Mariah Holmes, Financial Marketing Intern
Do you remember when free checking was all the rage? Every bank wanted to offer it and every consumer demanded that their bank had it. Look at free checking now. Its unheard of for a bank to not offer free checking. So what’s the current necessity for banks and their customers? Mobile banking, but simply offering the app isn’t enough. Banks need a new differentiator to keep their customers loyal and interactive.
The banking apps we have today are good, but not great. Sure, they keep us from having to make unnecessary trips to a branch. But is it doing enough for your customers? The mobile frontier is limitless, yet most mobile applications are barely reaching their potential. Here is another area for you to improve customer satisfaction and continue to innovate the banking industry. How could we innovate mobile banking? As you can see in the chart above by Market Force, most people use their mobile app for basic banking tasks. But is that all they can use their app for? Is that all you use your app for? What capabilities do you wish your mobile app had? Think about your own financial institution and the services you wish they offered on their mobile banking app. Some ideas might be:
- Find branch locations
- Customer service chat availability
- Budgeting tools and calculators
- 30-second personal loans (up to $1,000) on a mobile app
- Pre-approval of auto loans (with discounts on rate)
- Same day availability of remote deposited checks on a mobile app
- Visual representation of goal setting/progress on mobile app
Keep everything focused on the customer and your institution can continue to innovate the industry to better serve them. The best way to differentiate yourself from other banks is to give your customers something they can’t get anywhere else.
Improved Customer Service
Mobile phones are intimate. By offering an app, you can allow customers to become more invested in your institution. They don’t have an app for any bank on their phone, and they don’t download an app just to let it sit there and take up precious space. So in order to get a spot on their phone, you have to make an app that they need.
“One of the biggest opportunities (and shortfalls) at the vast majority of financial institutions is not having the ability to open a new account entirely on a mobile device,” said Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand and publisher of the Digital Banking Report[ii]. “The requirement to go to a physical office to complete an account opening is the most likely reason for application abandonment.”
How can you maximize those opportunities and minimize the shortfalls? Offering any of the following services from a mobile app could improve customer engagement with your financial institution:
- The ability to open a new account from within your mobile app
- Live Chat function on your mobile app, having someone available to help when customers need it to reduce the chance of application abandonment
- Schedule appointments from the mobile app, making it quick and convenient for customers instead of calling and being put on hold until a teller can speak with them
- Link to a map function that displays your locations as well as ATMs for their banking convenience
All of these new services will ensure your customers have every tool available to them, and right at their fingertips. But these kind of things don’t just appear, a lot of time and effort go into the creation of a banking app and there are aspects of it that require more attention than others.
Insist on Security
Eighty-three percent of United States customers are comfortable sharing information and interacting with their bank online, according to a July 2013 Infosys survey. Aside from providing standard encryption and security, the safety of your mobile banking app is left in the hands of your customer. The passcode on their phone and the Wi-Fi networks they connect to are the best ways to keep their information secure, and that is completely in their control. Educating your customers on the safe mobile banking practices is an easy way to make them feel secure while using the app.
Another key to ensuring the security of your app and your customer’s information is using a trusted app developer to build your app. You wouldn’t hire a mechanic to do the job of a doctor, so don’t think just any computer person can build you the app you want. As with any investment, do your research and make sure you are getting the best person to build you the best app possible. Is a mobile banking app going to be easy to develop? Not always. Building it with the best company and involving your IT team as necessary will be essential in the development and implementation of your app.
Now it’s your turn
We all look for convenience in every aspect of our lives. So as a financial institution, you should want to offer the best convenience to your customers as well. With a customer-first attitude, you will be able to innovate and reconstruct the mobile banking frontier. Mobile is a massive playground for institutions to begin taking advantage of. Your customers are becoming more comfortable and tech savvy, and it’s time for you to join them. By developing a mobile banking app that is focused on the needs of your consumer, you will be able to maximize on the newest technology innovation for the banking industry.