Brett King

Posts Tagged ‘Internet Banking’

Banks – get your website right first, before you worry about an iPad App!

In Internet Banking, Offer Management, Retail Banking on May 27, 2010 at 12:49

There’s a lot of excitement about Apple’s new iPad. This week it was reported in various news sources that two banks in Australia were releasing an iPad app to capitalize on the iPad fever. Now… you’d normally find one of the first to jump in and hail such an announcement as an indication of real progress in the fight to innovate the retail banking space. But on this occasion, well I’m not jumping…

The two banks in question in this instance are NAB (The bank formerly known as National Australia Bank) and St George (now part of the Westpac group). The problem I have with this whole announcement is not that it isn’t a positive move, because it is, the problem I have is that they still don’t have the fundamentals right on their existing websites and they’re fooling around with the iPad! Get real people!!!

NAB's Dedicated iPad App looks cool! But they've got bigger problems...

If you go to NAB, St George, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America – well just about any banking website today – the customer experience is pretty poor. When you get behind the login, which is where 70-90% of the traffic goes when it hits the homepage, things get even worse.

For over 10 years most of the banks that I work with have been collecting information about me. They know my spending habits through my credit card usage. They know the mobile phone operators I work with in the countries where I live and work. They know my average spend on things like my Apple iPhone, iPad, Laptop, Flat Screen TV, etc. They know which business accounts I transfer my salary from. They know the relationships I have with various investment partners where I make regular contributions to savings plans or lump sum payments to my managed funds. They know which stocks I favor and hold in my portfolio. The also know the name of children, how long I’ve been married and the last three residences I’ve had. The reason I know they know all this is that either it is something they’ve asked me as part of their KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures, or something that appears on the statements they send me for my credit card or various accounts. They have the potential to know me and my financial savings and consumption habits, probably better than I know myself. But…you wouldn’t know it.

The thing is…when I visit their website or login to internet banking – they appear to have absolutely no idea of who I am.

In the late 90s I remember that there was a huge push for ‘personalization’ and CMS’. But what have we really learned about forming the appropriate message and content on our homepages in that time? Pretty much nothing. Let’s look at an organization that has learned about the value of the homepage:

“Yahoo is a company that is very strong in content. It’s moving towards the web of one. We have 32,000 variations on our front page module. We serve a million of those a day. It’s all customized. Our click-through rate went up twice since we started customizing this.”
Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, TechCrunch Disrupt, May 24, 2010

So why is it that banks have no idea how to engage me? Here’s a simple test. Take two products that are fairly popular when you review search engine keywords related to banks – mortgages and student loans. When I go to any of the sites mentioned above, finding information on these two products is generally not that difficult. However, when I’m doing research on these products, studies show that I will probably come back a few times to my bank’s website before I decide to apply (if I can apply online at all that is). It is the easiest thing in the world when I return to the bank’s homepage for me to be presented with an offer for a mortgage or a student loan up front, based on what I looked at on my last visit. By prioritizing this content up front, simply through the use of cookies, I dramatically improve the likelihood I’ll get where I need to. The bank already knows I’m interested in this product, so why bother slamming me with the offer of the month or telling me about the bank’s social corporate responsibility program. Give me something relevant!

The fact is, pretty much every bank you visit online these days forgets you as soon as you close the tab or window on the browser. That’s why, with many bank websites, were still presented with commercial banking information, investor news and even the dreaded press releases when 99% of the traffic is focused on retail banking related services and products.

With the amount of data bank’s have on their customers and the amount of data they have on traffic, product enquiries, applications and transaction history – building a platform to allow customization of the homepage should be a snap. There is no offer management, no active sales engagement either through the homepage or the secure internet banking portal – it’s just like walking into my branch and feeling like nobody knows me.

A word to the wise – you should know me well enough to serve me better through these basic platforms. Get those right before you start worrying about your iPad app!

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Bank 2.0: Who gets it right with Internet Banking?

