Brett King

Posts Tagged ‘App’

The Best–Practice Engagement Bank

In Bank Innovation, Customer Experience, Engagement Banking, Future of Banking, Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy, Twitter on April 27, 2011 at 13:09

Recently when I posted on reforming customer journeys in the banking space I got some push-back for using Apple as an example of best practice. Surely there are banks I could have used as an example of best practice??? Well… not really. There’s no bank, and believe me I’m looking everyday, that has the whole multi-channel customer experience locked down across the board. So I thought if we could Frankenstein a bank together from banks that are there and are getting certain aspects of the engagement right, it might actually be possible to construct a sort of best-practice bank. Even then, the reality is that there are gaps in what is best-practice because by looking at other industries we find better examples of specific channels than in the banking space.

I realize this is arbitrary and there are probably some other great examples out there. If so, feel free to add those in the comments and if I agree with you I’ll make the appropriate amendments or additions and attribute them to your Twitter ID. Here we go…

Best Branch Experience

What identifies a best-in-class branch experience? Well a key here is not how sexy the branch looks but whether a branch redesign resulted in a net improvement in customer engagement and in resultant metrics – namely increase in acquisitions and in cross-sell or up-sell. Recently Citi relaunched their “Apple Store” concept branches in both Shanghai and New York, but there is no evidence that plastering tech around your square footage is an immediate guarantee of success. Creating retail spaces that are hi-tech meccas works for Apple because they sell tech, not banking products and services. So what is the goal of the banking space?

Currently there are two goals for branches, the first is to effectively serve transaction or task-focused customers as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible, and the second is to engage the customer around their needs in a friendly and revenue-conducive manner. In respect to the first, it’s my belief that transactions in-branch are fast becoming problematic for most retail banks and the trend is toward strong sales and service over costly transaction handling. This is part of the reason for SNS in Utrect, Netherlands deciding in 2009 to remove cash from their branches, and why others are focusing on strong service centres.

Metro Bank in the UK unquestionably has a very high quality ‘store’ experience (they don’t call their retail points of presence branches), as evidenced by their Net Promoter Score which is higher than any other retail bank in the UK.

We use Net Promoter and currently we have a Net Promoter score of 87% which I believe is among the highest anywhere in the UK — and eight out of 10 of our new customers come as recommendations from existing customers — 97% of our customers rate our service as being exceptional.
Anthony Thompson, Chairman and co-founder Metro Bank

Deutsche Bank with their Q110 branch in Berlin and Jyske Bank in Denmark, have taken the retail concept to its ultimate with advisors strolling the store and products bundled in packaging you take off the shelf. The point is that the best branches remove the barriers to engagement with customers, and are not transaction points, but conversation hubs. Some other notable designs are North Shore Credit Union in Vancouver and Che Banca in Italy.

The key here is that the retail space is opened up, barriers to conversations are removed, and a warm space is more inviting, more engaging. Transactions which are a cost to the bank, and are redundant for most customers, are relegated to automated cash and check deposit machines or to digital channels.

Best Online Banking Experience

This is a little tough. Firstly, I don’t believe that public websites and personal internet banking sites should be two separate entities, but the fact is that is the reality for most banks today is that their basic online banking experience hasn’t significantly changed in the last 10 years since the dot com. Awards given by EuroMoney, FT and others for the ‘Best Internet Bank’ or similar, are frankly laughable. Compared with the best online experience in other industries, banks are years behind.

Banks have to start thinking about the online channel as a dialog, as an engagement platform – not a transactional or functional platform. The most basic logic dictates that your secure Internet banking portal should be as much about engagement, service and sales, as it is about transactions. However, the level of complexity of selling and engagement behind the login as an industry is appalling.

So who’s the best? At the moment there’s only one bank I would put even close to living up to the promise of User Experience on this channel, which is Fidor in Germany, but even Fidor doesn’t have the sales experience and recommendation engine capability. Mint, Geezeo, Meniga and others are taking on the PFM battle, to transform the advisory space behind the login. Geezeo has recently launched a referral engine that will enable banks and credit unions to engage customers with smart engagement strategies within the secure internet banking space, but also extending this out to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In terms of banks…

It’s very quiet. There’s lots of talk about reinvigorating this space, but the only action on the horizon is our friends at BankSimple.

