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Digital Banking Customer Experiences: The Omni-Engagement Guide

The complete customer engagement guide to design high performing digital banking experiences that span across a customer's lifecycle. Understand how MoEngage helps to create the Netflix of banking.

  • Business Insider Study reports that 89% of consumers, including 97% of millennials, use mobile banking.

  • Learn how banks have embraced omnichannel customer engagement to gain the trust of Millennials and Gen-Z

  • Understand consumer engagement challenges in mobile banking and ways to overcome them

What is Digital Banking?

Digital banking is essentially the traditional banking experience going online. Over the past few years, banks all over the world have gradually transitioned simple activities such as opening and operating a savings account to complex financial services such as managing investments to the internet.

Physical branches do exist but customers are increasingly encouraged to carry out banking transactions digitally, through their bank’s website or mobile app.

How has the pandemic impacted digital banking

Mobile or digital banking is not just a whim. Post the onset of the pandemic in 2020, downloads of mobile banking apps globally grew by 20% in Q2 over Q1. The daily active users (DAU) also increased by close to 6% for banking apps in the same period.

According to The Financial Brand, 35% of customers adopted online banking, with 30% specifically increasing their use of mobile banking since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. The absolute numbers for mobile banking are even more revealing.

Business Insider Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study reports that 89% of consumers, including 97% of millennials, use mobile banking.

How are banks engaging customers digitally?

Banks are trying to keep pace by focusing on creating digital platforms through which customers can manage their entire personal finance ecosystem - including investment management, utility bill payment, wire transfers, credit, and loans, etc. They’re also simplifying financial processes through seamless onboarding experiences, easier transactions such as remittances, pushing contactless payments, sending out targeted communications, etc. Additionally, we have a plethora of fintech companies offering P2P lending, digital wallets, free trading apps, etc.

However, merely going online or building an app for your customers is not enough. Nor is the simple stacking up of channels such as email, social media, app, website one on top of the other.

You need to position your online banking app as the hub around which you build an omnichannel consumer engagement strategy.

Why adopt an Omni/multi-channel approach to customer engagement?

Why is an omnichannel marketing strategy essential? Because your customers are not restricting their use of online banking to a single channel. According to research from Google, consumers typically switch between three to four screens before completing a transaction. An omnichannel strategy enables you to use all available marketing channels to achieve an integrated and seamless customer experience. The customer, on the other hand, is able to move from your app to website to push notifications to social media, experiencing the same branding and messaging throughout in a synchronized way.

For an example of better integration of online and offline banking, look at Singapore’s DBS. The bank has moved eleven processes online to reduce the need for manual intervention. They have been running webinars during the pandemic to train staff on how to use digital tools. They are also building online services for SMEs to apply for short-term loans.

What is the Netflix of banking experience?

Simply put, imagine creating the Netflix experience in banking - ease of subscription and access, seamless continuity across devices and locations, greater choice for customers, and data-driven recommendations. The rewards for consistent customer experience integration in online banking are huge - companies that use omnichannel strategies retain 89% of their customers on average as compared to 33% for those with weak omnichannel engagement, according to a study by Invesp.

How can banks and financial services organizations master omnichannel customer engagement? The first step is to start looking at your app and website as a lifestyle offering rather than just a utility. This approach brings customer experience under the lens. It gets you thinking about how to make customers stay and engage longer with your app the next time they log in for a transaction. Could you push an exciting offer while they’re buying coffee at Starbucks? Or shopping at a Max retail outlet?

Rakbank of UAE is an excellent example of extending touchpoints with customers beyond traditional banking transactions. Three out of the bank’s six apps are related to food delivery, football and school fee payment. Through these apps, the bank is accessible to customers at various points in their lifecycle.

How can financial services (BFSI) master omnichannel customer engagement

Once you have made the mindset change to position your brand as a lifestyle one, follow these steps to deliver omnichannel engagement to your customers -

  1. Analyze - Synthesize all your customer data to build a central, 360° view that takes into account their app/online behaviour as well as their demographic characteristics. Your bank probably already has a robust data architecture. How do you pull out the right data to design the relevant services for your customers when they most need them?

