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By Raviteja Dodda, the co-founder and CEO of MoEngage.

The world of personal finance has undergone significant change within the last 20 years. Decades ago, even the simplest interaction with a financial institution required a trip to the nearest branch. T oday, consumers can do all this and more with a few swipes on their smartphone app or clicks on a website.

Your consumer’s digital appetite is scaling rapidly and it’s challenging to prioritize. Where do you begin to focus your efforts? Here are a few trends that we’re seeing in the banking and financial technology sector to help you plan your strategy and investments for 2021:

  1. Mobile Means Business

The Global Mobile Consumer Trends 2020 indicated that mobile app downloads for the banking, financial services and insurance  industries grew by almost 44% in the U.S. with 20% growth in daily active users (DAU). In Europe, downloads and DAUs grew by nearly 12% and 1.3% respectively; and in the Middle East and & North Africa, by nearly 14% and 3% respectively. While there was a slight decrease in DAUs India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, the overall growth in this industry’s DAUs is one of the largest when compared with the other regions around the world. The adoption rate will only increase in 2021.

What can you do? This growth implies that banking and financial services companies need to lay greater emphasis on mobile customer engagement. Investing in new technologies such as customer engagement platforms can help you automate and scale your customer engagement. Modern customer engagement platforms that integrate your customer data sources into one unified customer profile will help you get a holistic view of your audiences’ interests and behaviors so you can better serve them.

  1. Personalization Key to Customer Retention
    Personalization is no longer a nice to have, it’s a requirement. Online banking brings with it a few challenges, such as short attention spans, switching between apps or leaving your web page if customers don’t find what they are looking for. Personalization will play an important role in customizing individual customer experience.

What can you do? Personalized messaging will help you draw the customer’s attention and keep them engaged overtime. For instance, a banking mobile app may alert their customers about bill alerts or auto payment enrollment. However, if the customers don’t have sufficient balance in their account, a predictive notification will go miles in saving time of both the customer and the bank’s customer success teams to get the payment delivered on time. Personalized messaging in the form of  SMS and push notifications will further help in building trust in your brand and assisting in customer retention.

  1. Growing Need for Unified Communications
    A lot has changed over the past year considering COVID-19, with more businesses becoming remote and accelerating their digital transformation. With the world shifting to virtual, most financial services companies have made the transition to engage their customers across the physical and digital touchpoints. However, as you add more customer touchpoints you’ll also need to create a consistent customer journey that enables you to understand your customers’ specific needs and offer the most relevant products and services. And according to Deloitte, “Delivering positive customer experiences can reduce your cost to serve customers by up to 33 percent.”
Raviteja Dodda

Raviteja Dodda

What can you do?  Connecting your customer journey is a great way to show that you understand your clients’ needs and how new product offerings can add more value. Promoting a new product or banking feature is great, but if your marketing or product team doesn’t have the data to show that your client is already using it or is not interested, it does not help your brand to communicate with your client about it. Connecting data across different technologies and marketing systems to have one unified view of the customer as part of your marketing strategy will help you more clearly understand your unique customers’ interests and behaviors so you can better communicate relevant value to them.

  1. Increased Speed-to-Market
    Planning and implementing new campaigns is a time intensive process. For many financial services and banking organizations, it can take weeks to spin up new campaigns. The result? By the time customers receive these new communications, they’re already irrelevant or outdated. (Or worse, maybe your competitor reached out with the offering first!) In a world where technology and consumers are advancing swiftly, you’ll need to ensure that you have the right technology in place to help you automate processes, gain greater insight, and engage with your customers faster with a contextual message at the right moment in their journey.

What can you do?

Leveraging technology with embedded AI and machine learning to help your marketing team identify opportunities and risks much quicker. For example, identifying customer segments that are least likely and most likely to churn based on insights and trends, and then providing you the insights and engagement tools to quickly take action. The days of relying on pulling data from multiple tools, CSV file uploads, and mass marketing to all of your users with generic one-size-fits-all messages are over.

  1. Insights-led Engagement

Gartner predicts that by 2022, 85% of executives’ marketing-related decisions will be based on marketing analytics.

Banks and fintech brands like yours acquire users through multiple channels and mediums. There is an obvious challenge to onboard these users and get them to explore different product offerings for upsell/cross-sell. However, leveraging customer behavioral insights and technology to drive your customer engagement strategy can help you orchestrate campaigns through the right channel(s) with the content that is best for them – whether that be online channels such as emails, in-app messaging,  push notifications, or SMS or offline channels such as an in-branch experience.

What can you do? If  your plan of engagement has been, “Plan, execute, analyze, course-correct,” try flipping that order to, “Analyze, plan, execute, measure, course-correct.” Which means, you can identify critical moments in your customer’s journey and build an insights-led strategy that eliminates much of the trial-and-error and helps to quickly weed out what’s working and what’s not.

Feed Your Customers’ Digital Appetite

The digital era of banking has placed even more emphasis on the customer experience. Gone are the days of customer service with a smile. Today, banking customers want clear communication and control of their banking experience. For banks and financial services companies, this means that there is more pressure than ever before to deliver crisp, rewarding experiences both online and offline. Taking a comprehensive approach to your outreach strategy and investing in the tools that streamline this process will help ensure your success in the near term and into the future.

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