In 2015, for the first time in the U.S. banking, the weekly use of mobile banking exceeded branch visits, as reported by Javelin Strategy & Research. It illustrates the decrease in using the physical channel and points to the growing trend of mobile banking development initiatives. Javelin even predicts that the digital channel will become the primary screen through which customers will form an opinion about their financial institution, which significantly increases the cost of failure. Then, how to guarantee your mobile banking app won’t go up in smoke? How to make it drive higher customer satisfaction?
Why mobile banking apps can fail to meet customer expectations
According to Clarabridge, more than three quarters (78%) of mobile banking users are satisfied with the experience they are offered. But taking a closer look at the issue, we can see that despite acceptable customer satisfaction, the clarity of information and ease of navigating in mobile banking decrease. The latest J.D. Power study found that fewer than half of banks’ customers completely understand their mobile banking apps (46% in 2015 vs. 54% in 2014).
The majority of banks simply add new features hoping to improve customer satisfaction. But as statistics show, users are only getting frustrated with the complex mobile banking functionality. Then, if “more-is-better” is not the right option, what course should banks take to improve customer satisfaction with their mobile banking apps?
Approaches to building a mobile banking strategy
First, banks should decide on their mobile banking strategy that can vary from tailing the leaders to earning a competitive advantage and finally taking the lead position. In other words, a bank can choose a target percentile that represents its relative position among competitors.
The 50th percentile is appropriate if a bank experiments on the market with low risks or sticks to the "we too" approach to follow banks that have already implemented a mobile banking app. In this instance, banks can do with the basic mobile banking features such as account overviews and bill pay by providing fast and stable access to information. The main idea here is to look at your rivals’ offerings and provide comparable level of service to your customers.
But if banks want to improve customer satisfaction, they need to move further to the 75th percentile and higher. For this purpose, banks should consider more than just the basic functionality. Their strategy should aim at bringing in a powerful and full-featured mobile solution with seamless transactional experience. Let’s see how banks can do that.
Increasing customer satisfaction with advanced functionality
Introducing seamless transactional experience
Those banks that seek positive customer feedback should try to apply the words of Jim Miller, the senior director of banking at J.D. Power. As he aptly remarked, “success will not be driven by just adding more bells and whistles, but by balancing functionality with ease of use and then clearly communicating features and benefits to customers.”
Along these lines, banks need to make sure that their mobile banking app embodies seamless transactional experience. This approach has become noteworthy after the emergence of fintechs that started positioning themselves as ‘convenience providers’. Rocket Mortgage's slogan “push a button, get a mortgage” promises a quick online mortgage application. Small businesses turn to Kabbage services to get a $500 to $50,000 loan in just 7 minutes. That is why contenders need to bring a convenient service taking the least possible time and effort to perform an online transaction.
Providing one-touch access to customer support
To satisfy customers’ needs, leading banks ensure online account management in their mobile banking, but almost all of them overlook adequate mobile customer support. If customers need to leave an app to browse the FAQ or write a request, they will undoubtedly abandon such an inconsistent process or, what is worse, turn to a more mindful provider. That is why leading mobile banking apps should provide a one-touch access to customer support without leaving the app.
Achieving intuitive user navigation
In many instances, the key feature of all successful mobile banking apps is a simple, highly intuitive navigation that saves users’ time. This can be achieved in many ways. For example, Ally Bank has presented their virtual assistant helping customers conduct transactions through voice commands.
Improving financial management
The advanced mobile banking functionality can include a financial analyzer with easy-to-understand charts and graphs reflecting income, spending or investment performance. Small business owners may also like the idea of consolidating personal and business banking in one app.
Using customer data to add personalized features
Banks can reap benefits from the personal data that their customers generate daily. One of the ways is to enable personalized reminders and notifications based on customer profiles. E.g., banks can send alerts when a customer’s account balance falls below a certain limit or when a withdrawal exceeds a certain threshold, etc. But the implementation of these features should be reasonable so as not to create a conflict of interests. For example, banks may or may not find sense to set up a reminder for a client holding a bank's bond with the maturity date expired. That is why banks should consider the types of notifications and reminders they’d like to display.
Another way to make the most of customer data is making personalized recommendations for loans, home-refinancing opportunities and debt restructuring. Financial startups and innovators like Kofax, BankMobile, Yodlee or Moyen introduce promising concepts, but few of them provide comprehensive solutions. Thus, this is the chance for banks to bring in a powerful mobile solution where customers can solve and manage their financial needs without using third-party apps.
Customer satisfaction is built over time and can be gained by introducing a helpful and easy-to-use application. To create an engaging mobile app, seamless transactional experience and efficient customer support should become the primary focus for any bank. Adding advanced functionality such as alerts and notifications, financial analyzers or personalized assistance will help to get bonus points in overall customer satisfaction. But in any case, prioritizing in-app features based on customer needs is the starting point for any bank blazing a trail in customer satisfaction through the mobile channel.
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