To Improve Banking In Mobile Channels, Listen to Users and Embrace New Tech

These days, simply offering mobile banking is not enough. Unless it’s easy and convenient to use, consumers won’t download an app or use your mobile website. Research reveals that 84% of financial institutions rate their current mobile experience a seven or higher on a 10-point scale, many are flattering themselves.

They aren’t entirely delusional though. Executives in the banking industry also acknowledge room for improvement to address significant customer pain points. Financial institutions report that 56% of their customers encounter some degree of trouble completing routine personal banking tasks like making deposits and paying bills on mobile devices. Another 52% have issues accessing their personal financial information in real time. Considering these tasks are usually the primary purpose peopls use mobile banking tools, it’s troubling that more than half of consumers are having such basic problems. Does this really sound like an experience that scores a “7” out of “10”?

Compounding the problem, consumer expectations for experiences in mobile channels are higher than ever before, and they keep rising. Banks and credit unions with a clunky or unsatisfactory mobile experience are going to pay a heavy price. So how can leaders in the financial industry improve their mobile options to increase customer loyalty and remain competitive?

Create Experiences Based On Actual Customer Behavior

The popularity of mobile payment apps like Venmo indicates a growing consumer demand for both speed and convenience, and they don’t care who the provider may be — a financial institution, a fintech startup, a big retail brand like WalMart, a tech titan like Apple, or an internet goliath like Google. Users of apps like Venmo can transfer money in real time to whomever, whenever.

Reality Check: People will always prioritize quick, easy access to the services they need over brand loyalty. Just because someone has done business with your institution for the last 20 years doesn’t mean they won’t abandon you in a heartbeat if someone else comes along offering them a simple, fast, intuitive solution to their problem(s).

Banks and credit unions must create mobile interfaces that provide immediate, painless access to everyday tasks and information. More specifically, making payment options, comprehensive loan information, account balances and branch location information easily accessible within the mobile app’s home screen will have a significant impact.

Financial institutions that offer interfaces that are easy to use will reduce the workload on service representatives forced to respond to issues that mobile offerings should handle. That yields the kind of cost reductions that make a big difference on the bottom line.

Personalize Interactions With AI-Based Machine Learning Technology

Mobile users across the board are demanding more personalized experiences adapted to their own behaviors and preferences. This trend holds true within the banking industry as well, and emerging technologies can help you adjust to consumers’ escalating expectations for customized interactions.

For example, Comtrade recently announced a chatbot-enabled banking platform for Viber, a messaging app. This automated solution allows users to access account balances, send and transfer money, and complete additional banking transactions, all through the Viber app. The chatbot processes users’ requests instantly and can be integrated directly within a bank’s own digital platform. This illustrates a practical use of artificial intelligence that can personalize communications with customers to improve and streamline the user experience.

Additionally, banks can use machine learning tools to help anticipate customer needs and tailor messages even further. For example, AI technology can mine data and financial records to provide advice and recommend additional financial products to the right customer at the right time.

Laying The Groundwork For Digital Transformation

Many financial institutions think that all they need to do to improve their mobile experience is invest in new technology. While such investments are usually the case, it also requires an organizational commitment to a digital transformation strategy — one that’s centered around the customer experience. The two work hand in hand — technology and culture. In order to embrace digital innovation and provide the right solutions for the right audience, a financial institution needs to first make sense of millions of customer data points.

Additionally, digital transformation means constructing an architecture where both customer-facing and enterprise-user elements are flexible and aligned. While customer-facing elements are often prioritized, they can’t be successful if limited by legacy back-end processes. Modernizing the digital experience on both ends is necessary to provide a competitive mobile experience. This means replacing legacy data systems with digital solutions that store and analyze data practically to inform the mobile experience. By relying on legacy systems, banks can’t use data in ways that support AI-enhanced personalization.

While some banks may be able to invest billions of dollars in a complete digital overhaul, others will likely have to implement more gradual changes through lightweight integration. Regardless of the solution, it’s become abundantly clear that going about business as usual will not be an option for banks hoping to stay competitive as mobile offerings continue to become more advanced.

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