  2. Segment - Group your customers based on similar behaviour or attributes or even user events, for example, “users who completed three transactions in the last five days”. Segmentation on the basis of comprehensive customer data also helps you identify which customers are better positioned to ride out the pandemic and reach more actively to those who are likely to need more support. Commercial Bank of Dubai aims to take segmentation to the next level by making ‘marketing to one’ the target instead of the current ‘marketing to mass’.

  3. Optimize - Use AI to create campaigns that maximize conversion. AI also helps you personalize experiences for every user who lands on your website or app. Personalization builds trust in your brand as your customers know you’re looking out for them. Mashreq bank of UAE has seen a 2x increase in click-through rates merely by including the customer’s name at the beginning of a notification.

  4. Engage - Nobody wants to receive repeated notifications for services they’ve already signed up for or don’t have use for. Send out the right communication at the right time to keep customers engaged. By using predictive analytics tagging user location and past patterns in the gold purchase, Rakbank designed and delivered communication that targeted the right audience at the right time. This robust approach gave them a 10x growth in conversions for their gold accounts.

How to gain the trust of the Millennials and Gen-Z

A successful omnichannel experience is one that earns the customer’s trust. In an age riddled with fears of cybersecurity breaches, trust is what will drive the quality of consumer engagement, irrespective of the kind of online banking strategy you come up with.

A dream state would be to emulate American Express, which has the world’s most successful credit card referral program, with over 10% of new customers coming in as referrals. To get there, especially for fintech with Millennial and Gen Z customers, you need to:

  • Simplify jargon and financial terms for consumers. Catch their attention as they skim through your website or app, at the same time helping them make informed decisions.

  • Be transparent and clear in your communication with your consumers.

  • Make use of your customers’ social capital by getting them to talk about the products and services that they use.

Consumer engagement challenges in mobile banking

Banks face some inherent challenges when it comes to making the changes required to win and engage customers with mobile banking trends in this age of digital finance. Here are the most pressing obstacles you are likely to find on this journey:

  1. Your mobile customer journey is not connected with other channels or you roll out changes in a piecemeal way. This makes it difficult for customers to connect the dots between various digital channels. The solution is, to begin with, a complete cross-channel approach to user engagement, integrate customers’ behavioural, demographic, and geographical data across channels, and create solutions that matter and can be delivered in a seamless way. Check out omnichannel customer journeys and how to map them in your campaign.

  2. Your mobile engagement efforts are repetitive or irrelevant, which is quite frustrating for customers. The key is to segment your customers intelligently and deliver personalized content through smart campaigns.

  3. You are not quick enough to gain and sustain customer attention on your mobile banking app. Make sure that you showcase services related to investment and money-saving that are most likely to excite customers as visibly as possible.

  4. You haven’t thought beyond old-school customer service platforms such as call centres, which cannot solve customers’ problems at their convenience. Instead, focus on putting the right information in your customers’ hands, invest in Live chat and preempt customer queries. Remember, close to 48% of millennials prefer do-it-yourself solutions. If you are looking for numbers to be convinced of, consider Wells Fargo, which witnessed a double-digit hike in conversions and improved customer satisfaction rates after implementing Live chat.

Using automation and AI to enhance mobile banking experiences for consumers

Personalization is the way to go to win the customer engagement game in digital banking. And automation is what will help you get there. Manual processes have a large margin of error, tend to leave out data, and are simply too time-consuming when customer attention spans are constantly shrinking.

Here are three ways in which you can make AI work for you -

  • Personalize your customer interactions at scale. AI can curate and generate content that is tailor-made for each customer and get it delivered at the right moment.

  • Raise the customer lifetime value. According to a PWC Digital Banking Survey, customers are statistically just as likely to open their next account with a new bank as stay with yours. Get AI to work relentlessly for you to earn long-term customer trust by eliminating guesswork and never letting go of an opportunity to engage.

  • Make smarter marketing predictions. AI can help you perform fast and insightful segmentation and use this to accurately predict consumer expectations so that you can engage various personas effectively.

