Differentiate your services to disrupt online banking

How to differentiate your online banking and mobile banking app with the latest features and tools to deliver exceptional customer personalization 

 Virtually all bank and financial services providers realize their customers want online and mobile banking services, and this is why institutions of all sizes offer them. Problem solved, or, is it just the tip of the iceberg? Digital banking has become a highly competitive space where simply offering your standard banking services online and on mobile is not enough to hold a competitive advantage. 

We are presently standing in a digital banking storm of tech-savvy customers familiar with the latest mobile banking app features and services thrown in with online banking agnostics—and everyone in between—sharing the same space. Differentiation is fast becoming vital to deliver outstanding customer service across all segments and stand out as a market leader. Add COVID-19 to the mix and we are now seeing significant increases in demand for outstanding online banking services and customer excellence. 

The key question is, how to stand out from the crowd and deliver an excellent customer experience in this highly competitive and turbulent market? This should be a key question that needs to be quickly addressed at the highest level. 

Focus on customer excellence as your main differentiator 

Since banking in-person is less likely to rebound in the wake of COVID-19, online banking customer experience is going to be a key area for differentiation. Financial providers who lead the way with the latest features and integrations will gain that competitive advantage and stand out from the huge number of online banking apps currently available. At the core of the digital banking experience is a simple and customer-centric online banking service. This must be the central priority for all financial institutions serious about disrupting online banking services. 

The benefits of an outstanding online customer experience are worth their weight in gold. According to recent research, customers who are “highly satisfied” with their digital experience are two-and-a-half times more likely to open new accounts with their current financial provider compared to customers who are simply “satisfied.” The same customers are less price-sensitive and more likely to generate positive word-of-mouth as well. This sets the bar very high; a merely satisfied customer is no longer the benchmark and will not do for achieving customer excellence. What this means is that online banking providers have to set their sights on complete customer satisfaction if they want to aim for customer excellence. 

A key area that will likely be accelerated by the impact of the pandemic is a comprehensive overhaul and renewal of high-impact digital journeys in online and mobile banking. Like app providers in other industries, financial providers are re-examining their customer journeys. They’re reevaluating every aspect of their user experience, from onboarding right through to loan origination and banking alerts in real-time to deliver a genuinely outstanding digital customer experience. 

In-line with this, financial providers are beginning to offer a more streamlined and simplified user experience through their mobile banking apps. This reduces barriers to access for customers forced to move to online banking as well as for the online banking savvy customers who expect more from their financial provider. A noteworthy example is Lunar Bank which launched a simplified stock trading service early in the pandemic that targeted beginner traders with a stripped-down and easy-to-use stock trading platform.  

Move away from transactional online banking for complete customer engagement 

Banking is moving towards a purely online environment. In-line with this, financial providers need to migrate from purely transactional mobile banking apps (i.e. checking balances, initiating payments, and making transfers) to ones that enable deeper and more comprehensive customer engagement. But for this to happen, they have to develop digital marketing and personalization strategies equivalent to the likes of Google, Amazon, and Apple. 

A key change the pandemic is forcing onto businesses and consumers is the infusion of data-enabled services into ever more aspects of our lives. Financial institutions can utilize this by implementing sophisticated data analysis coupled with real-time campaign management to help translate customer data into actionable insights. The result is to deliver targeted, personalized customer recommendations at exactly the right time and place for maximum impact. 

Define your online banking with expertly crafted digital customer experiences 

We all understand the importance of offering online banking services, but what many fail to realize is that customers actually expect it. Simply offering a mobile banking app no longer impresses users; you are simply providing exactly what every other bank is. This simply confirms you’re keeping up with industry trends, but not leading them. 

So how can a financial provider lead digital disruption with a truly outstanding online banking experience? The answer lies in personal relationships or—rather—personalized relationships. 

An expertly-crafted online banking app and web service that delivers a targeted, personalized, and highly pleasing experience to users is now what distinguishes an online banking provider from the competition. To achieve this level of customer delivery requires a shift in mindset. Once a customer’s basic banking needs have been met (checking balances, transferring funds, initiating payments, etc.), the door opens to address their higher needs. This is where you have the opportunity to really excel and offer something unique and distinct. 

