Investing in mobile? Capture your customers with a robust mobile strategy

(c)iStock.com/Leonardo Patrizi

Many financial services organisations have recognised that mobility is essential to better engage and meet their clients’ needs, particularly the younger generation.

Compared to other sectors, the global financial services industry has been at the forefront of mobile adoption. Research shows that mobile banking is growing at a fast pace, it is predicted that 1.75 billion mobile phone users will have used their devices for banking purposes by the end of 2019, compared to 800 million in 2014. A major American bank we work with reports that 42 percent of its users are mobile only.

As customers begin to demand more compelling banking experiences across their devices, finance institutions need to adopt a holistic enterprise mobile strategy. Mobile provides banks and financial service organisations with an abundance of opportunities to help engage customers and improve retention rates. With more than half of mobile bankers between the ages of 18 and 34, the need to reach the millennial audience and create engaging mobile banking experiences is greater than ever.

As such, optimising the banking experience for mobile allows financial institutions to better target the Generation Y group, many of whom may never go into a branch. It also allows consumers to access information and data from any device at any time, increasing customer engagement and creating a better experience for both parties involved. A well developed mobile strategy can also provide financial companies with the ability to reduce operational costs for customers using mobile.

Before progressive financial services companies, from insurers to banks, can capitalise on the opportunities for improving customer engagement and organisational agility through the use of mobile technology, there are still a few challenges they must overcome.

Adopting a holistic view

Despite the high ‘sector adoption rates’ of mobile, the uptake has been predominately within the consumer retail and banking sector. This is understandable, given it is normally the largest customer segment, but it is a narrow view of mobile, which has dominated the industry.

Banking organisations need to look holistically at the potential of mobile across the enterprise. For example, finance institutions may have commercial or investment customers, as well as a partner channel of independent financial advisors. Beyond that, large sections of their own employees will have a requirement for integrated mobile applications, to support the customer account management function. Banks and other finance functions need to take on a more holistic mobile strategy to ensure they are reaching all stakeholders.

Mobile understanding

Another challenge for financial sector firms is a lack of true understanding of how mobile is ‘consumed’ by its audience. Bad examples of this consist of taking the interface and experience that exists on the Web and transferring it directly to a mobile environment. This approach to mobile does not take into account people’s mobile behaviours or needs and wants. As one in three millennials are open to switching banks within 90 days, banks need to ensure they understand and are optimising their apps for mobile if they want to succeed and retain customers.

Banking integration

Banks have complex integration requirements, but to make things work for mobile, it is vital to access core banking systems and backend customer information, so the right information can be accessed and used in the mobile environment. Making this information available on mobile has security considerations, for both conservative financial organisations and for some sections of the customer base.

So how do financial service organisations overcome these challenges to make mobile work?

1. Understand mobile behaviour: It’s important that you recognise your mobile banking customers’ likes and dislikes and build this analysis into your plans. Develop and trial the applications, including the user experience and interface, and ensure that you are learning and responding to user feedback.

Most banking apps fail because of lack of user understanding, which leads to poorly designed apps. Mobile is all about the experience and success in the space is determined how quickly users adopt the app and use it. That’s why it’s important to understand how your customers, partners and staff want to use mobile.

2. Brand consistency: Creating a single consistent brand across all your stakeholder groups is key. The goal should be to ensure a single user experience, regardless of what type of finance customer, partner or employee you are targeting, in whatever region of the world and on whatever device is being used. Building a consistent mobile experience with your finance app will support your customer growth and enhance the company’s overall brand reputation.

3. An evolutionary approach: Business requirements are always evolving. It is important that the mobile applications you provide for the finance sector are able to respond to change as you capture process improvements. The business needs to be flexible enough to integrate these evolving changes in real-time. Business analysts need to be able to change or update the application themselves without support from IT. Learn from your own analysis, look at your competitors, start somewhere and build organically.

4. Analytics and insight: Launching your enterprise banking app is not the end of your process; it's the beginning. The business needs to measure the project’s ROI and to what extent it’s a profitable venture. Initially, this needs to be measured by the extent of access to the customer accounts and access to the customer transactions. Finally, it needs to measure the degree to which this channel is supporting cross-selling and new revenue opportunities.

As the program progresses, finance organisations need to learn what changes should be made to ensure that all three measurement criteria are exceeded.

Conclusion

The growth of mobile will continue to impact the global financial services industry at every level. New technology and services can enable anytime access to relevant information, but organisations need to understand the nuances of mobile behaviour, be consistent with their mobile branding, evolve and refine their approach. This will ensure that the correct analytics are being applied to guarantee overall project success in the finance sector and beyond.

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