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4 elements that impact finserv first-time mobile experiences

Shadavia Jones  |  March 07, 2019

Once upon a time in a far distant land personal banking and almost all financial transactions were limited to either a drop-in appointment at a retail branch or a phone conversation with a customer service representative. The most innovative companies pushed forward with online banking, allowing consumers to perform the most common transactions on their desktop or laptop computers. Today, consumers’ computers come in the pocket-sized form of smartphones and tablets and companies are now competing at the mobile app level for customer loyalty. While it can appear straightforward to design a seamless mobile experience for consumers—especially if you’ve already captured a lot of data from your current users—financial services institutions, or finservs, have some unique considerations before rolling out and making changes to a mobile app experience. We’ve compiled a list of four mobile elements that finserv companies should be assessing regularly that can impact first-time user experience and beyond:

  1. Trust
  2. Terminology
  3. Onboarding
  4. Omnichannel experience

1. Trust

If you had to name one thing that people try to be most protective of in their lifetimes, you’d probably have a hard time choosing between their money and identities. With identity theft running rampant and finances often being a sensitive topic, people are especially careful about how and when they share personal information—and with whom they share it. There’s an added layer of trust and credibility that needs to be established between consumers and financial institutions—especially on mobile. When customers download a mobile app for the first time, most companies will prompt them to allow push notifications immediately. Finserv companies should consider establishing trust and a unique value proposition—before interrupting the experience to allow notifications. It’s also important to consider what information to share, and when. For example,

  • At what point(s) in the process, if any, are you assuring customers that their data and transactions are protected and safe?
  • At what point are you communicating the advantages of using a mobile device (ex: convenience)?
  • Why should customers feel comfortable moving assets around via your mobile app?
  • How will customers know that their information and assets are secure, even if they’ve lost their mobile device?
  • Which functions should trigger the enabling of push notifications?
  • How can your app store listing help customers feel more confident about downloading and using the app?

All companies must establish trust with their customers, but as you can see, finserv companies have to take extra care to assure and reassure customers that their financial assets and information is, and will remain, safe.

2. Terminology

Our favorite search engines and dictionary apps continue to save the day whenever we come across an unfamiliar word or phrase. One can only imagine how many of those searches are financial terms, especially as more and more consumers are becoming more financially literate and managing their own finances. Avoiding overly jargony or technical terms is always advisable but especially so when it comes to people’s finances. It’s important that finserv companies easily and clearly explain terminology within the interface. Doing this helps:

  • Prevent customers from exiting the app to search for the term elsewhere, risking abandonment
  • Encourage and empower customers to confidently perform transactions.

Joe Chernov, CMO at Robin, once said, “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” Swap marketing out with terminology, and the same logic applies. Companies should be continuously testing terminology to assess how both new and existing customers digest and understand key financial terms used in the app.

3. Onboarding

In every industry new user onboarding is critical to adoption and engagement. Alas, all onboarding is not (and shouldn’t be) created equal. Finserv companies are encouraged to explore the unique onboarding needs for both personal and business customers. Simple banking apps, for example, shouldn’t require the same level of detail as those for more complicated business or asset management features. Empathizing with a wide range of personas that will be utilizing the app is an important step for finserv apps. Test onboarding flows with customers to gauge their level of comfort and ease with onboarding for various types of products or services. You may find that common features like checking or savings accounts require less onboarding than something a bit more complicated like setting up a mutual fund account or trading securities.

4. Omnichannel experience

In a perfect world, omnichannel experiences should be seamless across all the channels and touchpoints. Whether a customer starts their journey on their desktop computer, mobile app, or in-store, the experiences should feel seamless and connected. Finserv companies have the unique challenge that customers often access a company’s website—both from desktop and mobile—and its mobile app. Do all these experiences feel cohesive? Can customers seamlessly move in and out of each as their needs dictate? While many companies are focused on mobile app adoption, it’s important not to neglect the other channels customers may use. Not every customer will feel comfortable transacting via an app, so it’s important that the same level of care and customer research goes into every possible channel. If a customer decides to delete your mobile app for whatever reason, should they expect a subpar experience in the browser? How can both experiences work in harmony? How can the mobile web experience encourage (not force) people to use the app?

The first—and possibly last—chance to make an impression

You’ll notice that we’ve included a lot of questions here. Every company is different and will have varying answers to and strategies for addressing these questions. Just remember that a customer’s first-time finserv mobile experience can make or break the relationship between the customer and the company. Deliver a poor experience, and the customer may never come back—or worse (and likely) they’ll share their terrible experience with everyone who will listen. Connecting with customers and gathering regular human insight is the best way to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your customers. Regularly benchmark and assess your mobile experience to help ensure that you’re giving your customers what they want and need—and staying ahead of your competition.

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to learn more about how UserTesting can help you understand your customers through on-demand human insight, contact us here.

About the author:

Shadavia is an Onboarding Manager at UserTesting. When she isn’t talking about all things UX with financial services companies, she’s traveling the world, wandering into an airport bookstore, or taste testing craft beer.