BankSimple doesn't look like a traditional Internet Bank, because they understand context.

If you want best practice in online banking, there is not one bank that has this sorted. There is best practice in functionality, there’s some best practice in transactional platforms, bill payment and the like – but there is no bank that provides a model that represents best practice of where banking should be online today from an engagement perspective. Not one.

Mobile and ATM on Page 2…

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Starbucks Mobile – the Shape of Things to Come

In Customer Experience, Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Technology Innovation on January 27, 2011 at 17:07

On Wednesday 26th of January 2011, Michael Degnan (of SapientNitro and Engagement Banking fame) and myself headed down to the Starbucks at One Penn Plaza in New York City with the objective of recording our experience of processing a mobile payment using the Starbucks App for the iPhone. The App links your phone to your pre-paid Starbucks card to process payments using a QR code on the screen, which can be scanned by a small reader connected to the cash register. The experience was, in a word, engaging…

Check out the video:

So here are my observations. Firstly, this is very simple. It is at least as fast as getting cash out of my wallet to pay, receiving change and then putting my wallet back in my pocket, in fact, probably faster. The whole transaction you see here took just moments.

The second observation is that the Starbucks Barista was well versed in the new payment technology and was not phased at all by either the request for us to film the payment, or the payment itself. You can see the Barista adjusting the phone so the scanner quickly picked up the QR code off the screen. No fuss, efficient and simple.

The final observation is that this is far superior to a current interaction using cash or a card for a number of reasons. This gives us a glimpse of what the cashless society will be like, it isn’t risky, it isn’t subject to fraud or theft, it is safe, secure and fast. The App is super easy to use, which encourages you to use it again. Personally, I doubt that I will ever pay for a Starbucks using cash again. The only issue could be data connectivity problems. However, with Gilder’s Law in effect, this is an ever reducing issue.

Gilder’s Law: Bandwidth grows at least three times faster than computer power.
Source: Article, “Programming” – Wikipedia.org

But one of the key benefits of this transaction was the transaction visibility. I know what my balance is. I can see my payment history at the touch of a button. I see the balance updated in real-time, and I don’t have to carry around paper receipts. This is far superior than my check book, debit card or credit card from an interaction perspective. I know exactly where I am in respect to my balance available, and the transactions I’ve made. Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, figured out this differentiation already and has built a great receipt capability into the Square platform that he launched last year.

“I made the purchase at 8:47 this morning and the receipt was immediately emailed to me in the form of a link to a Square page. On this page is a receipt featuring the logo of the vendor, their email address, and their Twitter handle. Below that, it shows the amount and the exact time of purchase. And below that is a Google Map of where the transaction was made and your signature.”
What A Square Receipt Actually Looks Like, MG Siegler, via Washington Post, Dec 1, 2009

So what does Starbucks Mobile Payments mean for the future?

For those of you who still doubt the power of NFC and mobile payments to change behavior around cash and cheques (checks) watch this video again. The benefits of mobile payments are plenty:

1. Safe (more secure than plastic or cash)
2. Speed
3. Easier than cash (less fuss)
4. Great feedback on transactions
5. Better deals – Starbucks give a 50 cent discount using the card

The modality shift will happen far quicker than banks, card issuers and others can comprehend. This is extremely dangerous ground for retail banks still enamored with transactional banking based on cheques/checks, cash and card transactions.

Banks beware – if by July this year you are still issuing plastic cards, or still opening checking accounts – you are about to be in a world of hurt!

Don’t worry – you don’t need to develop an iPhone banking app…

In Business Banking, Customer Experience, Engagement Banking, Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Strategy on November 19, 2010 at 10:26

As of May this year, only 4% of US FDIC insured institutions in the United States had any sort of mobile play, a small subset of this group had iPhone apps, and an even smaller percentage had Android apps. We already know that mobile Internet based banking is the fastest growing interaction channel for banks today, so this level of commitment by the industry is quite concerning. So why so slow?

Why so slow?

