Facebook’s recent bad press regarding privacy changes on their site and reported leaks of customer information contribute to a growing concern among users. The uproar also underscores what Forrester and our clients have known for years about security and privacy online: they are the bedrock on which solid online (and mobile) customer relationships are built. Nowhere is this more important than with financial services customers.
It comes as no surprise, then, that 71% of online consumers surveyed by Forrester say they have little to no interest in accessing their bank accounts through social networking sites like Facebook. What is the number one reason why? Security concerns. Number two? Privacy concerns. Seems like FarmVille and financial services just don’t mix. Perhaps more surprising, though, is the 17% of respondents who say they are interested in accessing their bank accounts via social nets.
The real question is how interested are these consumers’ financial institutions in offering account access through Facebook and other social networking sites? As financial firms today look for every opportunity, in every channel, to deepen their relationship with their customers, it’s hard to ignore a community with a 30-day active population of more than 400 million users, 50% of whom visit on any given day.
As financial institutions begin to look more carefully at how to tap into consumers' enormous interest in social networking sites to better service, cross-sell, and up-sell their customers, it’s critical to understand consumers’ concerns and how to mitigate them, while still taking advantage of the rich interactions these sites engender.
Multichannel customers have traditionally been more profitable for consumer product, service, and media companies. Consumers who shop both online and in-store spend more.
Multichannel media consumers have higher levels of engagement than those present in only one channel. The more one watches TV, listens to the radio, spends time online, etc., the more advertising they consume.
Mobile adds a new dimension, a new medium, and a new tool to allow brands to engage with their consumers. Mobile is an even more contextual medium than TV or online. Mobile phones are personal. Mobile phones tie into an environment. Certainly, location is one aspect, but “where” is more than location. “Where” can mean the living room at home, in the car, or in a store.
Forrester recently completed a case study on Yahoo! Fantasy Football. Fantasy football presents a unique opportunity, given that the majority of NFL games are played on Sunday. Not everyone can plunk down on the couch in front of the TV on Sunday to track their players. Moreover, most people don’t have the ability to follow multiple games at one time – at least in the level of detail required to follow all of their players on all of their teams. Historically (pre-Internet), fantasy football players had to wait until Monday or even Tuesday to get player stats and begin to compile their scores. The Internet offered players the ability to do this in real time. Mobile offers players the opportunity to follow their teams, players, and scores in real time anywhere. Mobile offers immediacy. Mobile frees participants to go out in the yard to play with the kids or run errands without losing track of their games, scores, and players.
I have had the good fortune (well, good most of the time) of having been involved in many, many vendor selection processes for eCommerce technology.* I’ve seen this play out from every conceivable side of the table: as a business leader at a large retail eCommerce company; as a technical leader charged with implementation; as a solution provider (vendor) supplying eCommerce technology to clients; as an independent consultant advising large eCommerce clients, and now as an analyst supporting the process through written research and advisory consulting.
In the course of that work I have learned that the typical RFP-driven vendor selection process produces poor results. Clients find the technology or services are not what they expected, vendors are frustrated, and projects are delayed and costly. We have all been there.
With this in mind, we set out to solve this dilemma; we sought to discover and articulate a better way. The result is what we call:
Yesterday I attended the Finovate Conference in San Francisco. Out of the 36, 7-minute demos I sat through (whew!) only a handful stood out as innovative and interesting. During the networking session, I had a chance to meet with one of those companies -- a company called Segmint. While the Segmint Web site does a less-than-stellar job communicating the benefits of their software, I had a chance to speak with David Hadley, CTO of Segmint. When I did, the opportunity was clear to me. But before I get there, let me explain the void a company like Segmint fills.
Most of the on-site, online marketing efforts of financial service firms are still rudimentary in nature. Few have moved beyond basic, non-targeted banner advertisements. But unlike other industries, financial services offers the unique opportunity of going WAY beyond anything retail, travel, or any other industry can provide because in financial services we get a daily, on-going snapshot into customers' financial lives - what they buy, where they buy it, the channels they use, and the fees they pay. Problem is for the most part nobody uses this incredible information. Exceptions that I am aware of include cross-sell efforts by firms like Mint.com, Wells Fargo, and Royal Bank of Canada. What I saw from Segmint yesterday takes this a step further.
You have to have a plan. It has to be part of your budget for mobile. There are hundreds of thousands of applications let alone SMS programs and mobile Web sites. You'll have to be active in creating awareness and driving adoption and usage.
First, you build great mobile services that are appropriate to your audience, objectives and offerings (what services you offer).
Then ... you promote them! You promote them at your physical locations. You promote them online. You promote them at the ATM if you are a bank like Wells Fargo or Bank of America.
I was walking down University Avenue in Palo Alto on Monday evening and I saw these signs outside of Walgreen's. Ok, they are handmade ... well, look to be locally created and printed as opposed to being created and endorsed by corporate. It's a sign though that the local managers and pharmacists are engaged - they support the program and are looking to help drive registrations. I noticed the sign while walking down the street. Getting buy-in from local employees that can help educate consumers and drive registrations may be one of the most effective means I suspect of driving adoption.
When the Apple iPhone App Store launched a couple of years ago, we saw a flurry of marketing applications released. Some were exceptional. Many were average. iPhone apps were "hot," and consumer brands rushed to build them. They were somewhat expensive with most of the return based on press mentions and buzz. Brands felt that the perception of tech-savviness generated by the presence of an iPhone application would enhance their brand. I think they were right, but soon consumers began to expect iPhone applications. Initally, the iPhone didn't offer much reach. The iPod touch helped build the numbers. Apple's most recent announcement put total sales at over 80 million. Pretty good.
