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Essential resources for banking executivesEnter ‘Banking Reinvented’

Deepening customer relationships to become the preferred financial app

Find out how Raiffeisen and SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union have embraced customer-centricity, setting them on the path to become the preferred financial app.

Backbase engage stage schoolsfirst

In 2022, Apple Pay surpassed Mastercard in terms of transaction volumes, largely driven by its inherent simplicity of use. And they’re not alone. In fact, we’ve seen similar stories of growth across the market, including Amazon’s continuing success, which it owes to its one-click purchase, same-day delivery, and recommendation features. The growth of these services illustrates two related trends: digital disruptors are everywhere, and they fully intend to own the customer relationship as the preferred financial app.

Understanding and helping customers achieve their goals is the path to preferred-app status.

Rachael Lord,
Head of Retail Banking at Backbase

Unfortunately, seamless journeys aren’t yet the norm in retail banking, where it can take more than 30 steps and over 36 days to open a new account. But here’s the good news – the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform is already beginning to change this for banks and credit unions around the world.

Our Engagement Banking Platform (EBP) helps retail banks craft the seamless journeys their customers expect, combined with top-notch digital and human service, all unified under the umbrella of financial wellness. It empowers employees with the right information at the right time while simultaneously giving customers the self-service tools they demand, as well as instant access to personal support. With actionable prompts about spending and cash flow and rewards for achieving goals, customers can finally realize their dreams of true financial wellness. Account aggregation further enables this, highlighting key spending categories and comparing the customer’s spending to a benchmark.

The EBP comes pre-integrated with curated fintechs so retail banks and credit unions can provide their customers with seamless journeys, growing customer loyalty on a single out-of-the-box platform.

At Backbase ENGAGE 2022, I had the privilege to speak with leaders from Raiffeisen Switzerland and SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union about how they’re becoming the preferred financial app for their customers and members. Let’s explore a few of their insights.

Raiffeisen Switzerland

Raiffeisen Switzerland is the third-largest Swiss bank, with 1.7 million digital users, including more than 40% of the country’s population. But when it came to digital journeys, Raiffeisen had its sights set even higher.

Our digital channels were very fragmented – we had different websites and different applications, each with a different look and feel, so there was no consistency in the digital experience.

Laure Frank,
Head of Digital Business at Raiffeisen

Putting the customer in the center of their business model really clarified Raiffeisen’s vision of what their customers need, which enabled the bank to reduce the complexity of their products and create a single digital touchpoint for a consistent user experience.

Harmonizing the digital and physical experience was another one of Frank’s priorities, so customers could have a consistent experience, regardless of whether they use the app, call on the phone, or visit a branch. Raiffeisen also launched a UX lab to help track the refreshed customer journeys and identify customer pains, allowing them to use those insights to further improve the overall experience. It’s clear that Raiffeisen has prioritized its customer experience, seeing this as the path to continued relevance in a crowded and ever-evolving market.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

As the largest credit union in California, SchoolsFirst FCU reflects the needs of its members, and that’s clearly demonstrated by its 90.8 Net Promoter Score. This high level of engagement has allowed SchoolsFirst to become their members' trusted advisor. In fact, 78.4% of their members say they’ve achieved financial wellbeing. That’s why Mark Rapp, SVP, Strategic Marketing at SchoolsFirst says they’re member-first, not digital-first.

Like all modern banking customers, our members have high and evolving expectations, and we know we are always being compared to our members’ last best digital experience – whether that be Starbucks, Amazon, or Netflix. To have high digital adoption and engagement, you must have high engagement through human touch channels; one channel can’t stand on its own.

Mark Rapp,
SVP, Strategic Marketing at SchoolsFirst

Two key priorities for SchoolsFirst are refinement and confidence. For Rapp, refinement is about always soliciting feedback from members and listening to how they can improve the digital experience. It’s a constant process of listening, learning, testing, improving, and delivering; and then repeat.

SchoolsFirst’s confidence comes down to having digital channels that are reliable and ready to serve, allowing members to manage their finances, anytime, anywhere. If their app doesn’t work as expected, it has a huge impact on the brand. One practical example is two-factor authentication: “As a financial institution, we are in the risk business, so how do we balance two-factor authentication with delivering a world-class experience,” Rapp said.

SchoolsFirst’s focus on member engagement – and remaining a trusted financial advisor – has resulted in their members’ financial wellbeing. When Rapp and his team asked their members what financial wellbeing looked like to them, they defined it as the moment at the end of the month when they’ve paid their bills and have a little extra to do something for themselves and their families. SchoolsFirst’s wellbeing strategy is to give members control over day-to-day and month-to-month finances, freedom to make choices to enjoy their life, and the capacity to absorb a financial emergency or shock.

Embracing the customer-first era

As Raiffeisen and SchoolsFirst have shown, the path to becoming your customers’ and members’ preferred financial app begins with having a deep understanding of their needs and then striving to meet them each and every day. Simply digitizing your offerings doesn’t cut it in the customer-first era. You have to give them the services they want, when they want them – and sometimes even before they realize what they want. By leveraging the strengths of the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform, you’ll be able to do this, allowing you to make a huge impact in a short amount of time. No matter the size of your financial institution, we’re committed to helping you succeed so you can thrive in this new era of banking.

Backbase ENGAGE 2022 brought together hundreds of industry leaders and technical experts to learn and share progress on their respective journeys into the platform era. This is a part of a series of recaps drawn from those sessions. Click here to learn more about what happens at ENGAGE.