Kiwibank’s iPhone App Puts A Service Rep In Everyone’s Pocket

Kiwibank has released its mobile banking app for iPhones. The app is part of a suite of online innovations pouring from the bank intended to revolutionize how people bank online.

“We’ve put our online relationship managers literally in the palm of our customer’s hand.”
— Peter Fletcher-Dobson,
Head of Online/Kiwibank

Kiwibank’s first iPhone app has been much anticipated. While most of the world’s big financial institutions have had smart phone apps deployed for months, even years, Kiwibank was among the few holdouts. But it was worth the wait.

Among the features of Kiwibank’s app (and there are many — a fast-access 4 digit PIN log-in, full account history, lists of future payments, funds transfer options, bill payments and much more), the most notable is a click-to-chat service. If a customer needs help, they can just push a button in the Kiwibank app to initiate a two-way chat with a service agent.

You can watch an excellent video demonstration of this iPhone app on Kiwibank’s website.

Kiwibank calls the chat reps “online relationship managers” (ORMs). Any Kiwibank customer can summon support from an ORM, provided they are already registered for internet banking. Once the request is received, Kiwibank assigns an ORM who will reply within 24 hours. And if the ORM can’t answer a question directly, they will set up an appointment for the customer with the person who can.

The way Kiwibank describes it, once a customer has been assigned an ORM, that’s their permanent, on-going ORM. The bank says it plans to proactively assign ORMs to all its internet banking customers.

Once the relationship is underway, Kiwibank may slip in a marketing message or cross-sell here and there. “Online Relationship Managers might also help you out from time to time with suggestions or special offers tailored just for you,” the bank explains on its website. “They’re constantly looking for ways to save you time and money.” Kiwibank will have to be very careful with this. Just one or two marketing missteps and customers might reject the entire service.

“Through the app, we’ve put our online relationship managers literally in the palm of our customer’s hand,” said Kiwibank’s Head of Online, Peter Fletcher-Dobson. “With the online relationship manager we’re putting a real person at the heart of our online offering for every customer.”

Kiwibank’s online customers can access the service either through the new iPhone app or the desktop-based internet banking platform.

The Online Relationship Manager service has been available to desktop users of internet banking since last year.

For now, the mobile app is only available to iPhone users, but Kiwibank says an Android version is on the way shortly.

Mobile users now make up 15% of Kiwibank’s online traffic, and mobile usage has increased 140% in last 12 months vs 15% for desktop banking. 61% of Kiwibank’s mobile users run Apple (IOS) devices – mostly iPhones. Android devices make up 24% of Kiwibank mobile traffic

The app page in Apple’s iTunes store boasts good reviews so far.

“Finally!!!” wrote customer Verbana Benzi in her review. “I loved u for all your services and now I love you guys for the app!!! Couldn’t be anymore perfect!!!!”

“Great app well done kiwi it well worth the wait,” added another satisfied user.

The iPhone app is one part of a broader initiative Kiwibank is undertaking to make all online, mobile and digital access points more responsive.


Kiwibank – Online Relationship Manager ‘Becks’

This TV spot shows a fictitious chat about overdrafts between a Kiwibank customer and their ORM. “Meet Becks, one of New Zealand’s first bona fide, all singing, all dancing online bankers,” the announcer says. There are two other spots on YouTube supporting the ORM/iPhone app rollout — one about “John” and another about “Dan.”

Emulating the Apple Online Experience

There is much talk in the financial industry about emulating Apple, but it seems like all the attention is focused on the offline, brick-and-mortar channel. Kiwibank has just launched a redesigned website with an exhaustive overview of online touchpoints, and all their varied features and benefits. It’s the closest thing approximating Apple’s online sales channel the financial industry has ever seen.

Kiwibank’s new website (left) compared to a typical product page on Apple’s website.

Kiwibank didn’t just redo their frontend website. Their online banking system got a nice overhaul too. They offer customers a thorough visual run down of all the changes, improvements and additions in this informative online walkthrough.

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