Adopt next-generation technologies and lead the disruption 

Dealing with an accelerated pace of change is challenging, and the pace of competition and innovation in online banking is set to accelerate too. Financial institutions need to go to great lengths to keep up with the rapid pace of change and cope with the uncertainties they encounter along the way. 

One way to disrupt and move to the forefront of digital banking is to shift away from legacy technologies and adopt agile, scalable digital applications, such as straight-through processing (STP), cloud platforms, machine learning systems, and intelligent personalized chatbots. These modern technologies offer greater scalability and dramatically reduce the costs of processing and storing data. The benefit of using newer, more agile systems is the ability to better handle surges in incoming queries, quickly add new features to your mobile banking app, and rapidly scale new services. 

Continuous delivery is also a key factor in keeping up with—and leading—rapid disruption. This is when a financial provider continuously delivers new enhancements and features to customers via their mobile banking app. Implementing new services and features such as these is critical to gaining a competitive advantage and leading disruption. Plus, more agile services such as these are well-equipped to reduce time to market for new services and help deliver new digital banking solutions to customers too. 

How to set your online banking service apart and deliver customer excellence 

Differentiating your online banking service to stand out from the competition begins with moving away from what you think your customers want and over to realizing what they really need. The bar has been set high; fully functioning mobile banking apps that are rapid, seamless, and have an attractive user experience have become expected. 

Here are six pointers to get you thinking about how to set your service apart from the clamor and truly enhance your customer experience: 

Your mobile banking app is not a clone of your desktop banking service: apps fundamentally function differently from websites. If your customer wanted to use your desktop site on mobile, they would open a web browser. When a customer downloads your app, you have an opportunity to take advantage of their mobile device’s abilities and features. Offer your customers more through your mobile banking app to deliver enhanced engagement and a highly satisfying experience. 

Smartphones are not tablets: people use smartphones and tablets differently and apps have to be different too. When a customer accesses their mobile banking app on their smartphone, they are probably on the go and need a rapid service with easy navigation and quick functionality. On a tablet, users are more likely sitting down at a table or on the sofa. They are more relaxed and have time to focus and explore more complex issues. Use this to your advantage by offering a tablet app that includes deeper insights into spending habits and personalized suggestions. 

iOS is not Android: each operating system has its own features and advantages. Making a generic app that straddles both systems lessens the likelihood of delivering customer excellence to either user group. Always design your mobile banking app to function on one or the other OS and take advantage of their specific capabilities. 

iPhones are not all smartphones: while there are two main mobile operating systems, there are countless Android smartphones and they vary greatly in their features and computing power. The latest Samsung Galaxy will enable you to deliver highly sought-after features that other smartphones can’t even handle. Whereas users who encounter bugs, crashes, and other barriers when trying to access your latest features will become frustrated and disengaged. Make sure you optimize your mobile banking app for specific smartphones. 

Include alerts to notify customers of changes and events in real-time: alongside a mobile banking app that provides everyday banking tasks, why not add personalized follow-up notifications and alerts tied to customers’ specific financial needs and goals? Alerts can include when a customer reaches a financial milestone, an update to a proposal, or a change to their investment portfolio. 

Infrastructure automation is vital for customer excellence. Implementing systems, including automated payments processing (APP) and STP, should be top of your digital to-do list. Automating your processes not only saves time and lowers costs, but also improves the customer experience. When a user initiates a payment, it’s instantly authorized and processed in a quick and seamless process. Making sure your back-office functions are up-to-date is arguably the first step in building your foundation for differentiation and customer excellence. 

Act now to stand out as a unique online banking player 

Make change happen and stand out as a unique player, rather than let change happen around you and wait to see how the land lies first. There are many opportunities for online banking to offer a unique service that delivers the kind of customer excellence that attracts new customers and strengthens your brand loyalty for years to come. 

One such way is to adopt intelligent, automated solutions that can guide customers through tasks such as account setup and creating portfolios. Robo-Advisor is our self-guided service that can help your investment customers set up and manage their portfolios. Its simple and intuitive user interface prompts customers to create their risk profiles before selecting portfolios to match. Customers can compare simulated portfolios before making their final decision. Plus, Robo-Advisor helps users track their investments online.