I was in a meeting recently discussing the mobile aspirations of a client. Beyond their initial foray into the mobile space, offering an iPhone app that can do just a little bit less than their current internet offering, my client had not spent much time thinking about mobile. If anything, mobile was something that they felt compelled to get into due to market pressures from competitors who have launched their mobile applications to much fan fair. They consistently referred to mobile in the context of all their other channels and spoke about it as if mobile’s sole utility was in replicating previously available transactional processes already available via some of their other channels.
“It’s not just another channel” I said, stopping the conversation cold. “It’s mobile” I followed, which generated a lot of confused looks. Let me explain….right now all the focus is on the provision of cool applications via mobile phones that replicate current internet banking functionality, or mobile payment solutions. To me this use of mobile functionality is one sided; focused on the self actualization of the customer. This isn’t a bad thing however it is not the only thing and may not be the most differentiating or profitable thing.
It’s mobile…meaning it can move, go where it’s needed, used when, where, and how a user sees fit but it need not remain one sided. What about the extended use of mobile devises within bank to client interactions. Mobile hardware can make branch layouts irrelevant. Processes can be streamlined utilizing the modern-day multipurpose knife that mobile solutions have become. A 4G enabled device with a solid VPN can take your bank anywhere and truly allow you to become a value added service relevant to every-day life of clients. Maintaining a personal touch, with a thin tablet that can exchange hands easily to share ideas as the only thing sitting between you and your client could significantly change the way you provide services. Integrated mobile solutions for bank staff could put the power of your CRM, dashboards, alerts, notifications, and workflow in the palm of your staffs hands further redefining how, when, and where to work. Currently in this context my clients point of view on mobile bank to client interaction has been to package branch based processes into a suitcase with the addition of off-line functionality for what they define as their “mobile sales forces”.
It’s more than just a channel, mobile solutions provide a new way to think about old processes. Banks that can conceptualize two way bank to client interaction through a mobile device, beyond simple transaction order taking, can help differentiate your bank, and provide unique client experiences.