RFi Group Opinion - Understanding and winning the digitally engaged customer

Very few people in 2018 would question the need for banks to have a digitally driven proposition. Two in three consumers globally now use digital banking channels on a weekly basis. Digital answers the simple requirements of banking and in recent times that is where the disruption in financial services has most occurred.

For most (not all) banking services; speed, convenience and ease of banking drive satisfaction. Customers who agree that their bank makes it easy to do business are ten times more satisfied than those who don’t. Only 4% of customers globally who don’t agree that their bank makes it easy to do business would strongly recommend their bank compared to 55% of those who do agree.

As we lead increasingly digital lives, ease in banking increasingly means digital solutions and data and insights gathered by RFi Group over the last 12 years has consistently showcased the benefits of digitally engaged customers to banks in terms of their levels of satisfaction, their propensity to recommend and their overall profitability to the bank.

But what was does being digitally engaged mean?

The need to drive digital engagement in order to maximise customer profitability isn’t changing but RFi Group’s latest research suggests a need to bring up to date the classification of a digitally engaged customer.

Mobile banking and mobile app usage have traditionally been seen as a reliable gauge of digital engagement. We can assume that those who use banking apps are digitally engaged to some degree and up until 2018, weekly usage of mobile banking apps was seen as a good proxy for a highly digitally engaged (and more profitable) customer.

The latest GDBC research suggests that 2018 marks a key change, validated by a fundamental shift in the frequency of mobile app users around the world but more importantly by increasingly marked differences evident in consumer behaviour based on the frequency of usage.

One in three consumers now engages with their mobile banking app on a daily basis – a significant shift from one in four consumers just 12 months ago. Historically we saw no differences in the behaviours of customers and their value to the bank based on how frequently they used mobile banking apps but for the first time in 2018, RFi research shows that daily digital banking users are more valuable than weekly users. Two metrics, in particular, stand out which are their propensity to recommend their bank and the number of products they hold with the bank, both increasing substantially for daily users.

Winning the digitally engaged customer means recognising and adapting to this fundamental change.

The new digital world means fostering a daily habit with customers.

The GDBC study goes on to ascertain customer priorities for digital services and reveals that the most appealing services for consumers are the ability to log into their accounts via biometrics, to manage their finances using PFM [personal financial management] tools and to make in-app payments. Prioritising these solutions will help to facilitate those important daily connections.

Providers who deliver their services via multiple channels should not, however, underestimate the importance of providing a seamless experience regardless of channel used. There are still a number of banking scenarios where consumers want to be able to communicate in person either face-to-face or using technology. Interestingly of all channels, the bank branch has the strongest correlation with ease of banking suggesting that a bad branch experience could undo all of the good work of a great digital solution.

Providing solutions that encourage customer connections every day is the big challenge in 2018 but perhaps the greater challenge is providing a great experience every day regardless of how consumers choose to bank with you.

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