When was the last time you took a good look at your home? Not just a passing glance, but a good, hard look at the outside of your home -- the way others see it!
(If you have a spouse like mine, this happens way too often!)Last March, my wife decided that she wanted to rip out our back patio and to replace it with a deck.
And, since the construction crew would be on site anyway, she decided that it was the perfect time to also enclose the carport and make it into a garage.
Those two remodeling projects begat over a half dozen more. The deck almost doubled in size from her original idea. When she was done tinkering, we had added over 50% to our cost estimate and months to the original remodeling schedule. In fact, it was not until this past month that the last item on our punch list was finally crossed off!
But now that she's looked at the new appearance of our home, my wife has a few more ideas up her sleeves. Thank goodness she is not in charge of her company’s website -- she'd be driving the developers crazy!
I can almost see many of you nodding, even grinning, as you have been through very similar experiences with your own homes.
So, while we're on the topic, when was the last time you took a good look at your own home….your home page, that is? Both on your company's website and its mobile app?
This exercise (as part of a larger delivery system optimization initiative) is a very important one that needs to be undertaken on a regular basis, certainly no less than annually, to avoid becoming stale. In addition, this exercise allows your company to take advantage of some of the newest technologies than can be used to draw customers to your company's online presence, and more importantly, to engage these customers and keep them there longer.
There are a number of exciting developments happening with the new look of bank home pages.
The stories featured of the revamped home page also give Chase additional ways to connect with people online. Customers might visit the site to check their accounts, but a story posted to Twitter could bring a slew of additional people to the website. Furthermore, the format is set up like Vox.com where one story flows into the next, giving readers the chance to scroll through story after story.
Bank of America recently eliminated its two factor authentication process. Now its customers can enter both their user names and passwords right on the Bank of America home page, eliminating several steps in the process of logging on. In addition, its single site log on process also allows customers to toggle between accounts at the bank and accounts at Merrill Lynch seamlessly, and without having to log on a second time, no matter which website you go to first.
(By the way, please consider calling this process “signing in” versus “logging on” if you want to be a little more customer friendly!)
Personalizing — or at least humanizing — the digital experience is trending upward:
Wells Fargo launched an e-magazine last year with the intention of adding a personal touch to its brand and to engage customers.
Capital One now allows people to attach selfies through its mobile app.
USAA, often considered a leader in digital innovation, has also been focused on building personalization into its mobile app.
Because smartphones have many built-in customer identification features that tie a particular device to a registered user, financial institutions can customize their mobile apps around this technology.
For example, because the number one use of a bank's mobile app is to check account balances, a customer can be authenticated once and balances can be displayed without having to log in again and again unless the user wants to perform something transactional.
Fidelity Investments allows a customer to remain logged in for 30 days on their mobile app. Something worth considering for your bank’s mobile home page.
Or how about using the geo-location features of the smartphone to show your bank’s nearest branches and ATM locations?
This technology can even work on your bank’s website.
Umpqua Bank is using visitor IP addresses to showcase branches in a customer's city, but also goes one step further by asking permission to use the customer's location. If granted, Umpqua shows the exact branch closest to where the customer is. The branch name, address, and contact information are showcased right across the top of the screen.
Finally, (and I love this little extra touch), during open hours, there is an old-school “Now Open” sign in the right-hand corner. Umpqua Bank could even go one step further and add the temperature and maybe the time right below for a little old style bank nostalgia in a complex digital world.
For a bit more information on the importance of revisiting your home page, I recommend taking a look at a recent study from Synergistics Research, in which the data suggests that a bank’s home page is in and of itself a very important customer engagement/online banking contact channel.
William H. McCracken, CEO of SYNERGISTICS, stated, “A financial institution’s own website is the widest and most frequent point of digital contact with its customer base and should be the central – and high priority – focus of digital marketing strategies. Informational and marketing content on websites should be updated and improved on a continual basis. In addition, consumers find the information on financial institution websites more valuable than the information on social media. As a first step in digital marketing, financial providers should focus on their own websites for meeting the needs of current and potential customers.”
So, how do the digital front doors to your bank look? Are they inviting to your guests? Do your virtual visitors want to come inside over and over again?