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Taking mobility beyond transactions

Posted by Venkatramana Gosavi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:19 AM

As the banking sector evolves towards a 'mobile first' end state, banks need to take a more holistic view of the possibilities of mobile banking. The focus needs to be as much on customer experience and engagement as on converting that into wallet share and profitability.

In a 'mobile first' paradigm, banks have to focus their strategies on mobilizing the entire customer lifecycle rather than on merely enabling transactions. Take account origination for instance. Even as banks endeavor to bring this feature up to scratch and scale in the online universe, customers' expectations have already skipped ahead to mobile devices, which it is estimated will account for up to 12 million checking accounts by 2020. As more and more customers evaluate banks on the basis of mobile capabilities, a simple and streamlined account opening experience that leverages the native capabilities of mobile devices could indeed be the acquisition lever that banks need.

If mobility has the potential to create a convenient and new customer acquisition gateway for banks, they need to follow it through by also mobilizing their sales processes. Mobile apps that have been optimized for sales & marketing, in terms of identifying and leveraging opportunities for up-selling or cross-selling, are still quite rare. This represents a huge opportunity cost for banks considering that cross-selling, together with cost reductions and customer retention, could take mobile banking ROI up to nearly 16 percent. And mobility offers some uniquely native opportunities, like geo-location, to efficiently deliver products that not only fulfill need, but do so in the correct customer context.

The concurrent focus must be on mobilizing financial empowerment. Personal Financial Management (PFM) is also emerging as a key determinant of service provider choice among millennials. There is also an established positive correlation between active mobile banking users, usage of PFM solutions, and profitability. Banks need to deliver PFM solutions & tools that will help customers build an aggregated view of their finances across multiple service providers in order to build a holistic strategy that will help them achieve their goals.

And they must not forget to mobilize their employees. Mobile-first is not a cultural shift that applies exclusively to consumers; it's a broad social trend that is equally relevant to employees. The advantages of BYOD in terms of employee productivity and organization performance have already been documented and enterprise mobile strategies cannot afford to ignore the inherent payoffs of a mobility-empowered workforce. More specifically, real-time access to information and applications can also help field sales personnel achieve higher levels of service and engagement.

Finally, now that it seems fairly certain that the future is going to be 'mobile first', if not 'mobile only', the approach should be to quickly graduate from mobilizing discrete transactional chunks of banking to redefining the entire banking experience around the possibilities of mobile. It would probably help to be aware that a new breed of 'mobile only' startups has already bet all its VC money on that opportunity.

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