Driving Loyalty, Engagement, and Profit in Mobile Banking Through Agile, Push Notifications, and Analytics

October 23, 2014 Mark D'Cunha

featured-financial-notificationsMobile banking is a competitive battlefield. How do you win?

Our teams have developed over 400 mobile apps with 400 million downloads, and we believe the answer to winning in mobile banking is basically about communication and feedback loops—with three secret ingredients.

As the second post in this series on mobile banking, we will explain the reasons why push notifications matter, give examples of where they are used, and provide an overview of approaches and tools needed to win in the marketplace. Then, we will dive deeper in the next post.

Mobile Banking Means Mastering Push Notifications and Analytics

For years, mobile banking has been seen as a critical channel for driving customer loyalty and profit, as covered in this research by American Banker where the #1 most important mobile feature was analytical reporting and the second was alert messaging. Recent research also points to the fact that highly relevant push messaging can double app retention rates, targeted push notifications increase user engagement by 293%, and personalized push notifications impact conversion rates by as much as 9%.

These results mean two things—the user experience (UX) around mobile push notifications is extremely important, and notifications must be relevant, targeted, and personalized by related analytical insights. To compete and generate greater loyalty, engagement, and profit, banks must master mobile notifications and analytics capabilities.

5 Key Reasons Why Mobile Push and Analytics are Critical for Banks

These two capabilities have a clear impact, and there are several reasons why notifications and analytics capabilities are top priorities. The reasons resemble the same reasons banks started sending email instead of paper.

  1. Push Gets Results: As demonstrated in the statistics above, mobile notifications are getting results when combined with the analytics to make them relevant, targeted, and personalized.
  2. Consumers Care About Money: People might not care about getting an update from every mobile app about each time someone checks in, but information about what is going on with their money is high on the list. Check the home screen of most consumers and you’ll see their banking app prominently positioned.
  3. Rich Analytic Insights Improve Relationships: With mobile applications, we can capture greater levels of behavioral insight than web, email, or SMS. These insights help us do a better job performing segmentation, eliciting calls to action, and optimizing our business processes. Knowing how your users respond to notifications will help you deliver more effective messaging, offers and information to them.
  4. Advantages over SMS and Email: When companies deliver notifications appropriately, consumers view them differently. Mobile push is the new direct marketing, the new email marketing, and the new SMS. We hear directly how consumers find them informative, timely, important, actionable, and easy to use. The bottom line is that push is less intrusive, and people don’t say this about direct mail, email, or SMS. In addition, there is less regulatory concern.
  5. Push is Trending: In the past year, our customers have shown a definite trend towards using more push notifications. It seems like marketers have all learned from email and SMS—ensuring a respectful notification level and giving control and timing to the user are top of mind. And if you’re trying to reach a millennial audience, they simply expect you to use push notifications.

7 Examples of How Push Notifications Get Results

Given the results of push notifications, the next question is how and where they apply with mobile banking. Push notifications come in a variety of formats based on different triggers, and there are many useful examples with banking as well as other industries: RRSP reminders, mortgage renewals, credit alerts, transaction alerts, advisory newsletters, and interest rate updates are financial notifications that should all be considered for your banking app.

  1. Make it Easy for Users: Until now, financial services apps have generally prioritized security and basic functions above the best user experience, but times are changing with features like Citi Mobile Snapshot. It provides the latest transactions without requiring a login. A push notification with a deep link to the app simplifies—consumers don’t have to remember to login and check something.
  2. Move a Bank from a Utility to an Advisor role: Banking should not be only about transactions and account balances. Banks should be having an ongoing, interactive conversation with users about their financial needs, relevant events, new services and offers. Consumers want to be consulted with and informed, and notifications can help built better relationships.
  3. Reduce Inquiries: Banking system workloads have significantly increased because mobile users have a much higher rate of checking their account balance for a payroll deposit than web users. Why can’t I configure my banking app to notify me when payroll is deposited? IBM recently did an analysis that estimated a push-based design for Check Balance would be 25 times more efficient than the current query-based design.
  4. Provide Time Based Offers: Reminding customers of common banking activities like RRSP payments or mortgage renewals and incenting them to come in early can significantly improve staff workloads, decrease wait times, and increase customer satisfaction.
  5. Enable Customized Subscriptions: Customers have differing preferences on the degree and category of alerts they want. Allowing them to configure their interest in financial news, transaction alerts, offers, etc. is important to ensure a balanced delivery of messages.
  6. Make Relevant Offers: Personalized and relevant offers can be very effective when delivered via notifications. Traditional CRM systems and data analysis can provide triggers to create and deliver personalized offers via mobile notifications.
  7. Provide Time-critical Information: Push notifications are ideal for time-critical alerts or information, like take action and look at a transaction we think is fraudulent. By linking the notification to an appropriate page to take action, you can simplify the process for the user.

Much like bankers experienced with email marketing, it is easy to see that managing the user analytics and notifications separately will be an issue. It is critical to have notifications tracked to see how distribution, app opens, and app usage are impacted by personalized and relevant notifications.

The Secret Ingredients: Agile Development, Real-Time Analytics, AND Mobile Push Services

The most important thing to consider, after the business reason, is the necessary approaches and tools needed to go to market effectively. Pivotal believes the most important components include an integrated platform for agile development, real-time analytics, and mobile push notification services. Let’s cover each of these briefly.

Agile Development

Software teams all look at the agile method of iterating through improvements as a solid model of successful development. For businesses and particularly marketers, managers are very familiar with the process of going to market, learning, and incorporating the feedback to improve. To win, we need to cycle through the development and analysis process as quickly as possible. As well, we will need to choose on where and how push notifications can be triggered. There are many choices, and we need deep, behavioral insights to make the best decisions. We need an agile process and a technology platform that supports agile development.

Real-Time Analytics

With agile methods, we also need to add real-time analytics and data science, like our teams and solutions have delivered via churn prediction and asset management. There is a rich combination of large datasets produced through push messages and mobile apps. The key, much like email marketing and direct marketing before it, is the cycle of analyzing the data and improving the results of each communication—personalizing, targeting, and making the user experience relevant. In mobile, metrics can be captured on behavioral data like notification distribution, open rate, click rate, location, demographics, and app usage, and these are a superior source of customer insights gleaned from big data analysis.

Mobile Push Services and Platform Automation Through PaaS

Lastly, the highest level of maturity for mobile banking means adding a technology platform built to iterate through development and analytics with a core capability in mobile push services. This means a PaaS (platform as a service) that gives developers, data scientists, and marketers the tools they need to cycle quickly and intelligently through user experience improvements in ways that have the most impact to loyalty, engagement and profit.

The next post will delve into some of the examples above and elaborate on how a use case is improved when following an agile methodology in the above environment. It will also explain, in depth, how developers and data scientists use an integrated platform like Pivotal CF, Pivotal Big Data Suite, and Pivotal CF Mobile Services to better compete in the market with a faster and more effective communication and feedback loop.

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