Mobile Will be Key to Redefining the Branch Experience (Part II)

This 2-part blog series explores the reasons mobile technology will be the key to redefining the branch experience in the coming few years. Let’s begin our second installment with a discussion of:

Guiding Principles for Mobile Innovation in Financial Services:

We have all the digital tools to enable employees to do their jobs. But they’re opaque to the customer, and if—God forbid—our customers saw them, their anxiety would skyrocket when they saw all those fields and boxes. Not only are few of these tools designed to engage, and be shared with, clients, they’re not even designed to be mobile. But, as noted earlier, our clients are busier than ever. We know they’re more comfortable in their own homes or in low-stress locations like a coffee shop (or a branch that looks like a coffee shop!), and the comfort of these environments allows them to open up and share more information—and be more receptive to advice.

So, let’s focus on getting out from behind the big walnut desk and into a comfy sofa, but still be just as—if not more—efficient, and better engage with clients.

To that end, here are a few guiding principles for your mobile innovation journey:

  • Mobile as Enabler of Process Improvement: Mobile is the greatest opportunity since the Internet to rethink and reengineer customer interactions and employee workflows. The opportunities to simplify processes, automate activities by using device-sensor data (camera, GPS, etc.), and integrate data and workflows across siloed systems is immense and can dramatically increase productivity. We want to enable customers and employees to do the work they need, when and where they need to do it.
    Our goal is to remove steps, reduce time, and increase accuracy and repeatability through mobile. Are there net-new capabilities we couldn’t achieve before? That’s how we succeed at driving value.
  • Mobile as a First-Class Citizen: Mobile should no longer be something we “tack-on” later. Every major initiative/project will be evaluated with mobile in mind. It may be determined that mobile is not part of the desired solution, but it will be duly considered.
  • Adopt a More Aggressive Innovation Posture: Though the financial industry as a whole has historically been conservative when it comes to technology and digital solutions, we will be decidedly, but reasonably, less so. Our role is to think about what we can do and align this with what customers and employees expect today and into the future.
  • Align with Business Drivers: Not all mobile ideas are created equal. And no company has unlimited resources to design, develop and support mobile applications. So, the app projects we advance must support the goals of the company. Each new idea should be evaluated not simply within the context of “can we do it” or “can we afford it,” but “how well does this align with the established company Business Drivers?” This answer guides how we prioritize which app ideas to pull forward into the planning process—and eventually production.
  • Focus on Moments That Matter: Don’t worry about features. For a given role—say, a financial advisor, think about how we can use technology to improve conversations with clients and prospective clients. What can we do to better educate our clients and build trust in face-to-face meetings? How can we help gather the information to better understand the needs of our clients and dynamically turn that info into strategies to meet financial objectives?
  • Employ Day-in the Life and Prototyping in Our Design Methodology: One special technique we use is an observational technique called a Day-in-the-Life (DiTL), where we shadow target users as they perform their daily tasks with the goal of identifying unspoken requirements and workarounds. The DiTL asks what problems they have. We watch what employees and end users do. We make note of wherever it deviates from standard operating procedures. Wherever logical, and possible, we look for life-hacks they perform to make their jobs more efficient—and integrate these into the go-forward design.
    Before we begin development, we leverage rapid prototyping to test our assumptions and illicit feedback on our initial designs, before we commit to code. This not only allows us to save time and resources, but more importantly lets us deliver products we know will be well-adopted and strike the right balance around change management.
  • Leave No App Behind: It’s a common misconception that apps are build-once-and-we’re done projects. But unlike typical enterprise systems, the mobile ecosystem is constantly evolving. New full OS versions appear every year, bringing new APIs and deprecating others, while security and bug patches are delivered throughout the year. New devices introduce new capabilities or screen sizes. Not to mention newly identified features we want to deploy, or defects and performance improvements we want to address. To ensure our apps keep current, we monitor analytics, manage the backlog and deliver app updates on a regular cadence.
  • Design for Security: We handle sensitive client and company data in just about everything we do. Cloud computing, reusable APIs and WiFi are foundations of our mobile solutions. But being digital/mobile doesn’t make that data any less secure, so long as we’re diligent in our approach and architect for security from the beginning. Competitors have implemented online trading, payments, deposits and more. This is a solved problem in the industry. Just because we’re used to faxes, photocopies and manual input doesn’t make them any more secure—when they’re likely less secure and traceable—than digital solutions.

If any of this has sparked some interest, and you want to learn more about how you can make these concepts a reality ay your company, please feel free to reach out to us , or contact me directly We’d love to help you get started.