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Driving loyalty with a robust mobile banking app

To develop a winning strategy that engages and delights customers, start by answering these four questions.

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Banks and credit unions understand that a flexible, feature-rich mobile app is essential to drive loyalty and increase engagement in today’s competitive environment.

With so many technology options available, initiating a plan to evolve your digital-banking platform may feel daunting. The key to achieving an optimal outcome is to understand your account holders’ needs.

Here are four questions to consider as you develop your strategy.

How flexible is my app in meeting changing needs?

As you think about updating your banking app, examine your baseline solution and understand its ability to support change. Ensuring that the underlying technology is able to add new features quickly is critical.

Demographics are also driving change. Younger customers are particularly likely to choose a financial institution based on the availability of specific solutions, such as credit-score tools, financial education and other value-added features.

Given the rapidly evolving nature of the fintech ecosystem, we may not yet understand tomorrow’s in-demand capabilities. Consider your technology provider’s flexibility and its ability to support new capabilities as they emerge.

How can I navigate the complexity of today’s fintech ecosystem?

Depending on your resources, you may need a partner to illuminate the best options and provide expertise. The strongest providers continuously monitor industry innovation on your behalf so you can focus on your core business.

As you approach any technology evolution, a strong understanding of your users’ preferences and pain points should serve as a foundation for decision-making. Never let the underlying technology distract you from getting to know your users and their challenges.

Don’t select a vendor simply because it can provide features based on the latest trends. While these capabilities may be important, it’s more critical to choose a partner that continuously evaluates the fintech ecosystem and that can match specific technology solutions with your users’ needs.

Do I prefer an out-of-the-box solution or one that is customized?

Some of today’s full-featured, out-of-the-box digital banking apps provide financial institutions with significant choice and flexibility. Institutions can use APIs to connect users with in-demand, best-of-breed capabilities while preserving a seamless user experience.

Top banks continue to pour money into innovative technology. In early 2022, JPMorgan Chase announced it had increased its annual technology budget to $12 billion, 26% more than it spent in 2020. Although large institutions have the resources to innovate in-house, this type of spending is just a pipe dream for most. In the absence of large budgets, smaller institutions should consider seeking out partners.

When evaluating digital-banking providers, determine the range of fintech partner integrations available to support the features your users demand. In addition, find out whether they can support integrations with specific partners you’ve identified. Be sure potential partners articulate how easily new integrations can be created based on the underlying technology.

If your institution has its own development resources, you may want to create your own unique experience. A digital-banking partner offering a developer portal with embedded components, software development kits and APIs may provide a bespoke experience for your users.

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What support tools are available when customers use my app?

Today’s digital-banking users demand instant gratification when questions arise, including 24/7 options that are more personalized than a support email or phone number. Along with an intuitive experience, robust support options can be a key differentiator in driving loyalty.

Innovative options include fully integrated digital support platforms that offer a range of real-time tools, such as live chat, video, voice and screen-sharing. Artificial intelligence options are also available to enable you to deliver enhanced support capabilities while minimizing the need to expand support staff to cover after-hours demand.

Today’s digital environment has demonstrated the importance of offering a robust mobile app to complement in-person banking services. By making investments in the right resources to help you navigate the digital-banking marketplace, you can reap the rewards of improved customer satisfaction and increased user loyalty.

Chris Cox is chief operating officer at Apiture.

Gain insights on where mobile banking is headed from the BAI Executive Report, “Mobile banking is on the move”.