3 Tips to Drive Mobile Banking Adoption

Increase adoption of your mobile banking app and consumers will be more satisfied and less likely to switch.

By Elliott Brown, AVP/Marketing at Farmers Bank

Pushing mobile adoption is very important, at least for financial institutions that want to retain their existing customer base. To keep pace with the growing needs of today’s consumers, many institutions are rushing towards Personal Financial Management (PFM) apps to provide an enhanced mobile banking experience.

For the those banks and credit unions who haven’t yet adopted a PFM system, you probably at least provide a basic mobile app that does the essentials: check balances, make transfers and pay bills. Some institutions have expanded features like remote deposit capture, debit-card management and peer-to-peer payments. Those functions may seem rudimentary, but they are precisely the tasks consumers are looking to accomplish on a regular basis.

Why doesn’t everyone use your mobile app, do you know? Financial institutions cite several reasons for non-adoption — “Our older customers will never use mobile banking,” or “Our customers don’t have a smart-phone.”

Reality Check: The biggest reason mobile adoption is suppressed is down is simply because most banking apps are either hard to find, hard to use, or both.

Consider the following example.

Customer Calls from iPhone: “I was wondering if you have a mobile app?”
Call Center Employee: “Yes we do! All you have to do is, go to the app store/play store, search for our app, scroll till you find our app with our logo/colors, and download it. Then you have to go to online banking, go to settings, enable mobile banking, then go back to the app and login.”

The poor customer tries the search but runs into multiple results and can’t tell which mobile app is yours — everyone looks alike, down to the name, logo and colors. So the customer downloads the first app they see. Then they phone your call center again to complain that it’s not working. A call center rep resets the customer’s password, who tries to login again. Guess what… it still isn’t working. How long does it take before the service rep realizes the customer is using the wrong bank’s app?

Reality Check: If you can’t tell someone how to download your app in 140 characters or less, then you’re in for trouble.

Here are three more simple tips to increase engagement and drive adoption of your institution’s mobile app.

1. Improve Discovery

Focus on making your mobile banking app easier to find. If your institution shares a name with other institutions across the country i.e. (First, National, Citizens, Community, etc.) then consumers will quickly realize it’s not easy finding your app with a simple search. In this case, it’s important to provide your customers with direct links to your apps. On your website, make sure you have a page dedicated to your mobile apps. The page should include the following:

  • Features of the app
  • Installation instructions
  • Branding associated with app, including the app’s icon

You should also provide links to go directly to the download location for each device the app supports. Both Apple and Android provide desktop versions of their app stores so users can still research and browse even if they aren’t on their mobile device.

2. Eliminate Barriers to Installation

Some institutions require customers to first sign in to online banking and enable mobile banking in their settings before being able to use their app. By doing this, they are creating an extra step that is unnecessary in most mobile banking platforms. Look into your backend operations (core DP system) and consult with your provider about how to smoothly enable mobile enrollment. By allowing users to enroll straight from their phone, you are ensuring a seamless installation process that more people are likely to complete.

3. Inquire, Inform, Instruct

One of the best ways to drive adoption is simple: remind your existing customers/members about your app. The easiest way to do this to make sure that your frontline employees are promoting the service. Have tellers and in-branch service reps ask existing customers if they are currently using mobile banking. If the answer is yes, ask how they like using the app and if they had any issues or questions about it. This helps open up the discussion to make sure that the customer is actually using the app and not just accessing the traditional online banking portal from their phone.

And when your employees explain the benefits of mobile banking, make sure they aren’t using industry jargon to describe features. You want to stress the advantages of mobile tools in terms average Joe’s and Jane’s can relate to. For example, rather than saying, “Our mobile banking app is really great and it even includes remote deposit capture” you could say, “Using our app, you will be able to take a picture of your check with your phone and deposit it right into your account, saving you an extra trip to the bank!”

Whenever you have the chance, take the time and effort to walk people through the mobile banking installation process, and give them a quick tour. It also helps to provide them with an instructional handout that they can take with them to use at a later time (also post these instructions in the “Mobile” tab/section of your website).

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