3 ways retail banks & financial services can use mobile messaging

The finance sector is being transformed. Tech companies, start-ups and challenger banks are driving increased competition with their digital and mobile-first approach

Written by Alex CambellFebruary 16th 2016

The finance sector is being transformed. Tech companies, start-ups and challenger banks are driving increased competition with their digital and mobile-first approach. In an increasingly competitive market, delivering a superior customer experience by bringing customers closer to the heart of the business has never been more important.

“The fight to hold on to customer relationships will be a high-stakes struggle,” according to McKinsey’s latest Global Banking Annual Review, “If banks are going to win the fight for the customer, it follows that they must put the customer at the centre of their thinking”.

Mobile messaging, with its wide adoption (works on every mobile phone), easy technical integration, high open rates and immediacy, is increasingly becoming the method of choice for interacting with customers. From my experience of working with retail banks and financial services for more than 10 years, here are my thoughts on how banks and financial services can benefit of using mobile messaging.

P.S. If any of the below sounds like something you could benefit from, please contact Alex Cambell, VP at IMImobile at contactus@imimobile.com to have a chat about how we could help.

1. Use Mobile Messaging to building stronger customer relationships

From delivering mission-critical communications, to alerts or marketing offers, mobile messaging immediately attracts a customer’s attention. Every day the average smartphone user checks their mobile 55 times to complete 221 tasks, spending over 3 hours looking at their screen. For retail banks and financial service providers, mobile messaging represents an opportunity to connect with customers for multiple situations.

Customers can be kept up to date on their account balances, ensuring they are always aware of going overdrawn. During the on-boarding process of a new customer, they can be kept constantly informed about the status of their account or mortgage application. From a customer service perspective, mobile messaging is ideal for acquiring customer feedback. All these different mobile communications delivered at different points in the customer journey help to build a stronger customer relationship by increasing transparency and trust in the service you deliver.

2. Use Mobile Messaging to accelerate contact centre efficiency

We all know the pain waiting on hold trying to get through to an agent when calling a customer service hotline, every minute spent stoking our frustration. However, contact centres are at the frontline of customer contact for multiple areas in the financial services sector, and they are the backbone of ensuring customer satisfaction.

Supporting customer enquiries through IVR or call agents has its benefits but it is a costly way to support customers. Industry stats show that  27% of consumers experience being transferred from agent to agent without a resolution, and that 75%  believe it takes too long to reach a real person.

Over the last 12 months we have helped a number of financial service providers integrate real-time chat, delivered through two-way SMS messaging, into their contact centre strategy. The concept is simple but highly effective – customers can quickly get in contact with customer service teams via SMS by texting to a dedicated customer service number. Within seconds the customer receives an acknowledgement about their enquiry and is presented with a resolution, without ever having to call or wait on hold. Real-time SMS chat is especially useful for departments such as compliance, fraud and sales. Call agents from these teams can use the channel to ‘warm-up’ customers before making an outbound call, allowing them to introduce themselves, set the scene and organise the best suitable time for a call or appointment.

The results of agents using SMS chat within contact centres has shown that customers are 50% – 60% more likely to pick up the phone when they have been ‘warmed-up’. Compared to outbound call success rates which are on average around 20% – 25%. In addition, our clients who use SMS chat in their contact centre have also reported an improvement of customer satisfaction by up to 65%.

3. Using Mobile Messaging to fight fraud

Financial service providers detected and prevented a total of £910.9 million worth of attempted fraud in just the first half of 2015, and that’s only the fraud they know about. With its ability to generate instant responses from customers (over 90% of messages are delivered and read within 3 minutes), mobile messaging can be integrated into customer journeys across the business to combat fraud.

For example, using channels such as SMS to instantly alert customers about suspicious activity on their accounts allows banks to quickly identify and respond to potential threats, because the sooner a customer is aware of suspicious activities, the quicker it can be resolved. Even with having multiple channels to choose from, SMS is the closest channel to your customers.

Some banks that we work with have built some additional intelligence around the use of mobile messaging and detecting ATM fraud. When a customer withdraws money through an ATM, an automatic location look-up of the customer’s mobile phone is triggered. If ATM location and device location don’t match, the transaction is suspended and both the customer and fraud team are alerted. By intelligently weaving together existing business processes with mobile messaging and other smartphone capabilities (such as location) a customer journey is created that can proactively help to fight fraud.


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