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Six things you can do to increase engagement and revenue (with a custom playlist to boot)

Ethan Lippman, Senior Director, Revenue Operations


Advertising during the Superbowl? Hard. Personalizing messages at scale? Easy.

Building and scaling a call center? Hard. Training an artificial intelligence Chatbot? Easy.

Fortifying an ancient walled city? Hard. Securing account holders’ mobile banking? Easy. 

You get the picture. What you do as a financial institution (FI) is hard. What you can be doing as an FI could be easy. Not only could it be easy, it could also provide a better experience to your customers and members. How could it provide a better account holder experience? Here’s an example. We’ve all experienced call centers. As a proud member of a local bank and regional credit union, I’ve experienced these call centers as well. Although they’re often better than the Delta Airlines-sized call centers of the world (no offense, Delta), they’re still call centers. 

Here’s a game of thought I’d like you to try. In the last three days, how many calls did you have with friends and family? In that same amount of time, how many texts to friends and family did you have? If you’re like the majority of Americans, text messaging was 3x greater than phone calls. What’s that tell us? It tells us to no surprise, we prefer text-based communications instead of human voice interactions. Why? Because they’re quicker and they get to the point.

I know what you might be thinking. “Our FI offers text-based customer service with a real agent, so we’re ahead of the game!” To that I’ll say YES! And also I’ll say NO 🙁. Let me explain. By now, most of you have probably heard about Klarna’s latest successes. For those who haven’t read on. 

  1. Klarna partnered with Open AI
  2. Klarna built a custom ChatBot. 
  3. Klarna set this ChatBot loose on two-thirds of customer-related chats.


Here’s how it’s doing so far…

  • The AI assistant has had 2.3 million conversations
  • It is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents
  • It is on par with human agents in regard to customer satisfaction score
  • It is more accurate in errand resolution, leading to a 25% drop in repeat inquiries
  • Customers now resolve their errands in less than 2 minutes compared to 11 minutes previously
  • It’s available in 23 markets, 24/7 and communicates in more than 35 languages
  • It’s estimated to drive a $40 million USD in profit improvement to Klarna in 2024

Now Klarna’s just one company, and AI chatbots is just one example of how improving digital technologies can increase engagement and drive revenue. 

Rather than focusing on just one way to drive engagement and revenue, I’m going to share six ways to drive engagement and revenue! Why six? Because five is just so….vanilla.


Song Number One: Video Killed the Radio Star

For the first way to drive engagement and revenue, let’s reference the most important digital channel you have, which is your mobile application. A report from Citigroup revealed that 91% of consumers prefer using mobile apps over visiting a physical branch. This might not be a surprise. Many think of their digital banking platform as they do DoorDash or GrubHub. In short, it’s a tool to accomplish what we need from the luxury of our couch. 

I’ve heard before that “digital banking apps are commoditized” to which I say “video stores were commoditized (cough Blockbuster), file sharing was commoditized (cough, Napster), social media was commoditized (cough, MySpace), and even photography was commodities (cough, Kodak).” What do all these have in common? Video killed the radio star. Innovation trumps stagnation. Choosing a digital banking vendor that focuses on innovation will keep your FI ahead of the game and ahead of the mega competition. 


Song Number Two: Mr Roboto

The second way to drive engagement and revenue is by delivering hyper personalization. What is hyper personalization? The best example I can think of is in the musical world. iTunes held the dominant market share for years. It’s a phenomenal way to consume your favorite music. Then, Spotify said “what if by utilizing AI and understanding the music a person likes, we can deliver them new music they’ve never heard that they’ll probably enjoy” and that’s how (in a nutshell) Spotify became the industry leader it is today. Bringing this back to the financial world, according to a study by Accenture, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data in exchange for personalized services. Leveraging artificial intelligence in banking to deliver personalization at scale can help banks and credit unions deliver more tailored financial solutions and advice. 


Song Number Three: Stand By Me

I’m not breaking any news here, as an FI it’s more important now than ever to have robust security features in place for your account holders. By the way, tomorrow it’ll be even more important. And the day after that…and the day after that…and the day after that…you get it. Luckily, companies like Alkami have you covered! But more importantly, we have your customers and members covered. A recent survey by FICO found that 74% of consumers appreciate security protocols when they’re subtle but effective. Implementing advanced security features like biometric authentication can strengthen trust without compromising convenience. 


Song Number Four: I Can’t Drive 55

Americans love things that go fast. According to a report by McKinsey, digital-payments penetration increased to 89%. Why do we love digital payments? The same reason Sammy Hagar wanted to drive above 55. It’s all about speed, baby! Digital is fast, like, lightning fast. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to be out with friends and share the bill via Zelle payments instantly. Forgot your credit card at Whole Foods? No worries, pay with your phone. Digital payments are ubiquitous, and ensuring you can support all forms of digital payments will significantly enhance user satisfaction, and in turn, revenue.


Song Number Five: Sirens

When your Alexa alerts you to order more toilet paper? Annoying (and, sometimes embarrassing). When your fridge alerts you it’s been open too long? Helpful. When a fraud alert stops a purchase you didn’t make? Very cool. Personalized notifications and alerts can keep account holders informed and improve engagement. A study by Business Insider found nine out of ten respondents said they want their bank to proactively offer personalized financial advice, but only three in tensaid they currently receive it. Alerts are a phenomenal way to help improve the livelihood of your customers and members through money-saving tactics, cross-selling promotions and security alerts. 


Song Number Six: The Sounds of Silence

You’re at the airport. You leave the restroom. On the way out there are the “tell us how we did” buttons. Three buttons ranging from sad to happy. This is one form of feedback. Raving (or scathing) mobile app reviews is another form of feedback. But the best form of feedback? 

Giving your customers or members the ability to provide real time in-app feedback. Why? Check this out. By offering in-app feedback, you’ll cut down on the negative reviews people may post to the app-store, because they’ll instead voice the complaint directly to you. This is a huge benefit as it allows you to respond quickly to that individual to quell their issue. Further, if the feedback provided is positive, using AI, you could deliver a follow-up prompt saying “Thanks for the feedback! Would you like to leave a review?” with a call-to-action to leave a review on the app store. 

When people leave feedback, they expect results. According to Salesforce, 67% of consumers say that their standard for good experiences is higher than ever. By implementing effective feedback mechanisms, FIs will learn what is resonating with account holders and from there be able to adapt and improve digital offerings.

So there you have it. Six surefire and pretty easy ways to improve engagement and revenue as a bank or credit union. If you enjoyed this article, and the musical selections that went along with it, download the playlist on Spotify! 

author avatar
Alkami Technology Digital Banking Solutions
Alkami Technology, Inc. is a leading cloud-based digital banking solutions provider for financial institutions in the United States that enables clients to grow confidently, adapt quickly and build thriving digital communities.
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