There is a lot of talk about how banking services can be delivered over the “mobile superhighway” – the mobile internet or mobile web and the use of “apps”. Quite rightly banks (and their suppliers) are innovating, but there is a danger that in doing so
they run the risk of disenfranchising a large proportion of their customer base.
One of the areas that banks seem to shout loudest about is the proverbial iPhone app. A lot of time, energy and marketing spend goes in to bringing (an often limited) iPhone app to market. Yet globally, Apple have only a 2.7% share of the mobile phone market
(source: Gartner, May 2010). Across Europe, that figure rises to a 4% share (source: comScore, June 2010). Whilst smartphone penetration will continue to rise, focusing efforts on just an iPhone app is going to leave behind over 90% of the bank’s customers.
Banks must therefore consider how they are to approach all of their customers over this channel. The first step is to understand that mobile is not a single channel – the main focus currently is around a combination of SMS, mobile web and applications (although
there are other possibilities). However this presupposes that we are only concerned about mobile phones. Realistically, we should be considering “mobility” rather than “mobile”, and the ability to interact with customers whenever, wherever. So we also need
to be thinking about other channels within this space – think Instant Messaging clients such as Skype or MSN, connected TV’s running Google TV or Yahoo Widgets.
But let’s get back to today, and how banks can interact with 100% of their customers, rather than the 4% that an iPhone app might allow them. It may seem rather pedestrian, but SMS should feature strongly within a banks consideration. Banks also need to
think beyond one-way “dumb” alerts and look at the relevance of actionable and conversational alerts (for fraud reduction, cross-sell opportunities and more), as well as granting “access” for their customers (for account information and transaction requests
such as transfers and payments).
This should all be delivered in parallel, rather than delivering each channel in isolation. Why shouldn’t the same fraud alert that your customer receives (and can action) via SMS also be displayed on an ATM, or within online banking, or when they dial in
to the bank’s IVR?
Mobile banking – there should be more than just an app for that.