June 24th, 2011 By Jack Morton
Will mobile banking further depersonalize the industry?
Banks thought they could buy customer loyalty with a killer app and offload all the mundane transactions to the online world. But they’re beginning to realize that mobile won’t ever replace the human interaction customers still want.
Mobile banking has certainly impersonalized the industry to a degree, but as I mentioned in a previous post, customers will always want to deal with someone they can look in the eye when it comes to big transactions.
More than ever, the human touch is necessary. A study done by Empathica last year confirms the contradictory nature of banking customers. They say they want convenience and quick service, but only 41% indicate online banking is their preferred channel, despite its ease of use and efficiency. And when a problem arises? Only 6% prefer to deal with the issue online. 94% of people are going to head into a branch and talk to someone.
Bottom line, mobile banking is great for routine transactions, but it will never replace the feeling of knowing someone cares. This presents a great opportunity for the banks who can figure out how to respond quickly and correctly. A recent report by CapGemini discovered that “most retail banks across the globe have struggled to define and produce consistent and differentiating customer experiences”.
Meaning, at this point, banks have figured out how to minimize negative customer experiences, and mobile banking has certainly been instrumental in doing so, but they haven’t figured how to create positive ones. One on one time is key. Trained employees who know how to handle client issues quickly are paramount. And a consistent brand voice and message across every facet of the user experience is crucial. ING Direct, an internet banking firm, is one such brand that gets this. Every time I interact with the brand, I see quirky, customer service focused, irreverent and fun. They’ve even opened physical locations in order to interact with customers as they integrated backwards into traditional banking services like mortgages and 401 (k)s. They get it. Established banks would do well to take notice.