Monday, 11 July 2011

First Direct's eCRM strategy setting the industry standards high

The former telephone only banking giant has taken the online banking with a storm, focusing on market leading eCRM that has won it various awards for many years running. A quick glance at the website reveals just why this is. 

First Direct offers several different types of channels that enable customers to access their account. These channels include:
            - Internet Banking
            - Mobile Banking and a Mobile app
            - Telephone Banking
            - Internet Baking Plus (compiles all finances under one service)

All the services provide users with an overview and in detailed information as well as demos and video tutorials of the different features. The site in general provides extensive amount of esthetically formatted information on different topics related to banking, investing, insurances and loans. Use of social media is limited to recently launched Facebook page and Twitter account. Lack of physical branches means that the information customers need, has to be clearly written and easily found, which First Direct does well. The over all feeling of the site and it’s extensive amount of different types of content creates a comforting feeling of the reliability of the bank and ease of service. 

Six suggested initiatives for First Direct
Even though the bank is kicking ass at award shows, there are few things it could improve upon.  

1. Social Media
         - Increase the amount of content posted /published through social media
- Seasonal tips (student loan information before semester, travel insurance reminders before winter holidays)

2. “Human” Face to the site
- Take the First Direct style / approach and apply it to a virtual assistant or “Live Help” feature that would enable chatting with a service representative.

3. Extended security education
- Expand the Online Security section to cover sections that are especially meant for the “elder generations” with video tutorials.
- Have an online “Security training course” that will cover the things people should watch out for and cover in detail how people can keep their account safe. (Videos and pictures of different situations with multiple-choice questions)

4. Instructions on how to manage situations in life
- Expand the information sections to cover more detailed information about the different situations in life when people are in need of a bank. Provide customers with more than just content directly related to its services (example Kiboo)

5. Using your phone as a debit card / mobile wallet
- Enable payments using mobile by using NFC. This would enable customers to make shopping more convenient and First Direct to be on the forefront of modern banking as mobile payments become mainstream (source The Guardian)

6. Proper budget analysis software
- Provide customers with a proper financial tool with budgeted expenses weeks, months and years (example Mint). The tool could work as an app that is can be synced with customers’ bank account. Expenses could be categorized (food, gas, entertainment) and customers could make yearly profit estimation.

The profit estimation would calculate customer’s net income and deduct weekly average expenses. An unexpected expense deduction would be made based on customer’s hobbies, interests ect. (skydiving car enthusiasts).