What lessons and best-in-class strategies can businesses take from Wells Fargo’s mobile strategy?

The number of active mobile bank users is expected to rise over the course of the next few years and traditional retails banks need to provide apps that meet this demand. As this number of expected mobile banking users rises, so will new and disruptive platforms and financial services that will eagerly steal share from traditional banks who are unable to meet their customer base’s changing needs for mobile. One bank that is making headway in meeting and, in some cases exceeding, customer demand is Wells Fargo.

Staying one step ahead of customer expectation

Wells Fargo first introduced its mobile banking application as part of its overall mobile banking strategy in 2012. This was in addition to rolling out SMS triggered alerts/notifications (Rapid Alerts), and its mobile-optimized website for its online banking users.

Through their innovation site, Wells Fargo Labs, the company invites early adopters to test new features, products, and services before testing revised items to a broader base of users, and eventually rolling out these new offerings. Wells Fargo Labs has built a community of beta-testing and a culture of feedback by allowing any early adopters to test out the latest ideas and share their thoughts.

Creating a customer-centric app

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to banking needs. Wells Fargo has understood, early-on, the value behind differentiating mobile content and messages from content more appropriate for other channels like desktop, branch, and ATM. Its incorporation of a mobile banking app added to existing functionalities that complements, as opposed to replaces, older channels.

By driving a clear delineation behind best use-cases for mobile versus online versus in-person services for customers, retail banks like Wells Fargo may ensure that their mobile content strategies are not only aligned to the mobile context, but also align with current and future customer needs and values.

Overall, banks need to facilitate the varying needs of the emerging customers and the changing demands of their user base if they are to continue meeting the needs of a rapidly expanding mobile banking population. By defining accurate customer profiles and developing mobile personas based on the current (retention) and future (acquisition) customers, banks may execute a mobile strategy for a broader customer base. This will allow them to match varying sophistication levels and differing form and function demands.

Wells Fargo continues to rise to the challenge by iteratively testing, piloting, and validating features through many different end-users. It is clear that users of all sophistication level will demand form and function before using a tool—a clear, intuitive interface, and functions/features that match their different values and key banking needs. By creating personas for customers, Wells Fargo helps to drive better user experiences that fit the needs the customers. This also provides insight into where they have pain points and require additional support from mobile services.

Addressing security concerns through innovation

Wells Fargo has implemented different tactics within their mobile strategy to address customer’s security concerns. Customers are provided with instructional videos to show mobile banking benefits, and the inclusion of mobile banking within their overall security guarantee. Wells Fargo also provides a link on its native app login screen explaining the mobile and online security policy.

Additionally, Wells Fargo announced plans to roll out a new eye-scan for mobile app sign in by July 2016. This biometric functionality will only be available to their commercial lending customers—those who handle millions of dollars worth of transactions. While the larger portion of their customers are missing out—for now—it’s these kinds of offerings that show the headway Wells Fargo is making in terms of mobile banking. It’s also worth noting that the company also plans to release the eye-scanning functionality ahead of the fingerprint identification that apps like Bank of America, Chase or Citibank currently offer.

As the demand for mobile banking continues to rise, innovation is essential. Traditional banks need to take a page out of the Wells Fargo playbook and ensure they have a solid digital strategy in place and are focused on providing new ways to meet increasing customer needs.