Using mobile feeds to deliver personalized experiences

When COVID-19 first hit, bank call centers were flooded with customers looking for answers and, at the same time, they needed to provide pandemic-related updates and changes in real time.

To address both inbound and outbound engagement gaps, many financial institutions turned to mobile feeds to send more than 14 million COVID-related digital experiences that provided proactive guidance, support and the most up-to-date information to customers.

This approach involved the use of a dedicated, mobile channel for every customer – a private, one-to-one connection with a level of personalization and engagement that other channels do not provide. This points to a sharpened focus by businesses to evolve past reactive, one-size-fits-all engagement.

Learning from TD Bank’s experience

As concerns around COVID-19 grew, TD Bank leaned on its mobile feed capabilities. “The first thing we did in March was we brought the entirety of our deposit base in particular, which was millions and millions of customers and accounts, onto (our mobile feed) platform, and we did that in a weekend,” says John Thomas, EVP for global innovation.

For TD, its digital foundation and a new, personalized feed capability enabled the agility and flexibility to respond to COVID-19, while at the same time continuing to elevate the digital customer experience.

“It opened a new channel on the phone, giving us the ability to surgically go into our portfolio and get messages to exactly the right people to relieve pressure on our other channels, but just as importantly, to prevent customers from waiting in a phone queue. This has been super critical,” says Thomas.

And while the opportunities to educate and connect with customers seem endless these days, there are four key experiences that banks should consider above all others when it comes to delivering relevant, personalized content in the age of COVID-19.

Personalized feeds for real-time updates: When combined with email campaigns and general awareness messaging, personalized feeds drive 10 times higher customer engagement, and therefore traffic to comprehensive online resource centers – COVID-related, or otherwise.

As new information is updated each day around reopening plans, government relief programs and other guidance, customers expect to receive relevant, timely experiences fueled by their individual financial needs.

Education around transactions: Nearly half of all adults in the world owns a smartphone, tablet or smartwatch, yet almost half of them have never conducted a mobile transaction with their bank. With many branches closed or operating under limited hours or capacity, now is the time to leverage digital capabilities to educate customers on how to complete simple transactions like deposits from home. TD Bank developed educational mobile deposit content to be shared with certain vulnerable populations to mitigate concerns about coming to a branch to deposit, for instance, Social Security checks.

Digital education during in-person servicing: TD used in-person customer transactions to provide personalized digital experiences. “We created pre-packaged content, we ran it through our personalization engine and trained the 12,000 colleagues that work in our branch system so they could literally push a digital experience to a customer’s feed as they were leaving the drive-thru. And we did that almost overnight.” says Thomas. These messages increased digital engagement and adoption and sped up in-person transaction time, while reinforcing the personalized customer experiences.

Elevated digital onboarding: During this time, seamless digital onboarding continues to be a highly competitive advantage, as fewer consumers are opening new bank accounts in a physical location. A positive onboarding experience should lead customers to take actions like funding the account, setting up direct deposits and downloading the bank’s mobile app, but a truly effective experience will lead to deeper, stickier customer relationships and increased lifetime value. TD is leveraging feeds to provide personalized onboarding experiences for new customers that improve conversion rates during these critical moments.

Now that many customers have become accustomed to completing banking transactions digitally over the last few months, it’s likely to become a norm. In fact, a recent Novantas survey revealed that only 40% of respondents said they expect to return to branches post-COVID.

For years, consumers have been demanding that financial institutions provide Netflix-level personalization and contextual, needs-based communications, similar to their experience with social feeds. As TD and other banks continue to leverage this new mobile engagement strategy, their customer experience stands to be more seamless and frictionless through COVID-19 reopening and beyond.

Matt Gillin is founder and CEO of Relay Network

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