Citibank – Disputes

Reframing the way customers work through  disputes with their bank





Resolving financial disputes with a bank can be one of the most complex and stressful sets of interactions a customer can have with a bank. I was tasked with working with our client to improve the experience around client dispute reporting and management.

Our client relationship started on rocky footing. We were onboarded in the middle of a sprint for work that we were told was 90% complete. 

It wasn't.

The dispute journey was extremely complex. We were scrambling from the beginning – and when we finally felt like we were catching up, there were more missed requirements or scenarios that hadn’t been thought of.


Our main client was the Journey Owner. He was pretty understanding, but he was getting frustrated. There were delays that were already affecting timelines and client bonuses were on the line. We were frustrated with our client development partners because they kept pushing back on work that to us seemed like table stakes. They were frustrated with us because they were underwater with the complexity and amount of work to complete. 


Changing anything inside of the dispute journey requires the involvement of several legal and compliance stakeholders. These stakeholders had to approve everything and doing it via phone and email was slow and difficult to keep track of.

On the whole, there was no cohesion and everyone was frustrated. 


We needed to get alignment with all of our stakeholders, rebuild relationships and get work done together. 

I pitched the idea of an in person workshop with our client that would focus on these issues while we worked through our current project. 

I ran a workshop with our client and stakeholders over 3 days with 8 attendees in person and 23 who called in.

Workshop prep


Ideating together


Stakeholder alignment


Working better together


Ideating together

We identified 4 key areas of the experience as the focus for our workshop. My team and I prepared booklets that participants could use to reference details. 

I facilitated activities that used hand sketches and writing to generate blue sky ideas that we would then build on to make more realistic.


Stakeholder alignment

Workshop deck

This resulted in a group that was manageable and could make decisions easily. For folks that didn’t need to be there the whole time – we had them come in for appointments when we needed them so their time felt valued. 

Our client initially wanted 16 people in person over 2 days. One of my biggest goals for this workshop was to get the stakeholder alignment. Having 16 people in a workshop would be chaotic, harder to organize and I wasn’t confident that we’d be able to reach important decisions. We were able to work together to narrow down the decision makers and the nice to haves.

Journey pain points activity

The most important appointment was with our legal partner. After we spent a day ideating, I added our sketches to the legal deck that we used during our legal appointment. This allowed us to talk through ideas and have a dialogue about what our options could be. 


Working better together

While we were together, I wanted to establish some healthier patterns and hear pain points from everyone. We had this session on the last day. 

Throughout working together for the last 2 days, we built up trust with each other, so we were able to be open and honest with each other. 

Hearing others pain points really helped seeing things from each side and gave each discipline a chance to be heard. 


We were then able to talk about opportunities to work better together based on what we heard from our pain point discussion. Some important “discoveries” came out of the session including the framework the dev team used to govern their sprint schedule and the need to start doing demos of our design work along the way.



The Disputes workshop is the best workshop I’ve ever been to.

Amit K, Digital Product Head at Citi (Our client’s boss)

Through working on the problems in the journey – we realized as a group that we actually needed to redesign the Dispute Center instead of designing each feature separately.


[The disputes workshop] is one of the biggest and most innovative workshop sessions put on by CM with Citi

– Cecily Lo, Senior PM at CM

When we started working through the redesign, we implemented design demos with the development team. We started noticing a shift from the development team and the design team.

Concepts for the redesign

Before, the dev team would tell us: “We can’t do that”, after the workshop, they framed things around the problem they were having and by suggesting solutions. The design team actually started looking forward to meeting with the dev team and they became a part of the collaborative process. 

Here's another project!

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