Today’s consumers lead a mobile-centric lifestyle. But for retail banks and the personal finance industry, mobile still remains a largely untapped resource. This must change if financial companies want to connect properly with their customers.

In a four-part series, Adrian Sarosi of mobile engagement platform provider OpenMarket highlights how consumer financial service providers can learn from other industries on how to use mobile for effective customer engagement.

In Part Two, Adrian continues his look at the lessons for high street banks and other consumer finance companies from the gambling industry, on using mobile to increase customer acquisition and retention, and also boost revenue. You can read part one here!

Part Two: Mobile for better customer engagement

Are you who you say you are?

The gambling industry, like financial services, is highly regulated. This includes guaranteeing that users are old enough to legally use their services. To address this, mobile gambling service providers such as mFortune use Multi-Media Messaging (MMS) as a convenient and inexpensive method for players to prove their age. To set up an account, the prospective player uses MMS to send to the provider a photo of their passport, driving license or other approved proof of ID that shows their date of birth.

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Using MMS means the gaming provider can speed up the application process, validate the customer’s age, and get them playing that much quicker. A bank or financial services company can use MMS in the same affordable and easy way to validate a prospective customer’s age, identity and other details when setting up a new account or authorising a transaction.

An enhanced experience for all

Mobile messaging can also add value to the customer experience in a way that is helpful and personal to the user without being intrusive. For example, somebody out shopping could immediately check the balance on their current account by sending a request to their bank via a shortcode. Likewise, a bank or credit card company can send a timely SMS alert to its customers notifying them of when a payment has cleared their account, when they are approaching their credit limit, or if they are in danger of going overdrawn on their account.

The convenience and the universal reach of SMS across all types of mobile device can also play an important part in tackling credit and debit card fraud. If a bank or credit company picks up unusual (and potentially fraudulent) activity on a customer account – such as an exceptionally large purchase or cash withdrawal: or an unexpected foreign transaction – the bank can immediately send an SMS alert to the customer, highlighting the transaction and asking them to authorise it with a return message.

Removing the risk

This removes the double risk of mistakenly blocking a valid transaction and incurring the wrath of your customer, while also protecting yourself and your customer from fraud. Furthermore, SMS massively reduces customer service costs as a replacement for an expensive contact centre used for checking suspicious transactions with customers. By comparison, an SMS can be sent immediately and cheaply, having been first purchased as part of a large-scale order.

The value of mobile

These examples and experiences demonstrate the value of mobile as a mechanism for better, more intelligent customer engagement and retention based on an intuitive understanding of your customers’ preferences and needs.

However you as a service provider use mobile to engage with your customer, always remember that the interaction must be relevant and useful and reinforce their relationship with your brand. You don’t want an ineffective or unwanted engagement via the mobile channel to lose the trust that you’ve already carefully built up with your customer away from their mobile phone.



Adrian Sarosi of mobile engagement platform provider OpenMarket