Hot off the presses: We’ve just published our 2014 US and Canadian Bank Digital Sales Benchmark reports, in which we assess the public websites of the five largest retail banks in each country — as well as their mobile sites and downloadable apps for smartphones and tablets. Our benchmark looks at a range of criteria across four categories: discover, explore, buy, and onboard (see image below).
Read the full reports by clicking on the following links:
Here are some of the findings from the research:
Bank of America narrowly edges out the competition to take the top US spot. For the second year in a row, Bank of America earns the highest overall score among the five largest retail banks. The firm excels by simplifying the online application process (it takes just a few minutes and guides the user with clear feedback and progress indicators) while supporting digital shoppers with chat and click-to-call options. At the same time, Bank of America enables easy cross-channel shopping for digital researchers who want to move offline to apply, with branch appointment scheduling available online.
Now we’ve taken a look at 2015 and predicted a dozen ways digital banking will change in the coming year.* At the center of these predictions is what Forrester calls the age of the customer: A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. To succeed in the age of the customer, digital bank executives must work with partners across their organizations to use business technology — which Forrester defines as technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers — to deliver more compelling customer experiences to bank customers.
For several years, we have noted a shift in power from companies to customers. Customers call the shots; they can and do transfer their loyalty when they aren't catered to with engaging customer experiences. The age of the customer has reached the banking industry; as in other industries, banks must change the way they do business to move the customer center stage.
Thus, application development and delivery (AD&D) teams must work with their peers across the bank to develop and apply the technology, systems, and processes needed to win, serve, and retain customers, partnering with eBusiness executives leading digital banking initiatives to drive new digital innovations. And this is not just a minority movement: Forrester’s Financial Services Architecture Online Survey 2014 shows that close to 80 percent of financial services firms around the globe work on transforming their application landscape or plan to start doing so within the next two years.
To prepare for this transformation imperative, AD&D pros need to be aware of the key trends for banking applications; the emerging and accelerating architecture trends, products, and services; as well as their to-do lists for 2015, which you can learn more about in Peter Wannemacher's Predictions 2015 report. While some banks aren't yet ready to take full advantage of these trends, Forrester believes that AD&D teams must be aware of, learn from, and prepare for eight trends in 2015. Among them:
In his excellent book, The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande makes a compelling case for the power of simple checklists to avoid issues and mistakes during the decisioning process. Gawande's thesis is essentially this: A consistently applied, step-by-step checklist can be enormously valuable for a range of professionals from doctors to software designers to executives at major companies.
Add to this group the lowly mobile banking strategist.
[Quick note: If you read my old blog post about gamification, you may hope to earn more Peter Wannemacher Points. Well congrats! You just earned 150 more Peter Wannemacher Points! Plus, you can collect a digital badge if you read to the end of this post and send me an email!]
Fiserv’s current version of CheckFree RXP uses gamification to increase digital bill pay adoption among its bank clients - our research shows online bill pay is a critical secure site feature on banks' websites. So I spoke with Justin Jackson, senior product manager at Fiserv, about the company’s use of gamification. Right away, he made it clear that gamification is not just “building an online game for people to play” but the process of “taking cues from game design to better engage users.”
More than two years ago, Westpac – a bank in New Zealand – rolled out its “Cash Tank” feature for mobile bankers. Suddenly, customers could view key information like account balances without needing to log in (needless to say, it was and is opt-in-only). This new mobile banking feature immediately made a splash and was hailed as a small-but-impressive innovation. Other banks – such as Société Générale in France and Bank of the West in the US – offer similar pre-login information features.
This led folks like me to wonder: How might digital teams at banks take pre-login information further or make it even better?
Great digital strategy is often about pushing the limits – and not just in big ways. So Citi’s recent update to its smartphone apps is noteworthy for the bank’s decision to push the idea of pre-login information even further with Citi Mobile Snapshot. Citi customers who bank via their mobile phones can view not only balances but recent transactions without the hassle of logging in.
We spoke with Andres Wolberg-Stok, Global Head of Emerging Platforms and Services who shared with us a diagram that demonstrates the evolution of its mobile banking effort before and after Citi Mobile Snapshot (see below).
We at Forrester believe Digital Money Management, often referred to as Personal Financial Management (PFM), is the future of digital banking. But as we find in our new report, The State Of Digital Money Management 2014, available here, it doesn't appear to be the present. Fewer than 22% of customers in the US and Europe have used a single money management feature in the last 90 days.
Why? It's simple: most people just don’t want to manage their money. They don’t want to budget, as in doing any work. They don’t want insight, beyond one or two bite size chunks. And they don’t want to save. They may think they want to, so they’ll set up a savings goal, but most won’t stick with it. Even if they do, it's not about the saving. It’s the buying – that’s the thing they actually want to do.
Even with today's money management, I suspect many of the best users actually spend more, not less, as a result. Few banks measure this - and that's another blog - but it's an instinct I know some clients share. When customers have more transparency around their options, they feel empowered to buy more.
Those users who have no choice but to save often find money management too depressing and give up. Efforts to gamify money management, to make it social, or send “you should save” reminders just alienates them further - the digital equivalent of that unopened bill reminder in the post.
It’s no secret that UK banks were slow to take mobile banking seriously. The iPhone launched in 2007, and it wasn’t until 2010 that we had the first mobile banking app from NatWest. Barclays and HSBC, two of the biggest banks in Europe, let alone the UK, didn’t release apps until 2012. But our new report, 2014 UK Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark, suggests all that is changing. UK banks now do well where it matters most to customers - across money movement, balance checking and transaction history search. Some of last year’s laggards have overtaken last year's leaders, and many UK banks now offer mobile sales functionality - ahead even of their peers internationally. Here’s the headline story:
When it comes to mobile banking, customers' expectations are growing faster than the hair on a Chia Pet. So every year, Forrester reviews and scores the mobile banking offerings from the largest retail banks in the US across seven categories: Range of touchpoints; Enrollment and login; Account information; Transactional functionality; Service features; Cross-channel guidance; and marketing and sales. You can read the complete report here or by clicking on the link below:
Here is a sampling of some of our findings:
Chase and U.S. Bank tie for the top spot. With scores of 69 out of 100, Chase and U.S. Bank received the highest overall scores among the five banks we evaluated. Chase delivers the basics superbly, with a wide range of transactional features for transfers, bill pay, and P2P payments as well as strong cross-channel guidance for customers to contact Chase and find ATMs and branches. By contrast U.S. Bank stands out for more advanced features, including marketing and research for additional products, the ability to take a picture of a paper bill to enroll in bill pay, and the ability to pay another person using the contact list in a mobile phone.