One thing is for certain: the way people interact with one another and the companies they do business with has drastically changed – from texting and social media to shopping. There is a major migration from in-person to remote transactions – both Online and mobile. Look no further than Cyber Monday for proof.
The Monday after Black Friday was coined “Cyber Monday” in 2005 as e-commerce retailers noted a substantial jump in Online shopping as people returned to work after the Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday has always been the busiest shopping day of the year for retailers, but that seems to be slowing as sales dropped this year 1.8 percent to $11.2bln. Online sales contributed to Black Friday’s overall sales much more this year too, increasing 20.7 percent to more than $1bln. For the first time ever, Cyber Monday sales toped $1.46bln.
What does this tell us? Not surprisingly, a growing number of people prefer skipping crowded mall parking lots and checkout lines. Instead they find what they want, when they want via the Internet. Similarly, ABA Banking data from 2012 shows that the Online channel continues to be the preferred banking channel and mobile preference has doubled year over year. Banks need to keep up by continuing to invest in new technologies to provide the best possible remote services to their customers. In return, improving the Online experience will generate more revenue and profitability for the victors – according to Intuit, “mobile and Online banking users are 61 percent more profitable than offline customers.”
Interestingly, Intuit’s study also “found that people who banked Online – those signing in from a desktop computer – logged in roughly 10 times a month. Mobile banking users increased the number to approximately 19 times a month, jumping to 31 times per month when logins from tablets are added to the mix.” This shows that your customers will stay in contact more often if they have the right tools to do so, increasing personal insight into their own financial standing.
“An informed customer is a happy customer,” says Ido Ophir, head of products at Personetics. “Proactively providing information can take an ordinary interaction and create that ‘WOW!’ experience for your customers. This will help drive customer loyalty, which in turn will improve the bank’s bottom line. We kn
ow that most individuals on average have eight or more financial products, but less than two or three products with one individual institution. Providing great CX and insight across all accounts can motivate customers to consolidate accounts with their favorite firms.”
That leads us to New Year’s resolutions – everyone makes them and some keep them longer than others. Why not help your banking customers with theirs? Many people challenge themselves to improve their personal and family finances in the coming year. With the right tools, banks can help their customers better meet their financial goals. Here are a few key areas to consider:
Pre-Purchase Virtual Assistance – Many people look at their spending habits at the end of the week or month – after the money has gone out. Imagine giving your customers insight into their financial standing at the point of sale – allowing them to ask their mobile bank things like: “how much did I spend on clothes this month?” prior to making a purchase. This gives people a new level of insight and control over their spending.
Suggestive Budgeting Assistance – as the year progresses, some people find less time to sit down and manage budgets, however most pay their bills Online or from a tablet or mobile device. Banks can use predictive assistance to offer customers suggestive budgeting help, like determining if a certain utility bill is trending abnormally higher than normal, as they pay each bill. Every bill pay is an opportunity to provide personalized, predictive budgeting help, and this kind of on-the-go financial assistance is suitable for the larger majority of customers, even ones who aren’t detailed planners themselves.
Easy Access to All Accounts – Saving can be challenging for customers, especially if they have to scan transactions across multiple accounts. Most banks are working to make it simpler for customers to view all their accounts in a single environment and predictive virtual assistance provides the next step in integrated functionality – allowing customers to search transactional and spending trends across their entire banking relationship. For example, a customer can ask “how much was my phone bill last month?” and the virtual assistant will combine cell and landline charges from checking and credit accounts before returning a accurate number to the customer.
Incremental Review of Transactions – Prudent financial management can be onerous and time consuming. The majority of banking customers do not have the time to allocate to an exhaustive monthly review of all their transactions, but most mobile users can scan recent transactions when they have a spare moment here or there – like waiting for a table at a restaurant or for a movie at a theater. Predictive assistance makes reviewing transactions much simpler, proactively providing hints like maps or related charges, or even merchant contact information, which speeds the review process and nearly eliminates the dreaded customer service call to the bank for further clarification. More frequent, personalized mobile interactions lead to a better overall banking experiences and improved brand loyalty.
Predictive virtual assistant solutions, like Digital Banker, are perfectly suited to improve the usability of Online and mobile applications. Simply put, it is about providing intuitive, satisfying interactions and exceeding customer expectation. The Personetics Digital Banker experience walks customers through a personalized process leveraging powerful analytics to respond to customer needs, resolve issues and answer questions in the most efficient manner.
How do your Online and mobile channels compare to other banks? Paying for college or buying a home are big ticket items. Don’t you want to be the bank to help your customers accomplish those goals? Wouldn’t it be great if you were just a “click” away from providing that product or service when they are ready for it? Predictive virtual assistant solutions could be the answer.