This article was first published in the Autumn 2014 issue of Finance on Windows
Mobile banking has very quickly evolved into an essential service provided by all banks today. UK bank Barclays started its mobile banking journey a number of years ago now. Its underlying strategy today is to ensure that customers have a choice in how they interact with their bank, enabling them to do so via whichever channel they prefer.
In September 2013, Barclays wanted to get an even better understanding of how it could make everyday banking easier for its customers, and so launched an initiative called Your Bank. Available through its website, the initiative called on the general public to submit their ideas on what they would like from their bank in the future.
“Through Your Bank, we were able to engage with people with different aptitudes and opinions, which meant we received very broad feedback,” says Darren Foulds, managing director of Barclays Mobile and Pingit at Barclays Bank. “Then in March 2014, we launched a campaign called You said/We did, which showcases how we are making positive changes based on those Your Bank ideas. With thousands of ideas on Your Bank, and new ones being posted every day, we are constantly hearing directly from customers and are committed to implementing as many of these as possible.”
While feedback spanned all possible services of a bank, one of the most popular ideas to come out of Your Bank was to make the Barclays Mobile Banking app available on the Windows platform. On the launch of You said/We did, Barclays announced that its first Your Bank change would be the release of the new Windows Phone 8 app.
“The Barclays Mobile Banking app has been available on other platforms for some time now. But we are committed to supporting the platforms that customers demand,” says Foulds. “We’ve witnessed Windows growing in scale through customer feedback, and so it was important that we made our mobile banking app available on the Windows platform.”
Barclays developed the app working closely with Microsoft to ensure it offered a good user experience. “Our developers have reported they found the development process really straight forward,” says Foulds. “In particular, they were impressed with the ability to access a launch environment through a beta version of the app. This ensured that we were able to perform additional testing of the app before putting
it live to customers.”
When Barclays started developing the app for Windows, there were two things it wouldn’t compromise on: security and customer experience.
“Barclays Mobile Banking app is supported by a robust security framework, but we also spent a lot of time on the design of the app to ensure a good native experience,” explains Foulds. “This enables us to allow customers secure yet quick and easy access to their account. Customers access their account through a five-digit passcode and we’ve removed the need to use Barclays PINsentry – the card reader that enabled customers to carry out security-sensitive transactions online – as the smartphone now acts as that device. This is really important as it means customers don’t have to carry more than one device and their bank account is only ever five digits away.”
Barclays has developed a number of stand-out features in the app. ‘Service centre’ allows customers to make a number of service requests on the account, while ‘Call us’ gives customers the ability to initiate a phone call with an advisor within mobile banking, without having to go through additional security checks, which was previously a real pain point for customers.
The ability to instantly transact on a smartphone is particularly popular with customers.
“You can even apply for a loan using your phone. One customer was so impressed by this feature, they contacted us to describe their experience,” explains Foulds. “This particular customer was looking to buy a new car. The dealership salesman offered them a new finance package but the customer remembered that they had been pre-approved for a Barclays’ loan. While the customer was still at the dealership, they accessed their account through the Barclays Mobile Banking app and discovered that they could get the money they needed to borrow in order to buy the car at a much cheaper rate. The customer applied for the Barclays loan and the money was credited into their account – there and then.”
“All the way through the design, build and production of the Barclays Mobile Banking app for Windows Phone, the team was focused on a quality, native experience,” says Richard Peers, director, Financial Services at Microsoft. “This has clearly paid off as they have 5,000 glowing reviews and are the best rated app on the UK store.”
Indeed, customer feedback has been really positive. Barclays measures its customer satisfaction using the Net Promoter approach, and has achieved some of its highest scores for mobile banking out of all of the banks’ services – a Net Promoter score of +62. Furthermore, Barclays is continuing to maintain a five-star rating for its app in the Windows store, out of nearly 5,000 customer reviews.
Following the success of Barclays Mobile Banking app on the Windows platform, Barclays has also launched Barclays Pingit for Windows Phone 8.
“Because of customer demand and the success of the Barclays Mobile Banking Windows Phone 8 app, it was essential that we developed Barclays Pingit on the Windows platform,” says Foulds. “We will see mobile services expand in years to come, so we have a firm strategy in place to digitalise all of our services. But that isn’t to the detriment to any other channel – all channels complement each other.”
The organisation launched Barclays Pingit two years ago, and it is now available to anyone over the age of 16 that has a bank account, regardless of who they bank with. It’s also becoming a popular payments platform for businesses, such as bus operators or energy companies, allowing them to provide their customers with a secure, flexible payments channel in which to pay for bus fares or pay energy bills.
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