The future of customer satisfaction: what brands can learn from the rise of mobile banking


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Almost three quarters of people want to be able to use their mobile device to do everything that they can on a personal computer. There’s no doubt that the exponential rate of smartphone uptake has fundamentally altered the role of computing in our everyday lives as consumers – and most recently, this has made waves in the banking industry.

Writing for Mobile Marketing Magazine, head of digital and consumer experience at Westpac (NZ), Simon Pomeroy, commented that the consumer behaviour and demand for customer service and support on-the-go is driving huge change within the industry.

– The switch to mobile banking

Urging British banks to up their digital game, Pomeroy states that since Westpac have begun to provide customer service support via their mobile application, 35 per cent of the bank’s active online customers now access their account via a mobile device. Furthermore, the business has seen a 457 per cent increase in mobile logins over the past 12 months.

Users of these online applications can testify that the ability to report a problem or access information without the arduous process of waiting in a call-centre queue is a welcome transformation. In fact, it’s predicted that within three years, the number of people using their smartphone to access their bank account will exceed one billion world-wide, whilst a further 200 million will use a tablet device.

But we’d argue that it isn’t just the banking world that must sit up and take note of these statistics. With 95 per cent of consumers admitting that they believe an app is the most convenient form of customer service, and almost half saying that they perceive a brand with an app to be more in-touch with their customer than those without, it seems no brand or business can afford to overlook this rapidly emerging technology.
So what can we learn from the recent challenges of the banking sector?

1. Change must be consumer driven

As Pomeroy acknowledges in his article, “the change that is occurring in banking… is being driven by the customer, and decisions in meeting that challenge will have flow-on effects for years to come.”
The fundamental reason that we as consumers are driving mobile technology is the innate desire for convenience. If we’ve got a problem or an enquiry, we want it sorted in the here and now, no matter where we are. And mobile technology enables this.

In banking, this is demonstrated through the functionality behind mobile banking apps, which typically allow users to check their balance, make transactions, and most recently –report problems and raise queries online – all on-the-go. But as Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management at the American Bankers Association points out, “if you have a bank account, there are certain types of transactions that are abundantly more convenient done from your bedroom in your bunny slippers.”

So, before brands create their apps, it’s absolutely imperative for them to first think about how the consumer engages with mobile content and what they need to get out of it. Which brings us nicely to our next point…

2. There must be cohesion between online and offline channels

Banks have already broken through the online / offline barrier, with over 80% of bank account holders comfortably making the switch from in-branch to online banking over the last decade. Though the switch to mobile is undoubtedly the next logical step, this is a big change for an industry traditionally driven by a need to allay consumer concerns through security and trust measures; when it comes to money, people do still want assurance.

For that reason, even though mobile banking enables consumers to manage their finances more fluidly at the click of a button, there is a still a place for the humble branch. Go into your local Natwest or Lloyds TSB and it should be fairly clear that the switch from banks serving a transactional purpose to becoming more of an advisory hub has already begun. Customers are turning to mobile technology for day-to-day practicality but still seek the comfort of professional guidance face-to-face.

For any brand it’s important to carefully consider how your online and offline communication channels will compliment – rather than compete with – each other to streamline the overarching brand experience.

3. Stay ahead of the times

In the UK, remote deposit capture, by which people can deposit checks into their account via their mobile, is still in its infancy. However, in the US, it’s taken around 12 short months for this this revolutionary function to become a basic feature of online banking apps.

What this shows us is that evolution never stops, and brands – like banks – can’t afford to be left behind their peers. Brand managers must have their finger on the pulse of digital innovation at all times to ensure they don’t find themselves left behind.


Banks have been paving the way for customer engagement via mobile for a few years now, and uptake and development is growing at an astonishing rate. The take-away from this for brands and businesses in their own app development is that they must firstly understand what their customer wants and – even more importantly – expects, and endeavour to deliver it.

Jennifer Bowden
Jennifer Bowden is an industry copywriter and avid customer communications blogger, currently exploring the impact technology is having on brands.



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