Beyond Self-Service - Mobile Apps Nigeria 2016
The concept of self-service has long been a priority for Customer Service departments looking for time saving channels outside standard restraints like office hours, proximity to a physical branch or office location. The idea that the customer can make decisions, purchases, or secure information at their leisure, is one that has been gaining traction for some time, and has been revolutionized by the advent of mobile communications and the mobile application. Consumers now, like never before, have a wealth of information and functionality at their fingertips, whether they are banking, buying petrol, shopping in supermarkets or simply travelling from A to B, the timesaving, queue busting, price crashing potential for ‘self-service’ is unprecedented.
For Mobile Banking applications, this translates into giving the customer complete control over and access to their finances. For the wider Financial services’ sector, including Pensions, Investment Management and Securities, Mobile applications can deliver a degree of customer engagement previously unimaginable: employer pension contributions can be monitored, balances can be checked, portfolios and investments can be viewed – all on-the-go and without any need for physical interaction. This works for the customer as well as for their service provider, while also serving to enhance accountability. With information, comes power.
Vanso, through our market leading financial technology solutions, including mobile banking, security, payments and messaging services, sees the concept of self-service developing further in 2016 to become smarter, even more intuitive and more widely used.
The functionality of the first generation of Mobile Banking Applications in Nigeria was largely informational and non-transactional due to the relatively unsophisticated nature of handsets. With the proliferation of smartphones in the market and the leaps-and-bounds technology has made in the meantime, today’s smartphone banking apps have taken advantage of certain functionality, particularly with regard to security and authentication. Features such as Touch-ID and an array of facial-recognition software, enabled through the phone’s camera, have allowed biometrics to be applied at the point of securing a transaction or of logging in securely.
Just as some smartphone users only utilize a fraction of the phone’s processing power and functionality – treating it as a glorified watch, alarm clock and camera – those who download and become regular users of their mobile banking apps range from those who use it as their go-to banking channel to those who merely scratch the surface of the digital mobile experience. The latter user may restrict their app use to simply checking their account balance when previously the only way to have done so would have been to make a call or visit an ATM or bank branch. From our analytics tool we are able to see that account balance enquiries spike at the end and beginning of a month when salaries are expected. The go-to channel users in the former instance it would seem use the app as a one-stop-shop for all their banking, airtime, data and leisure needs.
The imminent discontinuation of counter cheques can be seen as another timely move to cheaper channels with a lower cost of transaction and for a more frictionless customer experience – the personal cheque itself now seems an anachronism in the new digital banking age – although the app can even help with that!
We also expect card management features to become even more dynamic in 2016 – currently customers can enable and disable their bankcards directly from the app. Soon, the suite of card management features will expand to include options to enable and disable cards by channel (whether ATM, online, or another) and also by location and time. The GPS on your handset knows where you are and so by extension does the bank – whether you are travelling overseas or are picked up by a location beacon when you need to physically visit a bank branch. Self-Service kiosks have begun to appear in banking halls by way of mounted tablets and touch screen devices to bring mobile banking features to those without smartphones or the ability to get online. The entire approach of banks, and other financial institutions to customer engagement, and acquisition, is changing as a result. Take push messaging for example. If my bank can now communicate directly with me, through an App, they have a brand new marketing, and feedback channel. The App enhances self-service, but also brings customer service closer. The question, for those looking at financial inclusion, and the Nigerian banking environment more generally, is will it drive uptake in banking more generally. Can we use technology to drive the financial inclusion agenda and make self-service available to all? 2016 will likely see an even greater focus from the bank’s on the retail market, so competition for customers will hot up!
Nigeria’s banks, through Vanso technology solutions, are operating at the cutting edge of modern banking technology and Nigerian consumers are responding. With this proliferation of new channels and touch points, the banks’ customers are now able to control their finances on-the-go and at the tip of their fingers. Helping the customer to help themselves – with a little help from the bank and their innovative use of technology!