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Why push notifications improve customer experiences

The Night Before Year-End

Lisa Rose, Business Development Manager, Engage Hub 

Increasingly demanding consumers are redefining the standards for online and mobile banking. Digital savvy customers now use mobile apps on a daily basis to assist with both their routine banking and with longer-term savings, investments and financial planning.

Technologies constantly modify and enhance the methods through which financial service (FS) providers choose to communicate with their customers. And rich, data-driven, cross-channel techniques for gaining consumers’ attention has meant that these companies can deliver more tailored customer experiences than ever before.

Consider, for example, the ubiquitous rise of push notifications – messages that pop up as alerts on smartphones, tablets and computers from communication channels such as mobile apps. According to a recent report, 46% of mobile users have opted-in to receiving them from banking apps and they are fast becoming an essential way to keep customers informed on the go.

Due to the importance of data aggregation and new types of notification APIs, the banking sector has been quick to embrace the latest technologies in order to provide customers with up-to-date and user-friendly digital services, delivering timely, holistic and bespoke guidance and support.

Push technology: a potted history 

It is worth reminding ourselves that push notifications are hardly new technology and have been around for about 17 years. Research in Motion (RIM) first pioneered their use a little after the turn of the century, when almost every financial services exec would spend a good proportion of their working day on their BlackBerry.

More recently, Apple and Google have refined and iterated on RIM’s messaging technology. In 2013, Google brought push notifications to browsers, which is often considered the tipping point for third-party developers beginning to see value in incorporating them into smartphone apps.

App analytics firm Localytics claim that push notifications increase in-app engagement by 88%, with 65% of users with enabled push notifications returning to a particular app within 30 days, compared with only 19% of those who don’t. Further evidence supporting the fact that banking customers respond positively to push notifications was highlighted in a 2016 Special Report (What millennials expect from their banks) which claimed that 27% of millennials prefer a push notification to an SMS.

Younger customers, in particular, like to feel as if a brand or a business is addressing them directly. They are turned off by generic mass-marketing messages sent via SMS or more traditional channels, which are often dismissed and ignored (or even blocked) as spam.

Personalisation: getting the most from pushnotifications 

Throughout the day, the average consumer will receive a constant flow of information, including offers, emails and messages from friends, colleagues and brands alike. Grabbing their attention can be difficult in a society that is always-on, so how can you use push notifications to cut through the noise?

When using push notificationsto reach customers, remember that the more personalised the message, the less likely the customer is goinghead to their phone’s settings and turn an app’s notifications off.

Take what you know about a customer, and use it to determine what news, promotions and information is going to be most useful to them. Tailor and individualise contentto the particular customer and get the point across as succinctly as possible. Unlike SMS and email, push notifications don’t hang around on a device forever, so consumers need a reason to click on a notification there and then.

It also helps to cut through the everyday ‘data noise’ that affects mobile users if the message is timely.In other words, the most effective push notifications are linked to a particular moment in time or to an event that has some resonance with that specific user.

Data aggregation: pushing useful insights 

An effective way to keep customers better informed and gain a competitive edge is by using insights gleaned through data aggregation to inform communication protocols.

Astute use of data aggregation, supported by notification APIs, helps customers to get the best return on practical financial advice. Push notifications are not onlybeing used to notify customers of potentially fraudulent activity or to let them know when they’ve gone over their overdraft limit, relaying a well-rounded picture of an individual’s financial health.

If a bank or a financial service organisation is able to deliver timely, insight-led advice to its customers via push notifications on their smartphones, theycan build two-way intuitiverelationships. This is where the real competitive advantage in push notification best practice lies, particularly as younger audiences increasingly demand a personalised 24/7 relationship with service providers.

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