Enhancing the Digital Banking Customer Experience

Dec 11, 2021

According to the Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Weekly Consumer Confidence Survey, three in four Americans (76%) used their primary bank’s mobile app within the last year for everyday banking tasks like checking balances, account transfers and check deposits. These tasks take a couple of minutes at most, meaning users are not spending time within banking apps for longer than they need to. 

Switching Banks for a Better App Experience

Pre-pandemic, the in-person experience played a big part when it came to choosing or switching banking providers. But, as digital banking becomes commonplace, consumers are factoring in digital experiences more when choosing a provider. Financial institutions are now expected to digitally emulate every facet of the brick-and-mortar banking experience seamlessly and securely.

In a survey by Mobiquity, 40% of respondents agreed that they are likely to switch banks to gain access to better digital tools, and 37% agreed they are more likely to switch today than they were in the past. An easier-to-use mobile app and the ability to complete tasks like opening an account without physically visiting a bank are among the digital experiences most likely to convince customers to switch.

The Modern Banking Customer

Banking customers under the age of 35 are less influenced by the credibility and steadfast reassurance offered by traditional financial institutions. They want sophisticated mobile banking capabilities and flexible financial services that fit their daily lives. And they are willing to switch banks if their existing provider falls short of the mark.

According to a recent Accenture study, 18% of U.S. millennials have changed their primary bank within the past 12 months, nearly double the average of other consumer groups. This is a clear-cut signal that all financial services providers must now sit up and pay attention to changing consumer demands.

And the companies setting this gold standard of mobile banking? Neobanks. Apps like Chime in the US, WeBank in China, and N26 in Europe are booming. Their rapid growth is mainly due to their convenience and simplicity, with users able to log on and access all the necessary banking features within the app. This convenience is what traditional banks are now trying to match. The scale of growth among digital banks demonstrates that access to services via mobile is instrumental to the ongoing success of financial service companies.

So, what can banks do to compete with these big players and offer a frictionless app experience?

Improve the Onboarding Experience

Persuading a potential customer to download your app is a feat in itself. If you manage to get that far, it’s important there are no roadblocks from when the user installs the app to when they have access to all of its features.

For a financial institution, making the initial onboarding process as painless as possible without compromising on security will always be a challenge.

That’s why it’s vital to identify key areas of friction during the process and automate app engagement at each of these touchpoints to deliver a customer-first experience and maximize the signup rate. These are critical moments in the user journey that require compelling, personalized communication and could be the deciding factor for the user completing the signup process and becoming a loyal customer.

For example, a new customer begins the in-app registration by completing their personal details but abandons the app at step three when asked to verify their identity. Using automation, you can trigger a hyper-relevant push notification to this user after the moment of abandonment, reassuring them that the identity verification only takes a couple of minutes. Furthermore, you can test varying messaging to gain insights into why users might abandon at this point. For example, there might be a higher conversion rate when your message explains why the ID process is required. Hence, you might include this information within this step to lower the abandonment rate.

Establishing Trust From the Outset

Demonstrating why users can trust your brand during onboarding is vital for any business but even more so for the fintech industry. When asking for personal information, take a transparent approach by explaining why it is necessary and how the data will be used. This will increase retention rates by reducing the number of users churning during your app’s onboarding.

Personalize the Mobile Banking Experience

We know today’s consumer expects a tailored experience from every brand encounter. They demand relevant offerings and personalized content at the precise time they need it. But to accurately deliver experiences catered to the individual, you need to know enough about your customers, including how they are engaging with your app.

Analyzing the user data gathered during onboarding and beyond will enable you to scale personalized experiences based on each user’s varying needs and behaviors. This is where banks have a huge opportunity to enhance engagement and maximize adoption of their products and services.

Replicate the In-Person Experience

The emergence of digital banks and the customer-centric approach to their digital platforms has raised the bar when it comes to replicating the in-person banking experience. The onus is less on the customer wading through irrelevant information to find what they want and more on the bank’s responsiveness to what it can do for the user.

