Consumer Insight: Past the Finishing Line

PBF Client Services Manager Michelle Davies looks at tips to getting consumers past the finishing line when it comes to online account opening.

Just as online banking has overtaken its branch and telephone-based counterparts, savers increasingly expect to be able to both open and fund a new account seamlessly over the internet. But it’s one thing building an online customer application portal and another thing altogether getting consumers to engage with the process and open an account. 

At PBF, we’ve helped new entrant banks to on-board over 150,000 new savers through our platforms, and we know that often the devil is in the detail when it comes to getting consumers past the finishing line.

User Experience

It goes without saying that a critical success factor is the web site itself.  The user journey needs to be engaging, with clear sign-posting of what the consumer needs to do and where they are in the process at each stage.

With over 30% of savings account applications now taking place on mobiles and tablets, it’s essential that the web site works across all devices.  Typically this means the site should have a “responsive” design, which means the application form resizes itself to the the screen size it’s being viewed on.  The days of having different “desktop” and “mobile” versions of a web site are fast coming to an end, not least due to the array of different devices and screen sizes that are out there.

Building Confidence

Even with a compelling web site and application process, consumers may abandon the application process if they aren’t confident in your brand or the experience they might have after depositing funds.  Drop-offs can happen during the application process or even afterwards, where a consumer doesn’t fund the account as expected.  Working with many of the UK’s new entrant banks, at PBF we know that newer brands on the market (or established banks that are new to UK retail deposit raising) need to work that bit harder to build consumer confidence along the journey.

There are numerous approaches and techniques that can be applied to overcome this, but here are my top 3 picks:

Unified web sites

Where the application process is being hosted on a sub-domain or micro site that is distinct from the main bank web site, it’s essential that the two sites look the same and carry the same corporate messaging.  Often a consumer will look at the main bank web site to check “credibility”,  and if the sites look and feel different then consumers may abandon the application process.  In our experience, application start rates are 50% higher on savings sites that are “unified” with the main banking site.

Promoting FSCS protection

FSCS protection is a key benefit for UK savers and banks that reinforce the message that deposits are protected up to £85,000 per individual per firm tend to secure more applications than those that leave it as “a given”.  This is especially the case for new bank brands or overseas banking brands in the UK.   In our experience, application forms that highlight the FSCS logo secure over 3% more applications than those that do not.

Succinct Application processes

Its a proven approach in online retailing and it’s just as relevant to saving accounts: the easier you make it for consumers to complete the application process, the more likely they are to make it past the finishing line.  For savings applications, this means minimising the stages required from starting the application through to completing it, whilst maintaining those essential regulatory checks.  In our experience, application forms with 5 or fewer stages convert at a 20% higher rate than those with more than 5 stages.

 

 

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