A recent BCG survey of global executives reports that 90% of marketers are now using AI to optimize the customer journey and deliver the most rewarding experience.

As we’ve seen earlier, personalization has helped banks multiply business results in no time. For other financial services, take the case of Kredivo, Indonesia’s fastest-growing digital payment channel for e-commerce in Indonesia. Using MoEngage’s AI-driven solution to engage and convert new users, the brand achieved a 20% uplift in push notifications delivery and a 64% conversion rate for triggered emails.

Another example of effective use of AI to drive better customer engagement is Mashreq bank, which saw a 2x increase in customers onboarded, 37% reduction in app uninstalls and 18-28% increase in cross-selling.

Successful campaigns also use AI to segment by mapping the consumer life cycle. For example, an insurance plan that offers life cover, as well as tax benefits, would be the right fit for a middle-aged customer. A young adult, on the other hand, may get more excited by the low-interest rates on an automobile or college education loan. Communicating the appropriate plans to customers builds trust, drives adoption and improves retention.

Creating perfect customer-centric experiences

All your digitization, omnichannel engagement and AI-enabled processes should be driven towards efficiently acquiring and retaining customers. This means you need to:

1. Onboard your app users with minimal drop-offs

Track and treat these different kinds of users differently:

  • Users who installed the app but did not initiate sign-up - To this group, promote the benefits of using the bank’s app through push notifications, which can be triggered as early as thirty minutes from sign-up. Your goal should be to get these users to complete the sign-up process.

  • Users who left the sign-up process midway - Remind this group to sign up and avail the benefits offered by the app through push notifications. Your goal, again, should be to get these users to complete sign-up.

  • Successful applicants who turned into customers - Encourage these users to explore the products which are on offer on the app. Continue promoting the benefits of using the app through various channels such as push notifications, email and SMS. Your goal with these customers should be to get them to open the app and explore various categories.

2, Drive product discovery across categories within the first fourteen days

The first fourteen days of the user journey on your app are critical. Get them to explore all categories such as loans, e-wallets, cash transfers, deposits etc during this time. Use smart trigger campaigns, especially for users who haven’t explored any category even two days after signing up for the app. When users take steps such as adding a beneficiary to a transaction, using the deposit calculator, viewing e-wallet statements, you’ll know that your campaigns have been successful. Driving product discovery in the first fourteen days will set the stage for higher conversion and retention in the future.

3. Generate behaviour-based engagement lifecycle campaigns

Segment your users based on the categories that they have engaged with or used on your app. Use this data to generate upsell opportunities among existing customers. Through smart trigger campaigns across channels such as SMS, push and in-app notifications, you can drive higher numbers of bill payments, loan registrations, fund transfers, credit/debit card applications. You can also push geo-location-based offers to drive higher usage.

4. Reactivate your lost and dormant customers

Identify why customers no longer use the app or have uninstalled it and win them back. Some of the

ways in which you can reactivate dormant customers include:

  • Sending bill payment alerts based on previous auto-pay behaviour, especially to users who haven’t opened the app in the past thirty days.

  • Generating offer based alerts through push, email and in-app channels to users who have successfully converted in one of the categories in the past.

  • Pushing alerts based on geo-tagging, again, among users who have converted in one of the categories.

5. Some of the ways in which you can win back lost users include -

  • Asking for feedback. You should ideally do this within a day of the app being uninstalled, through channels such as SMS and email.

  • Sending service-based alerts around three days after the app has been uninstalled. For example, sending an alert about the ease of tracking mutual fund investments on the app.

  • Sending comeback offer alerts around five days after the app has been uninstalled. For example, offers for exclusive interest rates.

How can MoEngage help banks and fintech brands?

MoEngage is instrumental in solving the tough challenges banks, financial services, insurance and fintech brands face every day.

The solution lies in MoEngage’s powerful ability to create orchestrated campaigns across multiple digital touchpoints such as emails, SMS messages, push notifications, and social media. MoEngage strives to make customer obsession a core quality for the financial institutions we work with. We analyze, segment, engage, and optimize campaigns that delight end-users and improve the performance of our banking customers’ marketing strategies.

