Since the Hayne Royal Commission, the big banking institutions across Australia have been under the microscope, with a focus on putting customers first. 

Key to this newfound vision was the role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), which has helped many financial institutions take the next step in enhancing the customer experience.

Hired to lead the digital transformation of businesses and create more value for customers, this was a position that became even more important overnight as the COVID-19 pandemic forced our focus even further into the realm of online interactions. 

While research found that customer experience and enhancing mobile engagement were the top two priorities for CDOs in financial institutions, Soprano Design’s recent Engaging the neglected 47% report found that only 53% of bank customers are fully adopting the use of banking apps. This is having a profound impact on a bank’s ability to deliver seamless and engaging experiences which can hamstring relationships with customers. 

So what can brands learn from this? 

Sharing communications that add value to one’s day-to-day life is critical to the success of building lasting relationships with customers. Underestimating even the simplest of communications, such as SMS, can be fatal to communicators. 

A recent study found that there’s a 94% open rate on SMS messages by Australians. By using tried and tested formats such as SMS messages, CDOs from fashion brands to the local Jim’s Mowing will be able to achieve this mission critical communication. Meaningfully engaging customers builds trust, nurtures stronger relationships, and cultivates long-term loyalty—which translates to a larger customer base and greater revenue.

To instil this process, CDOs need to actively take three steps to create a better customer experience that ultimately delivers on the bottom line.

Step 1: Improve your mobile communications design strategy to enhance customer engagement

Recognising that your business is in a cluttered market space, such as the financial institutions, is a compelling motivator for improvement. By focusing efforts and resources in proven strategies like personalised, relevant, and meaningful mobile communication, CDOs can kick-start engagement with customers who haven’t yet adopted mobile or online apps. In an omni-channel world with so many diverse touchpoints for brands to tap into, it’s important that your mobile communications strategy is holistic and inclusive of all formats. Failure to accommodate one of these formats can lead to a brand neglecting or missing a key portion of their customer base.

Step 2: Take full control of the mobile customer experience

Allocate the same effort and resources into your mobile communication design that you pour into all of your communications strategies from online to mobile apps. In a best practice model, it is important to think of your online and mobile apps as intrinsically connected to your mobile communications, as they are one in the same.

Nearly all smartphone owners use text messaging on a regular basis. Compared to email, SMS open rates are five times higher and response times are sixty times greater, making SMS a powerful tool for engagement and for cultivating a positive customer experience.

When included in an omnichannel approach, SMS enables brands to provide customers with a completely seamless and integrated experience regardless of a customer’s preferred channel or device.

Step 3: Investing in the right tools for the job

CDOs who invest in a customer-centric mobile communication strategy that prioritises meaningful, personalised engagement by using consumers’ preferred channels are building for a strong digital future.

Recent advancements in mobile communication technology present CDOs with significant branding potential, new ways to interact, and even new opportunities to replace or replicate products and services effectively within a mobile communication channel.

These advancements enable a brand’s messaging to be consistent across all channels, from digital channels like SMS, RCS, and voice to physical store locations which will drive the greatest possible value out of an automated, personalised mobile-messaging strategy. 

On its own, building a strategy for all of these separate tasks can feel impossible—whether that’s texting customers, updating them on Whatsapp and reaching people where they want to be contacted. This is where the right technology can play a vital role in setting businesses up for success. By implementing a Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) solution, an omnichannel approach won’t feel out of reach. Integrating every piece of communication into one platform enables business owners and CDOs to focus on what is really important—the customer. 

CDOs who can deliver on a more meaningful mobile communication experience will gain a strong competitive advantage in an increasingly tough market and create a customer experience that engages more of the at-risk consumers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for brands, particularly financial institutions, to produce transparent and trustworthy communication with the end user in mind—something that all brands, financial or not, can learn from.  

Mohamed Odah is chief technology officer at Soprano Design.