Unlock the Potential of Mobile Alerts: Five Steps

Seventy-four million adults receive financial alerts through a variety of mediums.

June 6, 2014

Mobile alerts

In this age of constant connectivity, consumers expect access to information 24/7, and many prefer that information be pushed to them through alerts.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, 74 million adults are receiving financial alerts online, on their mobile devices, and through emails and texts. Credit unions can capitalize on this trend by offering a comprehensive set of mobile alerts that give members an effective tool for personal financial management and while serving as a platform for engaging with members.

Fiserv research has shown that consumers gravitate to products and services that help them manage and control their finances more effectively, including alerts.

Historically, many financial institutions have viewed mobile alerts as a necessary cost of doing business and have kept alert offerings simple. Transitioning to an enterprise alert strategy takes time, planning, and sustained investment.

But the return can be well worth the effort as a robust set of alerting capabilities facilitates financial management for members and enables credit unions to bolster member engagement.

Opportunities for credit unions to offer alerts are broad and span multiple lines of business. To maximize investment in a comprehensive alerts strategy, best practice dictates phasing in alert types in these five stages:

Stage 1: Account-centric alerts specific to account activity, including low-balance, direct deposit, and large debit amount.

Stage 2: Event-based alerts that indicate when bills are due, person-to-person payments are requested, and other events that may prompt a follow-up action.

Stage 3: Security-related alerts that notify when accounts may be compromised, such as when there are international charges on a credit card, suspicious transactions, or passwords have been changed.

Stage 4: Member care information initiated by either the member or the credit union, such as, “Your auto lease is up for renewal. Do you want us to call you to discuss it?”

Stage 5: Actionable insights that provide financial management tips and guidance based on the member’s activity. A credit union may, for example, send a text message to the member saying, “We’ve noticed you spent less money on groceries last month. Would you like us to put that money into your savings account?”

While a phased approach will help ease members into using various alert types, efforts to encourage enrollment and use must also be executed strategically. As with any new product or service, members must have an easy and efficient way to register or enroll for alerts to get started.

This means providing a variety of enrollment channels for members and ensuring the enrollment and preference management processes are clear and easy to understand. Most importantly, the consumer should be in control at all times—including during enrollment and after—should they want to change alert preferences or opt out.

To avoid disappointing members and triggering unnecessary member care calls, credit unions should try to anticipate questions and provide information ahead of time. Once enrolled, members will expect clear, timely, and actionable alerts based on defined preferences, which they can change as they see fit.

Beyond initial enrollment, credit unions can drive alert adoption by focusing on members who are most interested in receiving alerts and have the greatest need for them. Credit unions can use information gleaned from their own research and consumer segmentation efforts, or use research conducted by others to identify and target these key segments.

This will also help ensure the credit union delivers alerting capabilities that meet members’ specific needs.

Ideally, alerting capabilities will also be designed to evolve over time, enabling the credit union to keep pace with member preferences and regulatory expectations.

Consumer demand for timely, relevant, and actionable alerts—combined with new technologies—compel credit unions to revisit their current alert strategy. Now is the time to create an enterprise alerts strategy that satisfies member expectations, makes products more interactive, boosts member engagement, and generates true value for the organization.

SHIRRA FROST is director, mobile marketing, for Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv.