For credit unions, great member service once depended on the availability of live, empowered and intelligent people who could answer critical questions and nurture personal relationships. But, making time for chit-chat is not a priority for Generation Y, nor even Gen X or the Boomers.
Today’s technology-savvy consumers want a little less conversation and a lot more action. For them, speed and self-service through tools like mobile banking are key to achieving satisfaction.
Even when live representatives are available, many consumers prefer to hunt down the information themselves, minus the “bother” of talking to someone. In fact, a 2011 poll found that 40% of consumers prefer customer service interactions via e-mail, chat and text.
Top Five Mobile Activities
Most consumers today are using mobile banking to perform one of five activities: check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, deposit checks or find an ATM.
Being able to access account information from anywhere, at any time, is of very big value to members. For example, real-time balance details and money transfers can make purchasing choices easier. And, paying bills while away from home is a huge convenience for travelers.
Many a credit union has asked: But why do we need mobile banking? Can’t our members simply tab into our online banking system from smartphone browsers?
Most online banking sites are not optimized for viewing on a smartphone or a tablet, which can create major frustration for mobile members who expect access from anywhere, anytime. Mobile banking products program online banking sites to recognize when they are being viewed by a smartphone and to adjust accordingly.
Mobile Banking Triple Play
The ability to provide mobile banking through text, Internet or mobile application is known as the mobile banking “triple play.” No matter how members prefer to use mobile devices, there is a way to keep them satisfied with access to their accounts.
For credit unions with fewer smartphone adopters, text mobile banking is the best option. Although it provides fewer features, it does allow members with feature phones to reap the benefits of mobile banking.
For the most savvy members, smartphone applications and browsers will be the preferred method of access to mobile banking. Between the two, mobile apps seem to be trending past mobile browsers. As of June 2011, savvy customers were averaging 81 minutes each day on a mobile app and 74 minutes on a mobile browser.
What Mobile Does for the Credit Union
A core strength of mobile banking is the ability to retain and attract customers, and new research from TowerGroup also shows that mobile banking is a major cost-saving activity. For example, an in-branch interaction costs about $4 per engagement, whereas a mobile banking interaction costs $0.08 per engagement.
On the revenue side of the coin, studies show that mobile banking users are making more transactions on average than their non-mobile counterparts.
Members’ preference for on-demand information doesn’t have to mean the end of personal relationships.
Moving forward, credit unions will need to focus on giving consumers the best of both worlds — a live, empowered and intelligent individual to provide financial guidance and answers to complex questions, and a simple, intuitive and mobile product to get them the quick information that keeps them moving.
Brian Day is product development architect for The Members Group.