Mobile Commerce

BoA Adds Personal Touch To Mobile App

With the banking trends moving more and more toward mobile, there’s often less attention given toward the personal touch that consumers used to experience.

The days of catching an actual human to speak with are few and far between, and even finding the number to chat with someone at the bank can be a tricky feat. But Bank of America hopes its new feature can change that trend by adding a “Speak to a Specialist” option built directly in-app.

After researching the psychology and human behavior habits about personal interaction, Bank of America decided the trick to delivering a personalized experience — via its app — was all about making it easier to get in touch with an actual person. While most online banking takes a few clicks to get to a number to call a specialist (and a pen to write it down), this solution aims to take out some of that friction.

Instead, this new app allows the customer to use the app to easily click on the “Speak to a Specialist” to get in touch with a person at the bank. The part about removing the friction comes into play because the app is able to automatically transfer that data to the customer service center before the agent even picks up. That means no more spouting off Social Security digits, account numbers and other sensitive data over the phone.

Hari Gopalkrishnan, a client-facing platforms technology executive at Bank of America, spoke with The Wall Street Journal about the new feature. He noted that customers may be drawn to the app for the very fact that they don’t have to rattle off that personal data to a bank agent they don’t know.

“We can provide context and what you were looking at. But we’ll still ask, ‘who am I speaking to,’ so as not to spook you too much,” he said.

“Technology is interesting, but as we start thinking about delivering great customer experience, you can’t do that without thinking through the head of a customer,” he added.

Mobile banking, in general, has been a major focal point for the bank as it continues to compete in the space that’s dominated by Chase — in terms of number of mobile banking customers. Its latest quarterly earnings show that its mobile banking users hit 18.4 million, which was a 14 percent increase from 2014’s Q3.

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