One of the most notable trends in banking over the last couple of decades has been the shift away from face-to-face to digital channels. The trend reflects a mix of advances in technology, cost pressures and changing customer preferences. Within this context mobile banking forms an important part of a banks digital strategy, highlighted by the push for more investment, features and updates. This article explores what customers want from their mobile apps and which features need to be prioritised.
Mobile banking has undoubtedly become more prominent in driving a customer’s choice and their satisfaction with the bank. As an example, March 2017 RFi Group data indicates for transaction accounts opened more than 5 years ago only 5% cited mobile banking as a factor in driving choice of account; this has since risen to 16% for accounts opened in the last 12 months. Mobile banking is also a more important driver of account choice for Gen Y relative to older age brackets.
"Digging into how customers use and prefer to use channels indicates customers still turn to internet banking for more complex tasks, the branch to apply for more complex products or a telephone call to resolve a complaint.
Mobile banking usage is centred around simple tasks."
However, digging into how customers use and prefer to use channels indicates customers still turn to internet banking for more complex tasks (applying for credit card/updating personal details), the branch to apply for more complex products (home loan/PL) or a telephone call to resolve a complaint. Mobile banking usage is centred around simple tasks - checking balances, transferring money and paying bills. In light of these preferences, banks need to consider how important it is to pack mobile apps with features, when customers mainly want to use it for simple tasks.
The above can be partially explained by the limited screen space on a mobile device which makes executing complex tasks more difficult. There is also the prevalence of laptops/desktops in Australia (particularly at workplaces) which leads customers to choose internet banking for many tasks. To a degree the problem is also circular – perhaps customers don’t prefer to use mobile banking for more complex tasks because the features are not executed well in the app.
So how much do features matter vs. other factors in app design. Thus when it comes to designing mobile banking apps don’t compromise visual appeal, navigational simplicity and responsiveness for more features.
"Analysis of RFi mobile app NPS data suggests the top 3 drivers are : the app's general look and feel, the range of tasks that can be performed and response time"
Given this, what are the features banks need to prioritise? There are those features which have become hygiene factors in the market (they are prevalent, customers are happy with them and hence expect them), such as 4-digit PIN. There are those which have high satisfaction but low prevalence – hence on the way to becoming hygiene factors and should be prioritised. This includes fingerprint login, ability to activate cards, temporary card locking and card-less ATM withdrawals. The third set of features are less prevalent in the market and also have low satisfaction – the standout here is financial health tools. This is a feature which if implemented well could really stand out in the market.
In summary, while mobile banking is becoming increasingly important as a channel, banks need to consider their place relative to other channels. Simplicity/responsiveness and visual appeal is as important as features; hence it is essential to prioritise features which are likely to give the best bang for your buck.