It’s easy to point to mobile banking as a true game-changer and a competitive differentiator.
But what exactly does that mean? What’s the best strategy in a world that’s always changing?
“Mobile” has become this all-purpose, ubiquitous, and ultimately generic catch phrase. It now means so many things that it basically means nothing.
Sure, it represents seismic shifts in consumer behavior—this is the age of instant gratification, when the little device that’s always at hand enables every kind of on-the-spot communication and transaction.
This, in turn, has major implications for our industry (and every other industry).
A growing number of consumers now choose a bank at least in part because of the mobile services available. But, for a credit union lacking the resources of a global banking conglomerate, it’s hard to see a straight line from that cliché to a business advantage.
In fact, it’s like a bottomless pit: developing an endless flow of mobile applications and hiring developers and other staff to support changing market needs—where does it end?
In this environment, reacting to constant innovation and adoption has become the norm. Consumers decide which technologies to adopt—and which to discard, maybe just weeks after adoption—and institutions have to scramble just to keep pace. For the information technology folks, it can be exhausting.
What’s needed instead is a comprehensive and proactive strategy that helps financial institutions activate, engage, and grow their relationships with members. It means starting with a review of topline options, then drilling down to specific choices—and yes, those choices will include some potential traps.
Each credit union must decide which is most important to its own target audience. These include:
• Alternative payment options. Person-to-person (P2P) payments have been gaining traction, with companies like Venmo and Popmoney attracting more users. P2P is poised to take off in 2015.
In addition, there are alternative mobile payment options to consider, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet. This will be a pivotal year to see which (if any) of these formats take enough market share.
Will one finally gain enough traction to push the others out, and will that lead to broad-scale adoption?
• Self-service. If consumers can use their mobile devices to instantly fix problems—losing a credit card, finding an ATM, depositing a check remotely, etc.—wouldn’t that ease the support burden while enhancing engagement?
But the experience must be great, and better than the alternatives.
• Biometric authentication. New forms of authentication like eye scanning and touch ID will change how users can log into mobile devices.
Security will continue to be top of mind as these new features develop, allowing even more personalization and customization for financial institution customers.
• Cross-sell. Reaching your members where they are is more critical than ever, especially if where they are is more often in front of their devices.
Will delivering contextually relevant, location-based messages to grow your brand awareness and your relationships become not just interesting, but expected?
Mobile banking is already embedded in the popular culture, yet it’s hard to find relevant best practices when innovation means there’s always something new coming down the pike.
Constantly reacting to customer whims may be a cruel necessity in many cases, but it’s impractical in the long run. A comprehensive mobile strategy, even with some tactics that may fail, will ultimately be more beneficial than no strategy at all.