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3 things banks can learn from Pokémon Go

Professor Pikachu may have lessons for financial services providers

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  • Written by  Balasubramanian Vijayakumar, VirtusaPolaris
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  • Comments:   DISQUS_COMMENTS
You may not play Pokémon Go, but think about how many of your customers may be playing it. You may not play Pokémon Go, but think about how many of your customers may be playing it.

The Pokémon Go app has broken download and engagement records. What can banks learn from the phenomenon to better enrich customers’ digital experience?

1. Syncing works perfectly. Many users consider this the best available feature of Pokémon Go—the fact that the syncing works perfectly. If we catch a Pokémon on one of our devices, it immediately shows up on our other devices as well. Not only that, any changes made to a Pokémon account are reflected instantly in real time.

In fact, this feature has made up for the impact of the app's greatest weakness—constant crashing, freezing, and failing to load maps.

Such instantaneous updates reflect what customers are looking for from their banks. Customers want the ability to make transactions across channels and want to view them across devices, enabling them to make critical decisions promptly. Also, the customer wants to experience the bank's brand across channels.

Seamless integration must be a bank's top priority, especially if it is going to cover other technological shortcomings while ensuring the customer visually experiences promises the bank intends to deliver.

2. Unique experience. What is a commonality between the iPhone, Facebook, and Pokémon Go, apart from the fact that they are hugely successful products?

Each product has one differentiator that makes it a catalyst for success—same product, different experience.

Think about this—the game is the same across the globe. However, the experience is customized for each user based on either their location or whether they choose to walk or remain at home.

The concept of the “differentiated customer journey” provides the personal touch to each customer. Banks must understand that each customer is unique. Whether you are profiling customers to cross-sell products; rewarding them for loyalty; or transforming their overall banking experiences—conduct these in a manner tastefully unique for each customer.

3. Customers as walking billboards. Pokémon Go combines the virtual world with the real world. In doing so, the app has uncovered the holy grail of advertising—people playing the game on the road, at monuments, and in parks, thus transforming themselves into walking promotions. The app has also opened up revenue opportunities, including licensed locations.

This is better than “word of the mouth” publicity. Consider the possibilities: How excited will a customer be to see their spending patterns in 3D? How excited will your sales team be if your brochure can be converted into an engaging digital information for conversation?

Augmented reality can enrich and personalize user experience. It also complements potential bank “Internet of Things” strategies. If effectively used, this can make for “digital brick and mortar branches.”

Augmented reality technology is currently at its earliest stages in banking. However, the rate of growth and adoption of augmented reality in other fields means the financial industry will adapt to it in time.

Read Chris Nichol's blog, "Bank tries out Pokémon Go"

About the author

Balasubramanian Vijayakumar is senior manager, corporate banking, VirtusaPolaris.

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