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How Federal Bank Builds Customer Journeys to Become a Super App

Subharun Mukherjee 18+ years of experience leading product strategy, Go-To-Market (GTM), new market entry, value-based sales, analyst relations, and customer experience programs. Expertise in Financial Services, eCommerce, on-demand services, and the SaaS industry.
How Federal Bank Builds Customer Journeys to Become a Super App

Super Apps that integrate multiple services, including mobile payments, social media, gaming, and retail into one app are redefining the customer experience. 
It’s not rocket science. It’s convenience. 
More features and less friction. It’s the winning combination that encourages users to consume all the digital services they need daily within one app. It’s also the disruptive model spreading from east to west that is redefining marketplaces and revolutionizing how companies think about customer engagement and loyalty.*
A prime example is Gojek, a Super App for ordering food, commuting, digital payments, shopping, hyper-local delivery, and a dozen other products. As Indonesia’s first and only decacorn valued at over $10 billion, the company wrote the book on best practices to integrate merchants and third-party services and engage consumers. 
Born-mobile companies have a long track record of building insanely successful Super Apps and ecosystems. But it’s also a goal well within reach for more traditional financial institutions that have deep customer relationships and decades of experience powering transactions. More importantly, they have earned the level of consumer trust* that’s essential to building lasting loyalty. 
One bank on the fast track to Super App status is India’s private lender, Federal Bank. It launched its mobile banking product in 2008. Today it’s expanding its offering through partnerships with neobanks and other players to offer a range of new products, including microfinance, commercial vehicles, gold loans, and life insurance. 
Appearing as a guest on the Reimagine Growth podcast series, Jithesh P.V., Vice President & Head, Digital Centre of Excellence at Federal Bank, discussed how growth in new products has increased opportunities to cross-sell and upsell customers on services that fit their needs. To make the match, he says, Federal Bank harnesses behavioral analytics and real-time data to “hyper-segment” communications. 
“It’s about understanding the user context and needs to educate and engage customers with the offers we know they can relate to and appreciate,” Jithesh explains. “Today, nearly 80% of customers use mobile banking, and 86.5% of transactions occur on digital channels. It’s progressing very well, and we expect the momentum to continue as more customers go digital.”

Customized Communications Across the Customer Lifecycle

Targeting marketing and messaging based on key data points, ranging from a customer’s physical location and language to where that customer is on the learning curve, has allowed Federal Bank to migrate more customers to digital banking in less time. 
Customized communications and messaging accompany customers throughout the lifecycle, offering support when they have questions and suggestions around additional products and features. “When the customer has done an action that moves them to another customer segment, we evolve messaging and campaigns to amplify other features and products which we are highly confident that they will greatly appreciate based on past behavior,” Jithesh says. 
Imagine a scenario where a customer is a heavy user of payments, for example. Tapping this data allows Federal Bank to dynamically personalize the homepage menu, streamlining navigation and reducing friction. “The aim is to keep customers coming back because they see the features they want and frequently use,” Jithesh explains.  
The same approach powers pre-emptive and predictive marketing that anticipates instances where customers need assistance. “If a customer faces a challenge, communications need to be instant and relevant,” he says. Federal Bank reports its hyper-personal and hyper-segmented approach, which has fueled significant uptake of services such as bill payment. Daily transactions, for example, have increased nearly 9x from 6,000 in 2017 to reach 52,000 in 2020.

Tapping Context to Succeed as a Super App

To stop churn before it starts, Federal Bank customizes a “cascade of channels” — push notifications, chat, SMS, social, email, and even Alexa — to suit each segment and situation. It’s a data-driven formula that ensures marketers continuously engage with customers on their terms. “Frequent contact and contextual messaging ensure high retention rates,” Jithesh says. 
Understanding when customers respond to messaging, or if they choose to ignore it altogether, helps marketers determine the best times and contexts to introduce incentives (such as cashback) and reward customer action. “Mobile push notifications are getting a lot of traction now,” he says. In-app is also seeing an uptick as customers grow more accustomed to chat conversations on messaging apps such as WhatsApp. 
In practice, Jithesh says, more channels is always better. 
“We use emails to communicate to customers about new and existing features. Then we promote further through social media and support this with push notifications and in-app notifications to inform customers about how to use the new features and explain the benefits,” he explains. 
A mix of channels builds customer engagement and retention. But it also yields data that allows Federal Bank to help partners, neobanks, and merchants to understand customer needs and streamline transactions. “It’s about covering the day-to-day life of a customer across the customer lifecycle,” Jithesh explains. It’s an ambitious goal, and Federal Bank’s mobile banking application has become a Super App in order to achieve it. “We aim to ensure that a customer doesn’t need to leave FedMobile to go to another application to make a payment.”  
From water bills to topping up a mobile phone, partnerships with over 800 billers make it all possible through the FedMobile app. Partnerships with neobanks and fintechs also extend the product offering to include mutual funds and instant personal loans. “Being a Super App requires you to be an all-in-one storefront for your customer,” Jithesh says. “More importantly, it demands the capabilities to understand what customers need and make those products simple to use and navigate.”

The Takeaway

Banks have a duty to ensure the financial health of their customers. Marketers have the opportunity to do this and more. Harnessing real-time behavioral data and customer data in CRM databases and warehouses equips marketers to deliver better customer experiences across all channels.
But why stop there?
Use data to inform and improve operational processes to better target financial products to customers, at the exact time they need them.
Harness real-time data and analytics to deliver customized communication channels. And be sure to choose a framework to measure and analyze the user engagement you observe.
The rise of Super Apps isn’t just reshaping banking, commerce and a variety of other services. It’s a mega-trend that gives way to new ecosystems and increased requirements for data-driven insights that allow all partners to serve the customer with contextual communications and customized experiences. 
In this environment, the value of a bank won’t only be measured by the amount on the balance sheet. It will be multiplied by the value of its partner ecosystem and its ability to deliver the best experience to its most valuable customer segments. 

Listen to the Podcast

To learn more about how Jithesh PV is reimagining growth, tune into the entire interview. 
Listen to “Messaging, Segmentation And Engagement Lessons From India’s Mobile Banking Pioneers” on Spreaker.

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Last updated on March 26, 2024