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Embracing a Customer-centric Mobile Strategy - How Financial Institutions Can Meet Business Objectives and Delight Customers

We've always known that you never get a second chance to make a first impression and it couldn't be truer than it is with mobile financial services. It takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand, and as noted in Akamai's recent whitepaper "Digital Transformation, Millennials and the Future of Financial Services", 52% of mobile financial services customers expect pages to load in two seconds or less, while 23% expect instant page load. Consumer's high expectations for mobile financial services, coupled with the rise of digitally native competition, mean the stakes have never been higher for banks and insurers looking to acquire new customers. When banks and insurers get this right and delight customers with exceptional digital experiences, it becomes much easier to sell additional products, prove value, and create loyal customers. Loyal customers are the ultimate nirvana for financial institutions because the added cost of selling another product to an existing customer is often only about ten percent of the cost of selling that same product to a new customer.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your customer remains central to your mobile strategy.

Create a Mobile Experience Your Users Trust

In today's age of social media, financial institutions can monitor customer perception through online conversation and understand more than ever the importance of building and maintaining customer relationships built on trust. Mobile financial services customers must feel confident that financial institutions are safeguarding their data. When banks and insurers break this trust, it can bring commercial, reputational, regulatory and legal penalties. When the focus is on building trust through a comprehensive security posture, the rewards can be great in terms of customer trust and confidence. To protect this trust, at a time when financial services institutions are at an increased risk of more frequent and sophisticated efforts to compromise their web and mobile sites and applications, they can trust Akamai as an important partner with the necessary security intelligence designed to provide comprehensive insight into how malicious actors are attacking digital properties.

Measure the Business Impact of your Mobile Channel

Measuring page load times, as experienced by your end users, will help you gain insights as to your customers' overall experience and is a critical step in improving site performance. By measuring performance across a highly fragmented landscape and correlating these measurements against the key business metrics of each revenue channel, you can identify specific performance gaps and refocus on features and capabilities when appropriate. Real user monitoring enables you to make informed decisions and quickly rectify problems as related to performance geographies, browsers, devices, and connectivity settings. Collecting and analyzing the data individually, rather than looking at the overall average performance, will help you understand your users and deliver optimized experiences based on their individual needs.

Responsive Web Design

Most financial institutions today understand they need to build responsive websites. Many are well along their way on the responsive journey; Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union, BNZ Bank in New Zealand and Jyske Bank in Denmark are just a few examples. Responsive Web Design (RWD) suggests that web design and development should respond to the user's behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation. It is cost-effective, easy to manage, and great for search engine optimization. Unfortunately, using the same code for all devices can introduce a performance penalty mainly caused by over-downloading images, and today, 60% of average page weight (2Mb) is images. In order to provide a great mobile user experience while leveraging the increase in graphics and the benefits of RWD, financial institutions must become device aware, improve performance and increase offload by using responsive images, caching APIs, and implementing content acceleration.

Keep It Simple

Financial services can be complex, so mobile experiences need to focus on simplicity. Complicated processes, disjointed accounts, and legacy technology can result in dissatisfied customers who will seek more streamlined, user-friendly solutions and providers. When financial services customers interact with a mobile device, they generally have a particular task in mind - whether it's checking a balance, making a deposit, or seeking a specific product. For financial services institutions looking to succeed in the mobile environment, they must focus on delivering concise, relevant content as quickly as possible, displaying it in a seamless and appealing format, and providing the desired end result with as few clicks and as little scrolling as possible. Provide a solution for customers to simplify their financial lives, and you will be rewarded with loyal customers who will become your best advocates.

In today's competitive and dynamic environment, it is no longer good enough to execute a mobile strategy - you have to execute an optimized mobile experience in order to stay competitive, win customers and retain their loyalty. Providing customers with the types of experiences they want isn't simply a matter of preventing churn. Optimizing the mobile customer experience and making it easier for customers to interact with your financial institution via mobile will help lead to better mobile engagement, by delivering on your customer's expectations for exceptional experiences.