SMS: A sound investment for banks

David Lione – March 20, 2018

Why empathy matters and how to use it

In finance, a strong customer experience is the foundation of trust. If you can’t rely on a bank to meet basic customer service standards then you’re unlikely to trust it with your money.

The question for banks is, how do you create this kind of an experience? How do you ensure you’re meeting customer expectations and staying one step ahead of your competitors?

We believe the answer lies in empathy. If you can demonstrate that you’re there for your customers in the moments that matter most, then you’re more likely to form the vital connections that lead to trusting, long-lasting relationships.

But first you need to build these connections. And the best way to do this is through SMS.

Here’s why.

 

SMS and…2FA

The recent wave of major security breaches has undermined consumer trust and changed the way  customers think about data protection. You now need to prove your security credentials up front and demonstrate that you have the right controls in place to protect  their money (and data). Two-factor authentication, or 2FA as it’s known, is one of these controls.

There are many potential authentication “factors” out there – fobs, key cards; people can even use their fingerprints or have retina scans. But text remains the simplest and most accessible option. Your customers always have their phone at hand and they don’t have to download anything to prove their identity. They just follow the simple instructions in your text.

 

SMS and…fraud prevention

Few banks can guarantee outright prevention of fraud. But you can limit the consequences and maintain consumer confidence after the fact. You just need to be direct, honest and responsive when engaging   of fraud.

Speed of response is important here. Whether or not a customer’s finances are at risk (and by the time you’ve flagged and frozen suspicious transactions, they usually aren’t), fraud feels urgent.

That’s why SMS is perfect. Customers receive an automated text asking them to authorize suspicious transactions. And if the purchase is confirmed as fraudulent, they’re given simple instructions on what to do next. It’s quick, accurate and non-intrusive. And best of all, it strengthens your customer relationships by turning an anxiety-inducing situation into a reassuring experience.

 

SMS and…empathetic transactions

Setting up notifications at the point of purchase can give customers vital information exactly when they need it most.

Say you’re out shopping. You’ve just made your first purchase when you feel a buzz in your pocket. It’s your bank, notifying you that you’ve fallen below a pre-agreed balance. Lo and behold, a bill payment has come out of your account unexpectedly. Definitely not ideal, but now you can return your purchase, safe in the knowledge you won’t incur overdraft fees (or be forced to eat instant ramen for the rest of the week).

SMS is great for helping customers catch issues like this in-the-moment. But more than just

speed, it’s a convenient, sensitive and empathetic interaction that doesn’t get in the way.

 

SMS and…why RCS is next

The biggest threats to your customer experience are uncertainty and anxiety. Showing your customers that you care about them is a great way to allay these fears. And SMS is the best way to deliver empathetic messages at precisely the right time.

But there’s a new communications standard right around the corner that’s going to change everything.

Rich Communications Services (RCS) is a brand-new form of interactive messaging that combines the reach and cut-through of SMS with the elegance and functionality of mobile apps.

RCS supports high-resolution photos, one-touch action and reply buttons, audio messaging, in-message branding, geolocation (and much more). And it gives you customer data around delivery and read receipts so you can improve text campaigns in near real-time.

This is a seismic shift, and the full potential of RCS is only just becoming clear. But first you need to get SMS right so you can hit the ground running once RCS goes mainstream.

That means it’s time to show a little empathy.

See how SMS is helping FICO fight fraud. Read our case study now.

 

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