Two years ago, consumers mostly used their cell phones for communication. They also listened to some music and got a bit of weather, traffic and news. Now ... they do just about anything. They shop. They research products. They blog. They look up recipes. Are they doing so in large numbers? No, not yet. Consumers are a lot more likely to do more complex tasks on smartphones like the iPhone. The stakes are much higher for marketers - the potential return is higher with the ability to generate real leads and sales.
Here we are in 2010. Apple recently announced sales of 1 million iPads. Forrester believes that number will at least triple by year end. Apple has launched the iAd platform and promised consumers an engaging media experience that will include advertising, but not be disrupted by it. iAd includes the iPhone platform. iPads add another dimension or canvas that will unleash advertiser/agency creativity. We are now seeing our first marketing (first perhaps) and commerce (secondary?) applications. They are engaging. They offer rich media. They are interactive. They offer opportunities to link to videos, music, social networking sites, and shopping.
Social CRM is a popular topic and social customer service is a subset that I’m commonly asked about.
Social customer service is new and adoption is relatively small compared to other channels: 7% of US online consumers have used a company sponsored online forum for customer service support and 6% have used a third party forum. (Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009)
But nascent interest shouldn’t automatically relegate social customer service to your backburner. Customer satisfaction with social customer service is high. At 66%, satisfaction with third party customer service forums is the second most appealing channel behind the telephone. (Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009)
And in addition to customer satisfaction, there are several compelling business benefits to social customer service such as reputation management, building your knowledge base, deflecting calls to your call center, and shortening resolution times.
Social customer service comes in many forms, including:
Offering customer Ask and Answer or forums;
Participating in third party forums;
Using social channels such as Twitter or Facebook for customer service;
Developing a wiki.
Questions about if you should be using social customer service and what it should look like are complex. To help answer that question, my report called “How To Create A Social Customer Service Strategy” has just been published. In this report, I recommend using Forrester’s systematic approach to social strategy that we summarize by the acronym POST –people, objectives, strategy, and technology.
I just returned home from a trip to Bangkok and Bhutan. Civil unrest in Bangkok kept me from wandering as much as I would have liked. I had a lot of opportunity in Bhutan, however, to wander about and talk to people. As a bit of a background, Bhutan is a land-locked country bordered mostly by India to the south and China to the north. Much of the northern portion where we traveled is covered by mountains, so wireless is the primary infrastructure for communications. The average annual income is about $1,300, so they are not a wealthy nation. They've only been allowed access to TV and the Internet for about 10 years.
A consumer brand might argue that in a country where the annual income is only $1,300 and little infrastructure exists for the import of goods, there isn't much point in marketing -- let alone a digital marketing strategy that includes mobile. Countries like these are opening up, however, and their wealth is growing. Personal care products and Coca-Cola was on the shelves in most of the small shops we passed. In a country where cell phones certainly outnumber PCs and cellular connections (even if prepaid) must outnumber fixed, mobile has to be part of the mix.
Teenagers had cell phones. One of my guides had a Nokia N73 and the other had a Nokia Xpress Music. These aren't dumb or cheap text-only phones. They have high-resolution screens and are capable of music, videos and Internet. (My guide was checking and posting to Facebook DAILY.) Monks had cell phones. Women selling vegetables in open-air markets had cell phones.
I was the photographer at a wedding this weekend. We used the KIN phone to take photos throughout the course of the day - hair styling, make-up, and the event. We also exchanged a lot of messages: "We're running late! Someone else has to go pick up the cake," etc. Here's a quick snapshot of the Web page below.
We saw Nokia do this with with their Lifeblog a number of years ago. The KIN Studio has similarities. I would have to say I was sitting on the fence a bit re the dictated cloud services approach to the KIN photos. Over the weekend, I was happy that I didn't have to say "ok, now sync" or upload them one at a time - I liked that it just happened. Would have been fun for everyone at the event to have one of these phones.
I've just had the chance in the past few hours to really play with the device. I find myself smiling each time a new SMS bubble pops up. I love it. I also like seeing my friends' faces on my phone. I love being able to navigate my content and messages via my friends. Loved how easy it was to set up my email, Facebook, and Twitter. Packaging rocks ... and is recyclable. What is subtle in this device, in my opinion, is how intuitive the UI is. The UI looks and feels similar to others I have seen, but I was able to pick up this phone and use it without reading the instructions.
My colleague Charles Golvin will provide a more in-depth analysis of the device itself.
From a social networking/media perspective, the KIN is a good start, but I hope to see more with upcoming releases, especially around helping people build their social graph. I don't put this burden on Microsoft alone, but on the industry and all handset manufacturers. The content we create needs more meta data or labels. We need logic to mesh this content together and navigate through it. It's great that I can navigate to my friends' status and messages through my contacts (and KIN's UI is a lot of fun). I also want to navigate through my photos and location. Location should be table stakes for photo/status/review (restaurant/bar) content and the logic shouldn't flow in just one direction. Based on my location (simple location or map), I want to see who is nearby or what restaurants my friends liked. Navigating through my friends, I want to see what restaurants they liked. I want to group photos by location. I want to group photos by friends. These are just a few examples. With every product and service developed, one can't have everything. There are cost, time and design trade-offs. I completely understand that the KIN and DROID and others couldn't get everything done in v1.0. I look forward to the next version.