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It’s the latest craze sweeping the nation… No, I’m not talking about Fruit Ninja, I’m talking about gamification.

There's a reason "gamification" is the buzzword on the tip of so many tongues these days. It takes ideas and structures from games - the video kind and other types - to guide companies in their quest to affect consumer behavior. So should digital strategists at banks and financial institutions use gamification to meet their business objectives?

We’ll get to that, but for now let's start by clarifying what we're talking about. Forrester defines gamification as:

      The insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behavior.

These mechanics come in many shapes & sizes – SCVNGR, a mobile game developer, has a list of more than 40 – but here’s a quick list of four major ones:

·         Points. The most basic element of gamification, points is any type of virtual currency – or, in a few cases, IRL currency. Digital strategists at banks & credit card companies have used this tool for years in the form of rewards points. 

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Inject A Human Touch Into Digital Banking

With the evolution of digital touchpoints, banks have mastered right channeling to drive customers to lower cost digital channels for self-service.  As customer adoption of digital channels is in full force and customers are calling and visiting branches less, banks are looking for innovative ways to inject a human touch into their digital channels.  Specifically, banks need to focus on identifying high value interactions and directing customers to the right channel, for the right interaction, at the right time.  In order to be successful, the strategy must be more than slapping an 800 number online and saying “here’s my number…call me, maybe”.  Bank Hapoalim, one of Israel’s largest banks, recognized the strategic implications of limited customer interaction and implemented a strategy to inject a human touch into digital banking to meet the needs of high-value digital banking customers.  The strategy focused on:  

  • Integrating Human And Digital Channels. Each customer has unique needs and communication preferences. Allow self-served customers to select preferences by providing channel options and use right-channeling to drive low-complexity tasks to digital channels and high-complexity tasks to a bank representative.
  • Adapting To Evolving Touchpoints With Agile Commerce. Agile commerce is an approach to commerce that enables businesses to optimize their people, processes, and technology to serve customers across all touchpoints. As touchpointsevolve, eBusiness and channel professionals must remain focused on making decisions that support a customer’s ability to interact across human and digital touchpoints.
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What Can Bank eBusiness Executives Do About The Euro Crisis?

These are worrying times for people across Europe as the euro lurches towards another crisis, with leaders talking openly about the possibility of Greece leaving the euro and reports of customers starting to withdraw deposits from banks in Greece and Bankia in Spain.

It's easy to feel powerless in the face of such powerful forces, but fundamentally the repeated euro crises are about two things: debt and confidence. Lots of individuals, small companies, banks and governments across Europe have a large amount of debt, and lenders -- depositors, investors and other banks -- aren't completely confident that all of them will be able to pay it back. It's critical to avoid a vicious spiral of declining confidence that will harm Europe's economic prospects and the livelihoods of its peoples.

What can bank eBusiness executives do about it? Remember that you control two of your bank's critical communication channels:  the website and email. Use them to reassure customers. How?

  • Help customers understand what the crisis is about. Banks aren't just about products. Your purpose is to help customers manage their money. Help your customers understand the causes of the crisis and the reality of the hard choices facing Europe. Nobody likes realizing that they are poorer than they thought they were. Without getting political, help customers understand the situation and what it means to them.
  • Spell out why your firm is safe. My bank emailed me on Thursday to remind me that it's covered by the British government's Financial Services Compenstation Scheme, covering up to £85,000. Put a similar message on your home page and onto the secure site, where online banking customers are most likely to see it.
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Finovate Spring 2012: Digital Financial Services Innovation

I attended Finovatethis week to get a preview of new financial services digital technology vendors. I say preview because if you have ever been to Finovate, you know it’s a little like speed dating, where 63 vendors have 7 minutes each to show you their best moves.  The themes at Finovate this year were not much different as previous years with the focus being on mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments.  However, this year, a few new topics emerged:  rewards, coupons, and mobile banking services for Pre-Paid Visas customers.  Apparently, Pre-Paid Visas are the new black. 

 While there was plenty of interesting and innovative demonstrations, Forrester attended the conference to identify trends and solutions relevant for our retail digital financial services clients. Specifically, we looked at innovative solutions for our clients related to mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments. The following vendors stood out as innovative solutions for mobile banking, personal financial management, and payments:

  •  DWOLLAis a next-generation social, mobile and online payment network. Its financial service product, FiSynch, integrates its technology into financial institutions.
  • IP Commercesolves the development challenge of multi-payer acceptance and multi-payee disbursement
  • iQuantifiprovides users with automated and personalized financial advice online
  • Money Desktopoffers the next generation of personal financial management.  Its slick design makes excellent use of the native app features. 
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Discover Offers Best-In-Class Secure Site Features For Cardholders: Forrester’s 2012 US Credit Card Secure Website Rankings

Websites are the most widely used touchpoint for credit cardholders interacting with their providers. The quality of a credit card company's secure website impacts the relationship that firm has with its customers. To understand the state of card issuers' digital services, Forrester has just released our 2012 US Credit Card Secure Website Rankings. We found that:

  • Discover leads the pack with exceptional service features and valuable transactional functionality. With a score of 80 out of 100, Discover received the highest overall score among the six credit card issuers whose websites we evaluated. The firm earned a whopping 91 in our online servicing category, as well as an impressive 84 in our transactional content and functionality category.
  • eBusiness teams at card issuers have room to improve in cross-selling and usability. Although the websites we looked at revealed strong digital services among credit card issuers overall, our benchmark also uncovered opportunities for improvement, specifically in the areas of user experience design and secure website cross-selling. eBusiness teams need to enhance their websites’ navigation, task flow efficiency, and location cues while improving the contextual cross-selling & upselling on the secure site.

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