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Mobile Banking First?

With the rapid expansion of smartphones and tablet devices, bank customers today are highly informed, relying on reviews and information published across social media channels, and do banking online 24/7. Customers can be reluctant to visit branches, and it is more likely than ever that these customers will switch their main banking relationship. To cope with this change, banks today are striving to provide a strong digital channels offering. But should banks focus on online banking on the personal computer platform, or on mobile and tablet banking solutions?

As more and more consumers are replacing their personal computers with their phones and tablets to conduct their daily banking activities, focusing on mobile and tablet applications that can support a broad spectrum of functionality and capabilities is a great place to start for any bank.  So how can a bank successfully push the mobile banking offering to the forefront of their digital banking strategy?

Since customers will be interacting with the bank’s mobile application, it is essential to have an outstanding usability and excellent user interface.  No matter how informative or rich in functionality, unpleasant and cluttered interface will only lead to frustrated customers, which will quickly accelerate the rate of customer attrition. Banks have to involve usability and design experts, and offer clear product information, simple processes and straight through processing on your mobile banking applications. Banks also need to design their sales processes differently between different devices – computers, mobiles and tablets.

Social media should also be made a part of your mobile and tablet banking solution. Much like restaurants and retailers, banks should seek positive reviews from satisfied customers. Mobile applications should provide customers with the facility to share messages and reviews on social media, especially at the end of successful sales processes and customer interactions. Banks can also motivate and reward customers for sharing information on social media with the help of gamification tools – financial tools which use gaming as a medium to motivate certain customer behavior, for instance offering reward points or badges to customers.

Despite common market belief, it is possible for banks to sell products and generate revenue using their mobile channels. Today, banks make most of their sales through branch banking and online channels are not utilized enough to sell products, and this is especially true for mobile channels. Mobile banking should focus on products which can be sold with a minimal number of touches, like pre-approved loans or insurances. Banks can also generate leads for complex products that can be handed over to the branch – e.g. gathering a lead for a mortgage application on the bank’s mobile banking solution, which can then be forwarded to an advisor in the branch or in the call center.  It is essential that these applications accepted through any channel in the bank are visible to bank staff across all channels, to ensure that customers are not repeating application processes as this can lead to customer frustration. To allow customers to engage via different channels throughout the sales process requires banks to break out from a silo based channel approach and allow for interoperability between channels.

To increase sales on the mobile banking platform, banks need to deliver personalized and targeted product offers to their customers. To improve targeting of marketing offers, banks can use location based campaigns and merchant funded offers delivered on mobile devices. Personal financial management applications can also be very helpful in providing the valuable customer insight that can be utilized to personalize and target marketing and sales campaigns.

Besides traditional mobile banking, the adoption of mobile wallet applications - which are  payment services enabling consumers to use mobile phones instead of cash to pay for services and goods - is dramatically increasing. Mobile wallet is a great tool for banks to engage new customers segments, as a mobile wallet does not require users to hold an account or credit card of the providing bank. Being an early adaptor of this type of service can put banks in a market leading position.

While not all banks will choose to put mobile banking at the forefront of their digital banking offering, they can be at the risk losing revenue due to fierce competition from other financial institutes, mobile network operators and alternative providers. Hence, it is essential for every bank catering to the retail customer segment to look into the financial market and review their digital banking strategy. 


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