Is everyone on board with mobile banking?

Mobile Banking post

There’s a famous scene in the 1994 thriller movie The Professional when Norman Stansfield, played by Gary Oldman, learns that a critical mission has gone awry and calls for backup. “I told you. Benny, bring me everyone,” he says calmly. Benny asks, “What do you mean ‘everyone’?”

Suddenly, Stansfield goes ballistic: “Everyone!!!”

At Adobe Summit 2016 in Las Vegas last month, speaker Giles Richardson, head of digital analytics at the Royal Bank of Scotland, played this movie clip to show both the urgency and need to have lots of people at a company working together to test, analyze and optimize the digital customer journey.

In the banking industry, this message can’t be expressed loud enough.

“Your [customer] experience is your brand, and your digital touch points now form the majority of your experience.” – Giles Richardson, RBS

RBS is a 300-year-old bank with 25 million global customers (including the Queen) and more than a trillion dollars in assets, yet its main business branch today is the 7:01 train from Reading to Paddington. More than 167,000 RBS customers use the mobile banking app between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on their commute to work every day.

“Your [customer] experience is your brand, and your digital touch points now form the majority of your experience,” Richardson says, adding, “We’re proud of our history, but the thing we care about is actually the last 10 seconds that our customers just spent online.”

So it’s a little shocking to learn that a lot of banks don’t have a mobile app for customers. PricewaterhouseCoopers surveyed 544 digital transformation executives at financial institutions: 30 percent said their company does not offer a mobile app, and 18 percent are currently developing one. That’s nearly half without a mobile app today.

If banks think they can catch up by cobbling a mobile app and launching digital features, they’re setting themselves up to fail. Mobile and other digital efforts need to be strategically planned rather than haphazardly thrown together.

Related: Earn Customer Trust, Avoid Betrayal

The latter is a mistake RBS made in the early days of its digital transformation. RBS would quickly launch a feature or content without any testing or measurement tools, and Richardson says top executives would applaud the effort with an email saying something like, “Congratulations guys, this takes us closer to our strategic aims.”

But RBS learned the hard way about Adobe’s adage that 80 percent of everything you do online doesn’t work in the way that you think that it would. “We were probably making it worse as much as we were making it better,” Richardson says.

And so Richardson pivoted and put together a program—dubbed Superstar DJ—that organizes and empowers people to run tests and optimize digital efforts. The program includes 50 customer journey managers who conduct hundreds of tests. With customer behavior, for instance, RBS learned from tests that “missing out” statements performed better than “stand to gain” statements.

There are signs that banks are starting to get the mobile message. A new report co-sponsored by Efma, a Paris-based, not-for-profit association of 3,300 retail and financial services companies in more than 130 countries, and video collaboration vendor Vidyo, found that four out of five banks recognize that online and mobile banking improves customer engagement. Ninety-three percent said they expect customer satisfaction to improve if a high quality video banking service was implemented.

But taking the leap into uncharted digital and mobile waters, let alone mobile video, won’t be easy. In order for banks to begin the digital transformation, they must overcome a conservative, risk-adverse mindset. Case-in-point: When Richardson told higher ups that he wanted to create the Superstar DJ program, they said “no way.”

“We did it anyway,” he says. “The mantra is, be fearless.”

Five2ndWindow logo

Tom Kaneshige is editor of Five2ndWindow, Penton’s independent news site helping marketers and line-of-business executives get ahead of the mobile disruption happening to the customer experience. You can reach him at

Leave a Reply