To stay ahead, banks must strive to digitally replicate the personal relationships with bankers that consumers value and trust. They must humanize the mobile banking experience and emulate the one-to-one relationship a customer has with their banker, who understands you, knows what you need when you need it, and how you prefer receiving it.

Thanks to continued innovation to provide more convenient and personalized banking experiences, the following product features are starting to emerge in banking apps:

  • Quick and seamless onboarding driven by touchless technologies such as face scanning and document recognition
  • Real-time spend notifications as transactions occur
  • Customized pricing, rewards, and financial recommendations
  • Personalized insights on how users can change their spending patterns and save more
  • Segmentation of finances that help customers set and achieve goals
  • Advanced access and security to help prevent lockouts and aid in easy recovery via biometric login features

Provide Reassurance With Important Alerts

Mobile app fraud transactions have increased by over 600% since 2015. Account takeovers make up 89% of digital fraud losses through stolen credentials, corrupted apps, weak authentication systems, and other sophisticated methods. So, it’s easy to understand why security is the most in-demand mobile banking feature among US users. And for consumers who steer clear of mobile banking, the primary reason is a concern about security.

Sending security and fraud alerts helps keep users informed of suspicious activity occurring across their accounts. If a user understands your app will immediately notify them if their account is at risk, they are more likely to rely on your app as a source of valuable information. As a result, users will see value in keeping your app installed and will allow push notifications with the peace of mind that their account is protected.

Starling Bank prompts users with push notifications and in-app messages to confirm if they were responsible for irregular or unusual transactions. This security feature fosters trust in the brand and reassures customers that suspicious activity is closely monitored and taken seriously.

Similarly, Revolut takes several steps to guard against fraud. They deliver a push notification to the user when an unusual transaction takes place, along with in-app messages notifying the user that their card is temporarily frozen to protect against further fraudulent activity and the opportunity to notify Revolut if they were responsible for the transaction.

Location-Based Targeting

While mobile is the way forward for day-to-day banking, many consumers still crave in-branch assistance, especially when making major financial decisions. Location-based engagement can enhance the end-to-end banking experience by enabling providers to deliver tailored content and offers based on users’ entry, exit, or proximity to a branch.

For example, inform nearby customers who have started a loan application online that your advisors are free to help them. The customer entering the branch could receive a personalized welcome notification and queue number to eliminate waiting in line. When the customer leaves the branch and fires up the app, they are presented with a survey about their recent in-branch experience. Engaging with app users in this highly contextual manner takes banking to the next level by streamlining the offline-online customer journey.

Revolut has launched a travel insurance feature powered by geolocation technology to detect where people are in the world and provide coverage when they need it. The geolocation technology means customers only pay for the days away from their home country. And customers can customize the policy to suit their needs by including friends and family, adding cover for winter sports, and more.

Westpac bank reminds customers with a localized push notification to update their travel information when they enter an airport. Users are asked where they are going and for how long so they can avoid roaming costs and receive helpful information such as currency information, travel insurance tips, and overseas ATMs.

Final Thoughts

Modern technology and digital services have created a new generation of banking customers where easy is the new loyal. The entire banking experience needs to be customer-centric and seamless while still delivering on security.

To engage and retain the modern consumer, banks need to leverage their user data to understand their customers better and deliver experiences that are meaningful, relevant, and frictionless. As digital capabilities increasingly become table stakes for the industry, banks can differentiate themselves by finding innovative ways to serve customer needs.

Read how MessageGears helps financial institutions like Keypoint Credit Union increase their app feature engagement and retention in this case study.

About the Author
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Sarah Kelly

Sarah is a passionate marketing professional devoted to crafting thought-provoking content that fuels business growth and success. With over a decade of experience in the ever-evolving marketing world, she brings a strategic and data-driven mindset to her role as SEO.