The challenge is that iPhone came into being in 2007 and it wasn’t even on the radar of banks generally. Organizations like Bank of America (who launched their App in July 2007) were an exception. Wells Fargo, for example, was the last of the big 4 banks in the USA, and they didn’t launch their native iPhone App until May 2009. By 2008, when many banks were considering launching an iApp, the Global Financial Crisis was upon us and budgets were being slashed, so rather than cut Bonuses, we saw bankers cut discretionary spending in the areas of IT. Mobile was often the first to go, because the attitude was “we don’t have to worry about that yet…maybe in 10 years time”. 2009 the budget woes continued, and 2010 was about rebuilding trust so the focus was on keeping costs low so that improvement in net earnings could be demonstrated to shareholders. Thus, we approach the start of 2011 when many banks will be thinking about mobile for the first time realistically.

This is all woefully lagging the customer behavior curve, but good to finally see the majority of banks are starting to think of ways to enable customer behavior through the mobile device and now committing to not only iPhone, but Android platforms too.

The Future Mix

By 2015 the day-to-day interactions of the average retail customer will be very different. Driven by changing customer behaviors, increasing pressure on our time, increasing customer expectations around improved interactions and journeys, etc will drive a complete shift in channel priorities. By 2015 the #1 interacted channel (or by frequency if you prefer) will be mobile, #2 internet on the desktop and TV, #3 ATM, #4 Contact Centre, and #5 in the branch. Even #1 and #2 might tend to look a little the same; in that, as devices like the iPad become more capable the lines between ‘mobile’ and desktop blur, so the issue of the ‘journey’ or the interaction itself becomes very critical.

It’s not just one App that we will need either. There will be a bunch of interactions we’ll be managing in this space. Increasingly those journeys will become contextually integrated and delivered via HTML 5 no longer restricted to an “App” or browser-based, instead being based on a contextual trigger, event or service opportunity.

So obviously banks need to make a big P&L commitment to mobile as a channel and to journeys as a philosophy for serving the customer moving forward. So how is it that I advocate that you don’t need to worry about developing your App?

Lessons from VTB24 in Russia

Last week I visited with the multi-channel team at VTB24 in Russia. They are the second largest retail bank in Russia and have close to seven million customers. Given the growth in smartphone adoption and mobile usage in general in Russia, just like everywhere else in the world, there is an obvious urgency to investing in mobile platform development. This was the challenge presented to the VTB24 team.

VTB24 was strongly committed to a mobile App for the iPhone platform, but budget constraints being what they were, they didn’t expect to be able to invest in the development of the App until 2011. Some preliminary conceptual work had already been done, but the platform wouldn’t be mobilized till next year. They already had previously deployed WAP-based banking but this was looking tired compared with customers expectations for App-based mobile banking.

So in this environment, Daniel Gusev, who was tasked with developing the plan for development and launching the iPhone App, was very surprised to wake up one Saturday morning and find the following tweet:

“Great to see VTB24 finally has their iPhone app!” – Tweet (translated from Russian feed)

WHAT?!? This was Daniel’s immediate reaction. This can’t be right?! After all, he was the one tasked with developing the App, if someone else in VTB had been working on something, he would have known. So he logged on to the iTunes store in Russia and sure enough, there was the App for download.

The App as it appeared on the iTunes store

The immediate reaction was to suspect foul play. That someone had created an App to phish identity details from customers or use man-in-the-middle technology to conduct electronic theft. However, after requesting source code from Apple, VTB24 found that the App had no suspicious content, and in fact, had adapted the iPhone APIs around WAP commands to convert the mhtml-based commands of VTB’s to a workable iApp. An elegant, and workable solution.

Daniel then tracked down the developer and had a simple question? Why on earth would you do this?

The customer answered, “Well, I wanted iPhone banking and you guys didn’t have it, so I thought I would try to see if I could build it myself. When it worked, I figured other customers might use it too!”

Wow!

So VTB24 have engaged with the developer. They now have a live iPhone App that was built by a developer for a fraction of the cost, in a fraction of the time that they would have taken to develop it. Yet, it works and works well, even at some point claiming a number 3 spot in Finance section of the Russian App Store (without any marketing support from the Bank)

Conclusion

There is a lesson here. Sometimes due to embedded politics and internal gaming, we want to control such ‘projects’ as the “iPhone App” internally. We might argue around compliance, risk, security, etc, but this approach shows that by thinking outside of the box, we could actually have much quicker innovation in the customer space than we currently do.

