 and see a year full of fulfillment and joy. Sharing personally: I have two children now, two and four years old, and though I can hardly believe it, we’re already approaching Kindergarten for Sasha, my older daughter. Fortunately, there is a great public school on our corner which is quite convenient and will give us a little extra time together every morning. Being a parent and CEO is not always easy. Two kids is a lot more to manage than one, and I always want more time to spend with them!

Of course, a team of 250 (roughly Betterment’s current size) is also significantly more to manage than a team of 150, and I’ve been enjoying the challenge of leading a growing company. We continue to mature and learn, and while father and CEO are different challenges, I draw insights from reflecting on both roles.

As I think back on 2018, my resolution last January was to bring our customers to life inside Betterment. Nothing brings me more energy than calls and coffees with customers (a special thanks to those of you I met with over Thanksgiving in Dallas), or my chats with advisors and employers who serve their clients and employees using Betterment. I want all of our team to experience the uplifting and insightful experience of personally connecting to those we serve. This work is never done, but we made good progress in 2018:

  • We have never had a clearer, more organized feed of your questions and concerns, thanks to our team working to catalog your insights and report them more methodically.
  • We worked to put every employee in front of your technical help questions for a week this year, pairing everyone from engineers to finance with our customer support professionals in a rolling “customer experience week.”
  • This fall, by tuning our support channels and teams, training new associates, and building ever-increasing efficiency, we brought down call hold times and email response times by 80% compared to earlier in 2018.
  • We assigned Betterment’s top executives to own each of the experiences you encounter as a Betterment customer.

Because of my conversations with you, I’ve never been more excited for what’s ahead at Betterment.

We are on the first leg of our life-long journey to transform financial services—to take “finance” from being a conflicted industry, to one that helps every American live better. In 2019, my resolution is to make that customer-centricity tangible for you: to help you take advantage of all we are doing for you; to make more clear the services we’re providing to you already; and to build services that help improve you and your family’s everyday health and happiness.

I want Betterment to be the most customer-focused financial services business in the world; in 2019, we’ll make major strides.
  • We’ll continue to launch services to help improve how you save and manage your cash. We can’t aim to offer best-in-market financial advice without advising on the heartbeat of your financial life: your everyday income and expenses. Your bank balance and monthly ins-and-outs might be individually small relative to your retirement accounts, but they add up to a big opportunity to improve your life – if you have an advisor aligned with your interests who’s helping you to save more, build the right habits, and work to make the most of your money.
  • We’ll design everything around mobile. Almost 70% of your logins are on a mobile device, and too much of Betterment’s functionality isn’t yet available there. Our mobile experience is not where we want it to be, and that must change if we’re to provide a more convenient, consistent experience that we hope will become the hub of your everyday financial life.
  • We’ll help you benefit from the services of Betterment you may not realize you are missing. We’ll guide you through our personalized financial planning suite with stronger context and information. We’ll show you how to use Betterment to plan and help earn more, net of taxes. For newer customers, we’re even working to make it easier to try us and experience the value of our personalized guidance.

Being a Betterment customer is a relationship: You give us feedback and share your life’s challenges with us, and in response, we work to advance Betterment for you—to make it easier to use, to add new forms of guidance, and to help you manage your money.

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As your advisor, we should be accountable to you, and always acting in your best interest.

My team and I are working hard to play that role in your life every day and to make 2019 as prosperous for you as we can. We’re listening like never before; in 2019, we’ll share improvements I hope will delight and excite you. And while markets can swing wildly and we’re all likely to face unforeseeable spending in life, we at Betterment are striving to help you hold steady on the path toward your goals. Keep sharing your experience with us—we’re listening. We hope the year ahead is one filled with positivity, high aspirations, and personal success for you.

Wishing you and your family all the best, from ours.

Jon Stein

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