A huge number of people in the UK use mobile-banking apps for their everyday financial needs. For some people, it may be their first and only point of contact with their bank, with many users wanting to be constantly connected with their money. With 22.9 million of retail-banking customers now using an app, or tools such as Apple Pay, to keep track of their finances and make payments, the demand and expectations for instantly delivered and up-to-date data has never been higher. But if the app fails to meet these expectations, the result could be catastrophic for both the bank and the customer.
Think back to April, which saw NatWest and RBS customers take to social media to complain about the banks when their apps failed. A problem app could be extremely damaging to a business. So, what is the recipe to solve your problem app and to deliver a “dream app”?
Let’s break it down…
We all want easy access to our financial information, and we want to be able to query and manipulate it on our own terms. We all want access to our financial information securely, immediately, both online and via mobile apps—it’s the idea of controlling our money on the go. Thanks to our now connected-obsessed world, some of Generation Z may have never even seen the inside of a branch.
Banks need to give customers much, much more. With the possibility to digitally question financial transactions, product information such as loans, mortgages and insurance in real-time via a mobile app, banks have only just scratched the surface. For example, we want to be able to instantly message an advisor from a smartphone to get product information or clarify the meaning of a loan agreement. This is just one demand from customers who expect their retail banks to provide instant insights into all aspects of their financial interests in one place instantly.
Millennials, commonly referred to as those born in the 1980s and 1990s, represent the greatest lifetime value of any banking customer. In fact, 80 percent of millennials conduct basic banking digitally, with 52 percent claiming that they prefer non-traditional payment methods. More and more of us are on the go and using a smartphone to bank. However, unfortunately if the network is poor, user experience will suffer, and customers will become frustrated. This means that users may look for an alternative bank with a better digital service. With this market steadily growing in importance, it’s vital that an app can deal with the unpredictability of network connections in order to meet the demanding needs of this new market.
Usability and the customer journey
Banks have invested millions in improving customer experience within its branches by building flagship hubs, investing in call-centre training and improving omnichannel capabilities. So why are banks still providing outdated services and products? A good example is to look at the information a consumer may need to place an expense claim at work—he or she might want to know the details of last month’s statement or be able to check the exchange rate of a transaction made yesterday. We all want to see our financial history, total balances (across all our accounts: savings, loans, mortgages, etc.) and be able to do so instantly, with the click of a button or the swipe of a screen. Customers want to see how they spend their money for work, pleasure, leisure and lifestyle; therefore, banks need to think beyond the basic features and act as a mobile financial concierge or advisor that is a true extension of the branch customer experience.
The use of game mechanics in non-game contexts (gamification) can be an interesting technique for banks to help influence customer behaviour. Think of it like this: gamification could be used to offer an accurate view on what it costs to run a home or car. If the cost of a car is too high, a loan could be offered digitally to cover the costs, or better still, a bank could directly finance the lease with a local dealership along with providing a trade-in value of the old car, coupled with a really great car insurance product. In this instance, the game is to educate customers to group their monthly expenses by category. The result: improved customer retention, engagement and loyalty.
And then there is the issue of security
Security is an essential component of every application developed. Banks need to have access to software that can offer speed, scale and security. Implementing an authentication process for end-users, such as a username and unique password, will ensure data is distributed based only on permissions within the organisation. Inevitably, banks will see a reduction in the amount of data sent to comply with industry regulations.
In today’s world, consumers are savvy, demanding and on the go; time itself is our most precious asset, so we expect data that is accurate and delivered in a moment. And let’s not forget, all it takes is a split second to make a decision to spend and buy products. To encourage this and enable customers to manage their assets better, banks must supply a simple view that is accurate and up to the minute. The truth is, we are embracing digital technology to simplify daily tasks, and this is the case for the banking industry. Banking apps need to be bigger, faster and stronger, and the sooner they are, the better.
Give us that pocket-sized financial advisor.