It is this razor focus on customer obsession that has made us work closely with some of the biggest banking brands internationally, including Ally bank in the United States, Mashreq in the Middle East, CIMB in Southeast Asia, and Airtel Payments Bank in India. Here are some ways in which we enable our banking customers:

1. Create a 360˚ view of your customer

We help you get a single view of the customer (geographical, demographical, behavioural data). By bringing together the best of automation and analytics on one platform, we help marketers design and monitor customer engagement campaigns. Our state of the art machine learning algorithms enables you to make the leap from just a performing campaign to a high performing one. AI-enabled algorithms reduce the time taken to make decisions by automating the right content at the right time on the right channel for every banking customer.

2. Segment and Create User Personas

Design High-Performance Campaigns: Segmentation is looking at your user data and grouping users who exhibit similar behaviour or share similar attributes. Some examples of segmentation are ‘users who browsed for Mutual Fund Investments on the site/ app’, ‘users who completed more than five transactions in seven days, ‘Users who browsed Mutual Fund Investments and ended up buying them’’. Segmentation could also include user attributes such as the model of cell phone used, place of residence etc. With MoEngage you can create easy segments of users in two main ways:

  • RFM Analysis (Recency, Frequency, Monetary): Create a chart of your users based on their likelihood to make a purchase, overall frequency and the monetary value of purchases. The RFM chart gives you a quick overview of all users right from Dormant to Champion and helps you create appropriate marketing campaigns.

  • Advanced Customized Segmentation: Segment your users based on user events (for example, completed a fund transfer in the last 7 days) and derived user attributes (for example, located in Singapore). Such custom segments help you design high performing marketing campaigns with ease.

3. Orchestrate Personalised Omni Channel Journeys Across The Customer’s Life Cycle

Banks and fintech brands acquire users through multiple channels and mediums. There is an obvious challenge to onboard these users and get them to explore different product offerings. With MoEngage, it becomes easy to onboard new customers, engage, retain and also seek referrals from existing customers. With MoEngage Flows, banks and fintech brands are able to design marketing automation flows that are easy to create, visualise and deploy across channels. From onboarding new prospects to earning referrals from existing customers, Flows takes care of all customer touchpoints.

4. Send emails that land in ‘Primary’ Inbox and not ‘Spam’:

Emails are still an effective communication channel if done right.

However, they might not be as effective as a standalone marketing channel as being used in conjunction with channels such as SMS, Push Notifications and web personalisation. Sending emails to your banking customers doesn’t assure you of ready conversions or high-performing marketing campaigns.

Here’s how email marketing can be revamped with an intelligent customer engagement tool

By using an intelligent customer engagement tool such as MoEngage email marketing can be revamped through:

1. Personalised content: With MoEngage you can customise the placement of products/features in the email based on the customer’s likes and dislikes. Placing relevant content leads to higher conversion rates. 2. Deliver right to the ‘primary’ inbox rather than ‘spam’: As marketers, we’ve all seen our well-crafted emails land up in spam, never to be viewed by customers. With MoEngage we assure you of over 95% inbox placement rates. 3. End-to-end assistance with delivery optimisation: Our special drag-and-drop Email Builder tool lets you insert gifs and other interactive elements. We don’t just help you with creating an email marketing campaign but also help you analyse it.

Key takeaways for marketers in the banking and financial services space

  1. Digital banking, especially on mobile, is here to stay. Customers across all age groups have warmed to carrying out their financial transactions on the internet.

  2. Merely building an app does not make you a successful digital player. You need to integrate your various online and offline customer touchpoints to provide a seamless, omnichannel experience to engage and retain your users.

  3. Customers are looking for the Netflix experience in banking. Giving them quick access, more data-driven recommendations, continuity across devices and easy navigation should be focused on.

  4. Automation and AI are keys to master your personalization game. This is required to build and sustain the trust of customers and keep them engaged with your brand.

Note: Content is credited to Aditya, content marketing manager at MoEngage. With data-driven storytelling, he designs content campaigns that help both high-growth startups and enterprises. He opines on the latest trends in mobile marketing, growth strategy, and omnichannel engagement.


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