The moment we turn the “iPhone App” into an internal project, we are essentially guaranteeing a 3-9 month turn around time to implement and launch. By engaging a developer community, we could reduce this time, cut costs, and probably end up with some really creative solutions that we would not have thought of ourselves.

Take this on the road. Try to breakdown the barriers and IT silos in respect to production of new channel solutions. The end result may be better than anything we could do internally.

The only real iPad application for banking (Huff Post)

In Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Strategy, Technology Innovation on April 10, 2010 at 07:42

See the post as it appears on Huffington

Many would argue that the iPad is a revolutionary device in user experience, but the key innovation in the iPhone and the iPad has been in improving or morphing the way we interface with our computers. Multi-touch is the key element of this innovation…

So is there a role for multi-touch iPad applications to improve customer experience in banking? Well most of our banking these days can be done in the complete absence of a banker. We do cash withdrawals and deposits via ATMs, we do bill payments and transfers via the internet and mobile, and we even apply for products like mortgages, credit cards and personal loans online these days – all without the need for a face-to-face interaction with a banker. Increasingly low involvement applications are moving out of branches because the branch doesn’t provide a value differentiation when it comes to the experience of applying for that type of product.

If you walk into a branch what sort of thing might you still do these days? Well we used to walk into a branch to deposit or cash a check, but statistics show check usage in the western world is in rapid decline due to Internet banking adoption and electronic transaction capability. You might need to request a reprint of a statement, sign an important document related to your bank accounts or want to discuss an apparent statement discrepancy. You might wish to seek advice on a specific investment. There is still a role for the branch for certain types of human interactions that add value for a sales engagement or service opportunity. Which of those interactions might be improved by the use of the iPad? I’m not talking about Internet banking. The plethora of iPhone applications for mobile internet banking have already shown that the iPad has suitability as a tool for accessing your accounts, etc when you are on the move. But what about when you are in the bank? Is there a role for the iPad to improve the human element, to improve the interaction between banker and client?

Well there is really only one interaction that is massively suited to the iPad – that is the High Net Worth financial or portfolio review meetings that occur within preferred banking or private banking engagements by a financial advisor or relationship manager. There are plenty of specialist software houses and banks alike that have had a shot at improving the standard of client engagement for this vital demographic, but at the end of the day the best financial advisors often just use a pen and paper to lead a client discussion. Putting a laptop in between a financial advisor and a client at this point of engagement is often counter productive – it can disrupt the flow of the conversation and can act as a barrier to the client getting real advice on his needs. Too often software tools that are used assume a one size fits all approach to clients and are ultimately a simple product recommendation tool.

When clients come to their advisor to meet, they don’t want he or she jumping on a laptop to find out which product is right for them. They really want the advisor first and foremost to listen to their needs before making any recommendations. The problem with software interfaces designed to make those assessments is that the advisor has to ask so many questions to get a suitable recommendation that in the end the client feels like the review or interview is an interrogation, not an interaction to help facilitate a solution to their vital issue facing their family.

Simple review meeting take away for client

The best tool for the financial advisor to-date has been pen and paper

The application interface if designed right, in partnership with the iPad as a device, could be a godsend for this interaction. It is a tool that could enhance the discussion with the client, and allow both the client and the relationship manager or advisor to take away key outcomes from the meeting. This could quickly and easily be integrated into the client’s internet banking account so that he sees exactly what was agreed, along with the suggested portfolio allowing him to do the execution online at home. Giving him key control over the most important element of the engagement which is the decision to commit to a specific investment in a particular asset class. KYC is taken care of as he’s an existing client and we just have to ensure that he ticks the correct boxes on the risk side when he clicks on ‘yes’ within the secure environment.

It could even be that the review meeting ends and the advisor goes back to the office to select the most appropriate products in each of the specific asset classes targeted, so the client can do further research online later.

Using the iPad in this way could improve the client engagement dramatically, but still make it feel like an honest to goodness advisory session rather than a product pushing process. The interface still needs to be super simple, but if it does everything the pen and paper can do, but in a structure, simple, usable fashion – it would be a huge improvement in client/RM facilitation.

