What do you give 220 000 active FNB mobile clients ? an IM messaging service of course.
FNB has begun piloting the messaging service as a push instant message (IM) with staff from Sunday 15 July 2012.
When FNB launched its Banking App in July 2011 there was an additional icon called Connect Phone which allows customers to make free calls to FNB, as well as other App customers. In November 2011, FNB added the messaging functionality to the FNB App, which allowed users to make and receive IM’s for free to other App users. In May 2012, the phone was updated to allow Premier Banking customers to make free calls as well as message their Premier Banker for free directly from the Connect phone.
According to Giuseppe Virgillito, Product Owner for the FNB Banking App “The evolution of the Connect phone to include inContact is a natural step in the evolution of our proprietary software, to unlock further benefit for our clients.” FNB staff will have first preview of the new messaging service, which will not be immediately available to the public.
According to FNB, the new version of inContact will present a user with a timeline version of expenditure. These messages will come through as a push IM to the Banking App. The benefit to the user is being able to see a list version of their expenses in their messages icon on the FNB Banking App.
Virgillito says “Presenting inContact as a timeline on the users phone them added simplicity, because they can go to one central place to see their inContact messages and not receive them from multiple SMS numbers. Messages will be clearly marked on the phone as being inContact from FNB.”
Virgillito continues “In addition, the timeline view is also in keeping with modern social media trends, so it would be the natural progression for our digitally savvy consumers. The growth and popularity of instant messaging platforms was the rationale for this, together with the fact that FNB has the skills and capabilities to develop this in-house.”
As part of the pilot FNB staff would initially receive both the instant message as well as the SMS. Users would also be able to customise the message notification limits.
Sending inContact as an IM could potentially also have cost savings and efficiency benefits for the Bank, who is also a telecommunications licensee in control of its own data network. FNB Connect was established in order to create telecommunications efficiencies and pass this on to their clients as a further benefit.
FNB did not indicate the length of the pilot, but chose to run the pilot initially to gather learning’s prior to a mass scale launch.