By Steve Shaw, VP, Strategic Marketing, Digital Channels & Electronic Payments Fiserv
Digital banking, which not long ago was synonymous only with “online banking,” has rapidly expanded to encompass three distinct, yet closely related, banking channels: online, mobile and tablet. Each of these channels is unique, defined by the attributes of the device, and factors such as context of use and the tasks conducted through them.
As a result of the evolution of multi-channel digital banking, banks are faced with delivering experiences tailored for each channel, while also maintaining an underlying thread of consistency. Understanding where, how and why consumers use different digital banking channels positions banks to meet this challenge and exceed consumers’ expectations.
Device Attributes Influence Channel Use
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The characteristics of digital devices are part of what defines today’s digital banking channels, and taking advantage of the unique attributes of each device is essential to providing a tailored experience. For example, smartphones are fitted with cameras that can be used to capture information, tablets offer tactile functionality and a portability that encourages leisurely browsing and PCs have keyboards, a mouse, and a large screen that facilitates the input and review of information.
To offer a truly tailored experience, financial institutions should leverage each digital device’s capabilities to boost the functionality of the channels. This could manifest itself in features such as mobile cheque capture or mobile photo bill pay that allows customers to deposit checks or pay a bill by taking a picture, visual displays of “touchable” personal financial information that reveal transaction details with a tap, and online personal financial management tools to categorise spending.
How and Why Consumers Bank Using Different Digital Channels
While the unique capabilities of smartphones, tablets and PCs do impact their respective digital banking channels, it is important to note that the devices themselves do not define the channels. To optimise each of the different channels, banks must consider where and how consumers use the channel, the context and reasons for its use and the tasks that users want to complete. Once banks have a good grasp of these details, they can begin to create digital banking experiences that allow consumers to conduct channel-specific activities with ease.
Recent qualitative research conducted by Fiserv user experience experts and detailed in a white paper entitled, “Digital Banking Personas and Insights: Fashioning a Tailored Experience,” provides insights into consumer behaviors across digital channels, as summarised in the following table.
Delivering the Tailored Experience
The research shows the unique use scenarios for each channel and demonstrates why one size certainly does not fit all when it comes to a great multi-channel experience. Taken together, the characteristics of each channel, combined with how consumers use the channel and the context and reasons for its use, determines how banking experiences can be tailored for each. For example:
Mobile. The typically brief, on-the-go interactions that take place in the mobile channel necessitate easy navigation to facilitate quick access to information such as account balances or ATM locations, as well as the ability to execute just-in-time transactions such as transferring funds prior to making a purchase. For consumers engaged with mobile technology, services like remote cheque capture and the delivery of contextually relevant data (such as rewards earning and redemption opportunities presented during a transaction) are also a good fit. Low balance notifications, bill reminders, and security alerts serve to keep the user connected with their finances.
Tablet. The casual, at-home use of tablets encourages relaxed browsing in a lean-back posture, calling for simple, visually compelling content that is navigated with swipes and taps. This could include large and interactive calendar displays, and the ability to easily set up reminders, add notes, and access online chat capabilities.
In addition, tablets are often used in multiscreen situations with multiple people present, such as when a user watches TV with tablet in hand. The context of tablet use, in combination with its capacity to provide relevant content and chat capabilities to connect with customer service representatives that can answer questions relating to specific products, provides a compelling proposition to financial institutions who have struggled to engage task-focused PC users for cross-sell opportunities. As tablet users sit in their living room they can talk with their family or friends about a suggested product, ask questions about the product via chat, then take action after getting input from their trusted network. Financial institutions can maximise the opportunity presented by the conversational context of tablet use by enabling users to open accounts and add new products directly from the device.
Online. Consumers turn to PCs for tasks that require data input or a larger screen, require considerable effort, and which would often be cumbersome on a mobile phone or tablet. When using a PC, consumers typically sit down and lean in to focus, often in a room away from others. Tasks such as detailed PFM categorisation, budgeting and tax preparation lend themselves well to the online channel. When focused on a specific task, customers expect detailed, comprehensive information to be at their fingertips, making in-depth product information and longer-term financial records access appropriate for the online channel.
The concept of a tailored experience can also manifest itself in tasks that are conducted in every channel such as checking balances, viewing transactions and transferring funds. Checking a balance on a mobile device is likely to be done in a hurry, so a financial institution may choose to make balances available without requiring a log-in. On a tablet the user will want to see all their balances in a large, easily viewable format that they can scan and compare, whereas on a PC they may expect to see even more details such as the interest rate and interest paid to date on the account. Even though the task is the same, the experience is tailored.
Consistent Information, Coherent Design
While consumers desire tailored user experiences that provide the right functionality on the right device, optimised for the context in which it is used, they also desire consistency in their banking interactions.
In a world that includes multiple digital banking channels, consistency has become a priority. This includes displaying the same account names and account information, ensuring the same passwords and preferences can be used, and having the same look and feel across channels. Above all, it is essential that data is accurate, real-time and consistent.
The combination of these expectations – for both tailored experiences and consistency of information – means that consumers want their digital interactions to share a common thread, rather than involve a patchwork of disparate experiences that create confusion.
By providing tailored user experiences across the mobile, tablet and online channels, banks will ensure delivery of the right functionality on the right device while also providing consistent information and a coherent experience and appearance. As new ways of banking emerge, the role of existing channels may change, but the importance of delivering tailored experiences and consistent information across all channels will continue to be essential in delivering the ideal user experience.