For most Americans, the sphere of influence in the banking world has drastically increased with the invention of mobile banking. There were nearly 197 million mobile banking users in the United States in March 2021, and it is forecasted to reach almost 217 million by 2025.1 And today, the majority—if not all— of the loan process from application to approval conveniently takes place on a mobile device. The choice of which financial institution to partner with is no longer limited by driving distance, and consumers can access the world’s best financial products at their fingertips.
While there are countless benefits to mobile and digital banking, it comes with it’s own set of challenges with customer experience. Financial institutions must find ways to inject humanity and foster relationships in a digital world where there may never be face-to-face opportunities to connect. The solution: Employ the heart of face-to-face communication — conversation—to drive the user experience.
Conversation builds deeper relationships, drives engagement, creates loyalty, and fosters brand loyalty. SMS is the most effective, accessible, and cost-effective channel through which to hold these conversations, but many providers are only using SMS for alerts or one-way messages. Opening your texting channel for responses dramatically increases the time it takes to resolve issues and further connects you to your customer.
SMS is a highly engaging channel that averages 60 seconds for a response, while it takes nearly 60 minutes for email responses.2 The response rate alone makes SMS a superior tool for any financial service provider looking to connect with consumers. Still, when dealing with secure and sensitive information, trust is also critical. Consumers are more likely to trust SMS thanks to its low spam rates (2.8%) and compliance protection.3 The gatekeepers of the SMS industry highly regulate and enforce a strict standard of compliance to keep it from going the way of email and its 53% spam rate. (3)
Why Customers Reach Out
Before we look further into how a conversational approach with SBT’s Two-Way Texting benefits your bottom line, we first need to understand why consumers engage with businesses. A conversational commerce study commissioned by Facebook4 found that the top reasons a shopper messaged brands were product and pricing information (45%), quick response rates (35%), convenience (33%), personalization (31%), and negotiation (30%). In a different study by Forrester, customers proved that they wanted a friendly, responsive, and thoughtful relationship with companies. 57% were more loyal to the brand when communication had a human element. 58% said it would increase their loyalty to the brand.5
With 98% of the US population using smartphones, it makes sense to initiate a conversation on a device they most certainly have.6 SMS’ native capabilities mean your financial institution does not have to worry about the customer downloading an app or being a member of a social platform to connect with you. 89% of people always have their phone within arm’s reach.7
Conversation and Your Bottom Line
Engaging in conversations with customers leads to a wealth of knowledge about their needs and preferences. Now that we understand consumers are looking for a human connection, let’s dive into ways a conversational strategy benefits your bottom line. The intelligence gained from an approach that includes Two-Way Texting helps you serve your customer’s immediate needs and will guide your product development, service initiatives, and team culture for years to come.
1. Increase sales with personalized communication.
Personalization is a significant factor in humanizing your digital presence. 72% of consumers polled said they would only engage with messaging from a business if it is personalized.8 Financial service providers have the opportunity to take a data-driven approach to personalization by recommending products, services, and solutions that align with their customers’ previous actions through SMS. 95% in this study achieved a 3x ROI from their personalization efforts and increased their annual profitability.8 Providing recommendations based on an understanding of your customers’ needs increases sales and customer satisfaction.
2. Maximize the customer experience with an open line of communication.
Customer experience makes or breaks relationships. For financial institutions, two key areas to focus customer experience efforts on would be education and customer service. A wide age range of users utilize mobile banking platforms to perform everything from viewing statements to applying for a loan. Mobile banking trends show that more senior adults use mobile banking to pay bills than the digital native Gen Zers.9 The most valuable mobile banking features in this 2020 study were mobile check deposits, statements, account balance views, funds transfers, and bill payments.10 Making sure users can perform these functions without frustration is vital to the customer experience. Enter SMS! This open line of communication provides direct access to customer support teams for troubleshooting and helping customers get the most out of the mobile offerings. Service teams are empowered to provide competent, convenient, and personalized support that nurtures the customer relationship for long-term success.
3. Open feedback channels lead to better products, services, and teams.
Financial institutions can use data to direct their products, services, and strategies across the company. While data plays a critical role, it’s important to recognize that numbers can’t always tell us everything we need to know about the nuances in human emotions. A wealth of knowledge can be gained when customers and financial service providers have an established relationship with a feedback loop. Customer feedback is invaluable and benefits the entire company. Teams benefit from positive feedback leading to higher morale and employee retention. When feedback is less than glowing, providers can tweak their approach in real-time. Financial institutions can use SMS to send feedback surveys or directly reach out to customers about their latest experiences.
Add Conversation to Your Strategy With SMS
SBT’s Two-Way Texting is a versatile tool that can be used in every aspect of your business, from marketing and sales to customer service and compliance. Teams can access a library of compliant, brand-voiced templates to help them start conversations with customers and prospects. Conversation humanizes your digital presence, shows customers that you are interested in serving them, and is valuable to the entire organization. SMS is a cost-effective solution that most American consumers use daily. In fact, 2.2 trillion text messages were delivered in 2020, an increase of 119 billion from the year before.11 This popular communication tool is only continuing to grow its reach. Improve your bottom line by starting a conversation with your customers over SMS. They’ll be happy you did.