Remember when online banking was cutting edge in retail banking? Soon came mobile banking technology. Now, we are watching the rise of mobile payments, and a dizzying array of start-ups like Square and LevelUp, as well as technology heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, and Verizon scrambling to capitalize on the alternative payment market’s projected value of $127 billion by 2015.
But let’s rewind. Online banking has surpassed a 50% penetration rate among United States banking customers, but mobile banking has only been adopted by about 24% of consumers who use the internet. These basic services, and the usage of additional features such as bill pay, are top contributors to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and top-of-wallet usage of a financial institution.
To increase customer usage of these tools and reduce operating and service costs in the process, banks and credit unions have invested in everything from sweepstakes and instant sign-up incentives to television campaigns. While these things work, one of the most effective strategies I’ve seen is to simplify the usability of these tools, and promote them in a way that removes obstacles to enrollment.
Here’s a process for upping the convenience factor of one of your most convenient products:
1. Do an inventory of the steps a customer must go through to sign up for mobile banking (or any of your bank or credit union’s tools, for that matter). Are there requirements, form fields, keystrokes or clicks that might be unnecessary? Include members from every team, including the vendors or service providers, to creatively find ways to eliminate extra steps. While you do this, keep in mind the perspective of your customer. For example, is the sign-up process simple, or does it have to include an FAQ? If the information isn’t readily apparent through the visual design of the page, customers will close the browser, adding “Sign up for mobile banking” to the mental to-do list –where it could languish forever.
2. Orchestrate a campaign that eliminates obstacles to enrollment and gets the technology into the hands of your customers. Here are some great examples I’ve seen:
o To promote Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), Numerica Credit Union took the mystery out of the service by giving walk-in customers a $5.00 check and helping them scan it into their bank account. The beauty of this strategy is not the incentive, but rather that they eliminated the mental hurdle of learning to use the service.
o To introduce new customers to mobile banking features immediately upon account-opening, USAA is testing “blank check capture” for new customers to move their money from their old bank into their new USAA account using their smartphone’s camera.
o USAA is also pioneering voice-recognition software called Nina. Nina can be activated with the words, “My voice is my password,” and frees customers from typing in passwords and commands. Watch a demo.
While the above campaigns promoted advanced features, the same principle holds true for basic services as well. Whether you shave a few minutes off the sign-up process, or use creative advertising or demo events to get the technology directly into your customers’ hands, eliminating inconveniences wherever possible can affect penetration of your financial products in very positive ways.