Drive Mobile Adoption via the Branch

by Jaime Dominguez

Mobile banking users are some of the highest-value customers your financial institution can have. They make more point-of-sale transactions, generate more fee revenue, have lower attrition rates, and make digital transactions that don’t require branch visits. Deposits, bill payments, money movement, and person-to-person payments are all more efficient in the digital domain—for both you and your customers.

The good news is, consumers are embracing mobile banking. Adoption rates are up by double digits in recent years, and according to a Fiserv study of mobile banking ROI, each active mobile user creates an additional $200 in annual revenue.

And yet, there are still holdouts. Some customers just aren’t warming up to mobile. Why is this, and what can your financial institution do about it?

Overcome barriers to mobile adoption.

The Expectations & Experiences: Consumer Payments quarterly consumer trends survey revealed that the biggest barriers to adoption of mobile banking and payments are awareness and proficiency. Consumers hold back because they either don’t know a product exists or they don’t know how it works.

While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best places you can address these issues and promote the use of mobile banking and payment services is in the branch. With the right tools and techniques, you can use brick and mortar to get the word out about the value of your mobile services. It’s all about education.

Educate your staff.                                                    

In driving mobile adoption, there is no substitute for employees who can help customers and answer questions.

A well-rounded training program, with convenient and self-directed options like e-learning modules and training demos, can teach customer-facing staff the basics:

  • The value of mobile banking to customers and to your financial institution
  • How mobile banking can benefit customers and help them stay in control of their finances
  • How to enroll new customers into mobile banking at account opening and encourage existing customers to enroll
  • How to activate and use mobile banking

In-branch staff can be a significant influence in a customer’s decision to try mobile banking and payment services. And knowledgeable, well-trained staff are more likely to be comfortable in this role.

Educate your customers.

Every customer who visits your branch represents an opportunity. You can market the value of mobile banking by capitalizing on this in-person traffic.

Creative Promotion – Provide frontline staff with marketing and promotional materials to aid in promotion of mobile banking. These may include:

  • Staff talking points
  • Consumer takeaways, such as tri-folds, pamphlets and wallet cards
  • In-branch collateral such as posters, promotional displays and counter cards

These materials should stress how mobile banking is relevant to consumers’ needs, challenges, and lifestyles. For example, one bank promotes the use of person-to-person payments to college students and their parents through informational pamphlets available in the branch. The brochures explain how parents can easily send money to kids away at school, using mobile banking. Pamphlets aren’t high-tech, but they work.

Hands-On Experience – Some consumers might need to see and “try out” mobile banking to gain the confidence to adopt it.

Banks are finding creative ways to provide this hands-on experience:

  • Intracoastal Bank in Florida features a technology bar at one of its locations, where customers can try out services. The facility is staffed by universal bankers who are cross-trained to provide demos and tutorials.
  • Indiana-based First Federal Savings Bank incorporated mobile education into “Customer Appreciation Day” at its six locations. The annual event included local radio station participation, free lunch and check giveaways valued from $5 to $50. In order to redeem their prize, customers had to deposit the checks using their smartphones. Bank employees were on hand to assist and teach customers about the new technology. In one day, the bank was able to introduce 200 customers to mobile deposit.

Promote mobile with every touch.

The value of mobile banking can be emphasized from day one of the customer relationship. Many people open accounts at the branch but don’t enroll in mobile banking right away, which means they may never get around to it. A proactive branch staff can change this.

One bank has achieved a higher mobile adoption rate just by asking some leading questions of consumers when opening new accounts: “How do you plan to use this account? What are some things you’d like to do with it?” Then the bank representative explains how the customer can manage some of those activities in the mobile environment. If the customer enrolls in mobile banking they then make sure the customer is educated and ready to use it.

Other high-adoption banks use a simple but potent strategy: At every personal touchpoint—in the call center or face to face—if what the customer came to the branch to do can be done through a digital channel, that fact is made part of the conversation. The staff doesn’t just fulfill the customer’s request or transaction, but explains how they can accomplish it on their own through online or mobile channels.

The bottom line.

As you promote mobile banking adoption through the branch, make value to the customer your main driver. Identify the most effective features of your mobile app and online banking solutions, and make sure the value of those high-efficiency capabilities is pointed out in every person-to-person contact. You may be surprised at how many customers you convert into happy mobile bankers.

Jaime Dominguez is director of Strategy, Retail Banking and Channels, Bank Solutions, at Fiserv a financial services technology firm based in Brookfield, Wisc.