Aequilibrium Blog

By Sim Tatla • August 24, 2017

Attracting the Digital Banking Customer

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Customers have a lot of options when it comes to the channel of using a product or service—we know it, you know it, and they especially know it.

If they want to be more organized, they have access to hundreds of calendar apps at their fingertips. If they want to create a budget, they have their pick of desktop platforms, spreadsheet templates, and mobile apps to choose the one that works best for them.

For financial institutions—whether you’re a bank, credit union, or insurance company—how do you build a customer acquisition strategy for customers who expect a multitude of digital choices? What steps do you need to take to attract customers who want the best, most catered, and personalized omni-channel experience?

Step 1: Do the research—it’ll help you in the long run.

To know how to attract new customers, you need to know what they want. To know what they want, look at the behaviours of the customers you already have. Having an existing customer base gives you the upperhand as you have access to key insights that’ll be helpful.

Some things to look at are your customers’:

  • Current income 
  • Spending patterns
  • Saving and investing habits
  • Frequency of banking interactions based on devices
  • Preference of banking products

To go even deeper, an EY study on Global Consumer Banking showed that when finding these customer insights, the four ‘buckets’ to focus your data on are building and earning customer trust, better understanding your customers, rethinking distribution and engagement, and innovating like a FinTech.

Step 2: Know your growing (and shrinking) customer base.

Yes—we all know that millennials are the fastest growing and largest population out there. They’re seeking financial services at a younger age than any other generation, more control over their financial lives, and digital options for their financial needs. In fact, a PwC study showed that 82% of 18 to 24-year-old smartphone owners say that they use mobile banking.

The elephant in the room? The Baby Boomers. Even though they aren't the largest market to target, they are expected to increase their use of smartphone and mobile technologies over the next few years. So, don't eliminate them entirely from your customer acquisition strategy.

Step 3: Don’t eliminate the branch just yet.

According to an Accenture survey, 87% of 4,000 customers interviewed still want human interaction when it comes to banking. Branches are a great tool to attract customers who want initial in-person meetings for their financial needs and a representative to talk to about complicated/private financial inquiries.

So, what do you do?

Decrease the amount of branches you have open and what services you offer. Be strategic about where your branches are located (in high-traffic locations and where most of your demographics are). Another thing to keep in mind is training your staff on using more automated technology so that the in-branch experience for your potential customers is seamless.

Step 4: Differentiate your digital product.

Ask yourself: What makes your digital bank stand out? Why should potential customers pick you compared to other financial institutions?

  1. Highlight the products and services that’ll be most helpful to your targeted customer base (budgeting, savings accounts, TFSAs, etc.). Based on where your potential customers are looking for banking services (online, in the branch, on social, etc.), target your messaging where you know they’ll be looking.
  2. Simple language is key. Drop the banking jargon and speak to your customers in an easy-to-understand way.
  3. Make opening an online account as easy as possible. Once you have a potential customer interested, you don’t want them to decide otherwise because it was too difficult to sign up for your services.
  4. Have a great mobile app. There’s an increasing amount of digital customers, especially ones who spend a lot of their time on their phones. According to the 'Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016' report by the Federal Reserve Board, 43% of adults with mobile phones and bank accounts reported using mobile banking. So, make their banking app one they look forward to using.

The reality is that in this digital era, being digital isn’t enough anymore. Your customers expect options on how to use a product or service.

If you found this article useful and want to hear more about what digital banking has in store, check out our eBook, The Future of Digital Banking: Turning User Experiences into Life Experiences.

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