The Magic Minute: Finding the Sweet Spot for Consumer Engagement

Mobile MInute SM

Editor's Note: Advanced digital banking platforms can help banks and credit unions find the ‘sweet spot’ of consumer engagement to better serve their customers and members.

Oh, won't you stay just a little bit longer? Banks and credit unions will likely never be compared to music’s legendary Four Seasons, but if there was a request they could make to their digital banking customers, this would be it. From authentication to transactions and messaging, consumers spend an average of 54 to 64 seconds on their mobile banking apps in any given session.

To make the digital experience a good one, banks and credit unions must make that minute count.  Before they can achieve this goal, however, financial institutions (FIs) must meet the basic requirements consumers have for convenience and speed.  This is more difficult than it sounds given consumers define fast and easy based on apps such as Uber, Airbnb, and whichever organization is the latest to “get it.”  Given that FIs operate in a much more highly regulated environment and possess far more sensitive information than the latest start up juggernauts from Silicon Valley, security can be another challenge to meeting the consumer’s UX expectations. 

The evolution of a number of security technologies is helping address this issue, like biometrics or voice authentication.  Multi-factor authentication – utilizing the multiple devices held by the consumer, geolocation, etc. – is another option gaining favor for limiting the friction between the FI and its digital end users.   Assuming a bank or credit union can meet the demands of their customers and members concerning the ease of access, then the real challenge begins – how to use The Magic Minute given to add value and, thereby become more relevant, to those they serve.

Time to Shine

Timing is key to FIs trying to deepen their relationship with consumers in the digital channel.  Sometimes in this regard, more is less.  For example, if a user has one minute to spare and is trying to check his balance, FIs need to understand when that happens for most of their customers and members, and then simplify access to the data they want to check. 

The FI that pushes opening a savings account, free checking, mortgage refinance, or a loan application during a weekday morning rush hour will at best seem out of touch, and at worst will make the end user angry that he or she cannot get to the information they want in the short few seconds they have. Why?  Because the activity on mobile apps during rush hour indicates that the majority of people are doing so check balances and recent transaction. 

Conversely, digital banking users tend to spend longer of periods of time on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings using their laptops, tablets and phones to pay multiple bills.  What a perfect time to reach out to users in a relevant fashion since they are likely looking for an excuse to do anything but what they are doing at the time!  When advanced data analytics are added to the mix, an institution increases its ability to anticipate the consumer’s needs and establishes its valuable role in the end user’s life.

For example, if an institution allows customers or members to aggregate data, it is likely to know not only if the end user has a mortgage with another provider but also can see the rate, balance, payments, and more.  Then the message pushed to the consumer paying bills does not include a generic offer for a “refinance” that could save up to $500/month.  Instead, it tells the person exactly how much they can save with a refinance plus, perhaps a debt consolidation against the homes equity.  Which offer will come closer to creating the “wow” that is the sound of a customer or member who will “stay a little longer?”

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