In Retail Banking, Social Networking, Strategy, Technology Innovation on May 2, 2010 at 09:04

Take a look at your retail or consumer banking website or homepage. I can 100% guarantee that regardless of who you are, and in what market you are in that I know exactly which part of the site is clicked on most. Contact us? Nope. Press Releases – definitely not. The biggest Ad banner on the homepage? Nope…

Figured it out. Well the headline gives it away. It is the login button. In developed economies click-thru rate from the bank homepage can be as high as 97% of traffic that visits the homepage, and in developing markets it still hovers around 70-75% generally.

The thing is that in most cases banks spend a considerable amount of money each year trying to entice new customers to apply online or to send in their details so someone in the mortgages team, call centre, preferred banking or private banking team can reach out to them. Acquisition must be a key metric of any direct channel team today. However, in most cases the visitors to your homepage are existing customers. Thus, 70-95% of daily traffic is being channelled immediately from the homepage to the secure internet banking website behind the login.

So let’s get this straight. Your bank marketing team has just spent US$1m upgrading your site and putting offers all over 3rd party properties to direct traffic to your website and trigger acquisitions, but still 95% of visitors are clicking through to Internet Banking. How much product are you selling behind the login? Well, if you are most banks – virtually zero. Why? Because most managers see Internet Banking as a transaction platform designed to lower the cost of operations by transferring low-margin or costly transactions to a direct channel with a lower cost than a branch or call centre.

While the logic is sound on cost savings and channel migration from a transactional point of view there are huge advantages in utilizing your Internet Banking portal for targeted cross-sell and up-sell to existing, valued customers. Those advantages include:

1. Better closure rates because of the ability to accurately target
2. Low KYC and Compliance workload for bank/customer because of the existing relationship
3. Much higher impressions than ‘public website’ homepage and 3rd party acquisition attempts
4. Lower cost of acquisition, and
5. Improvements in service perceptions

I know of only a few banks in the world that have targeted, focused customer cross-sell initiatives behind the login – certainly less than a dozen banks have figured this out! This shows a complete and utter lack of understanding of customer engagement through the online channel by bank marketing teams, and a core lack of offer management skill set based on customer behavioural analytics. If you know of anymore let me know…

The first bank that is on my Best Internet Banking sales effort list is HSBC. In 2006 in Hong Kong they invested heavily in a second-generation Personal Internet Banking portal that included advanced Sales Campaign Management capabilities. This was new, no one had even really thought of selling beyond banner ads within Internet Banking, and their clever use of the behind-the-login space to position specific offers for segments of customers was the first initiative I know of where someone connected the dots between homepage traffic and i-Bank potential.

HSBC Internet Banking Portal

HSBC integrates targeted sales messages into their Internet Banking experience

The One HSBC project, which commenced in 2008, is the next iteration in this story and is due to be largely complete by the end of this year according to early press. Not only will the affectionately named “OneH” give customers an integrated sales and service platform within their Internet banking space, but the customer experience will be consistent from one channel to the next through an enhanced single customer view. Branch staff, call centre staff, personal financial advisors and the customer’s own view through internet banking will be consistent. Customers who move from one country to another will also find a consistent Internet banking and service experience across the brand. With targeted cross-sell and up-sell messages at each point of your journey, regardless of which channel you come to.

Wells Fargo in the US takes an embedded hyperlink approach to offer management by serving up contextual cross-sell and up-sell offers next to your accounts in your account summary screen. So as you are looking at your outstanding credit card balance you might see a hyperlink for “Upgrade to Platinum” or “Increase Credit Limit” appearing contextually within the page.

Barclays uses a combination of the two with their “At a glance” feature helping customers find better ways of saving money, improving their utilization of Internet Banking and linking or bundling products – like mortgages and home insurance for example. Barclay’s also lists credit products like personal loans, credit cards, etc that you are already pre-approved for. So before you even have to ask, Barclay’s can tell you what they are likely to lend you based on your relationship and credit history. That’s progress…

And that’s about it.

All these banks the world over using Internet Banking and almost none of them are making any effort to effectively position targeted, personalized cross-sell and up-sell offers to existing customers. The overwhelmingly dominant visitors to your homepage are probably being ignored from a sales perspective because your marketers stop at the public website.

If you are in a bank have a look at why your marketing team isn’t crafting better offers for customers behind the login – it is a massive source of hidden revenue opportunities.