Evolutionary marketing – Tribal, viral and mobile (Huff Post)

In Media, Mobile Banking, Retail Banking, Social Networking, Technology Innovation on March 26, 2010 at 15:08

See the original Huffpost entry here…

There is a lot of discussion about how social media will play out from a mobile perspective, and how marketers in particular can monetize and leverage social media for real revenues and brand influence in the future. There are those, such as Umair Haque from Harvard Business Review Blog, that believe social media in its current form is a bubble with very little in the way of real income – in effect creating relationships that are not as robust as others would have you believe.

As we start to see massive adoption of smart or App phone handsets, the promise of potential migration of social media onto these platforms are hailed as the real future of 2.0 with endless possibilities. When we throw Augmented Reality and Geo-Tagging into the mix, those who are pro social media envisage an interconnected semi-virtual community where purchase decisions, social grouping, real-time collaboration, even political lobbying are all enabled by mobile 2.0. Neither Haque’s lukewarm perception of ‘thin-connections’ or more upbeat assessments of the impact of AR-enabled social media are completely accurate because a key ingredient is missing in the assessment of the viability of mobile social networking.

The real question businesses ask is how do you make money out of social media? We have seen social media give a voice to customers, empowering them to either individually or collectively influence policy, pricing or strategy.

The flawed logic by Haque and others is that you need to define your social ‘network’ through a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter and that the voluntary nature of participation in these networks does not always guarantee quality relationship that can be leveraged commercially. The fact is that there are social tribes that exist that are a great deal more powerful than defined networks established on social networking sites (SNS).

Everyday when we use our mobile phone we are participating in social behavior that is a great deal more natural and powerful than those established via SNS. Every time I call a friend or business contact, SMS or MMS my friends, check my email, or use mobile internet based communication tools, I’m forming social connections that look just like those you’d see on Facebook or Twitter, but are made up of extremely strong connections with my most intimate and trusted contacts and colleagues. These are extremely powerful natural, social networks that transcend programming and platforms – they are the networks formed by our day-to-day interactions in real terms.

CDRs or Call Detail Records are the day-to-day transaction data recorded by mobile network operators to enable accurate billing on your mobile bill. These CDRs contain all of the information required to map social interactions within tribes with substantially more accuracy than an online social network.

By data mining CDRs and seeing the natural connections between mobile users, strong network activity can be observed. Within these networks exist natural influencers of the tribe, key influencers or as Gladwell calls them connectors. By targeting these key influencers with targeted messages that are group sensitive, marketers could reach the entire group via the viral network effect.

None of this is really happening effectively today because we are either still broadcast advertising, relying on sketchy CRM databases not informed by analytics or are using demographic, tag or keyword association in weaker social networks online.

Viral social networks

Key influencers are high value targets for initiating viral campaigns

As an illustration a small start-up in Australia, QMani Analytics, has recently demonstrated a platform they call tribefinder which can identifying the tribes contained within a mobile network operators CDR pool. But the key to success on the revenue side is matching other profile information from an enterprise CRM system, or from customer behavioral analytics (like credit card usage data) and filtering CDRs to create better tribal models. Then we need intelligent marketers who can create compelling viral offers that we can roll out via MMS to a key influencer so he or she can send it on to their valuable network. The best key influencers, of course, should also be great advocates. So once we identify these guys we should service the pants off them so they feel inclined to support our viral efforts (although they won’t recognize them as viral campaigns hopefully.)

For network operators converting pre-paid to post-paid and preventing churn will be a handy by-product of tribe marketing. For retailers, banks, and other service organizations, however, we are talking highly targeted mini-segment offers that will have a massive acceptance rate. Cheaper than pretty much every current media platform, and magnitudes more effective at conversion, tribal marketing via natural mobile social networks is nothing short of a revolution in customer connectivity.

The real challenge is not the technology. Tribefinder’s analytics engine is not rocket science. The real challenge is for companies to understand the shift in marketing dynamics. For almost a decade now traditional broadcast media has been in decline. Marketing to tribes requires a completely different skill set than is on offer in most organizations today, but it is a key part of our future in reaching and retaining customers.

Tribal, viral, mobile – they are your future if you are trying to reach customers.