Every time I speak or work with a client I am asked for examples of financial companies who are successfully marketing to, selling to, and retaining female clients.

Well here you go.

Navy Federal’s digital platform scores high among women

Javelin Strategy and Research issued a report – Banking with Women Customers:  Strategies to Increase Digital Banking Engagement. Some highlights from the report were shared in The Financial Brand’s article, “Attracting Women Customers for Digital Banking Engagement.”

“Although women are not as likely as men to try new technology first, they hold the key to mass adoption,” said Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Omnichannel Financial Services for Javelin Strategy & Research. “Banks need to incorporate online and mobile features that bolster women’s desire for simplicity and to avoid slipping into debt.”

Notice that very important point – women are the key to mass adoption.   If you create tech women love and use, everyone else is likely to follow.

In the report, Navy Federal’s mobile app was rated “easy to use” by more women than any other financial institution’s app.

You’re probably asking the same question I was, “Why?   Why do women like the app so much?”  So I went right to the source and talked with Meghan Gound, assistant vice president of Navy Federal’s mobile team.   Meghan shared some of the reasons why Navy Federal was, and continues to be so successful.

“We didn’t set out to look at how women, exclusively, use digital properties.  We looked at the user experience as a whole.  We put the time and investment into doing research with membership and several rounds of testing.  We made an investment in doing research with our membership.  The point was to make the user experience fantastic for everyone.”

If you want to attract women, it’s not about painting it pink, it’s about making it easy to use.  That’s what scores high with women, AND men.

Women want simplicity

Women often have higher expectations around technology. They believe companies need to work harder to make usage easier. Guys will play around with it to figure something out.  Women will, too, but they won’t be happy about it.

The key is to look at what aspects of the mobile experience are most frustrating.

Navy Federal PINFor example:  Navy Federal figured out a better/easier way to have users sign into their account.  A key mobile feature is a PIN number you can punch in to access your account.  Once you have signed in with your user name and password, you can choose the “remember me” option and now access your account with a PIN.  Not having to do all that typing with caps and characters on a smart phone is a terrific idea.

Women want control

The Financial Brand’s article, “Attracting Women Customers for Digital Banking Engagement” points out:

To better connect with the women’s market, Javelin recommends financial institutions develop services that imbue women with a greater sense of control as they make daily financial decisions. Boost control through real-time oversight, trust in digital channels such as on-the-go personal finance insights and advice, mobile alerts, and location-based offers.

Navy Federal says a popular feature of their iPad app is the “money in/money out” feature. It’s a super easy way to keep track of your money and spending. Women love and use it.

Women want to be heard

Meghan Gound credited the success of their mobile app to the huge amount of research and listening Navy Federal did with their members.

They changed their approach, and built an in-house team to focus exclusively on member experience and satisfaction.

“Navy Federal is member owned.  We’re geared to serve members.  So we do a lot of research.  We spend a lot of time listening to members wants and needs through a variety of channels.   We listen to them in the branch office, on phone calls, through social media channels.  We take all that in and build from there.  We look at what our members want and need while living out their daily financial lives.  They are telling us their story.  We take that seriously.”

It sounds deceptively simple. But constant and active listening takes time and commitment.  Which department is responsible for constantly listening to customers or members?  How often are they listening? Where are you compiling that data?  What are you doing with that data?   Is it shared with all management? And finally, are you actually proactively engaging your customers?

If you go to the Google store and look at the reviews of Navy Federal’s mobile app, you will notice something. Navy Federal is responding to customers directly.

Navy Federal Mobile App Review in Google Store.

A member commented about having trouble with the Remember Me feature.  Navy Federal responded directly with instructions, and a phone number with an offer to help.

Tips for winning women

  1. Find out what is frustrating her the most in her customer experience and fix or improve it.
  2. Listen – all the time and everywhere.  Regularly gather that data and make it actionable.  Share it throughout the company.   Be proactive in reaching out and responding
  3. Make her feel in control.   Make it easy to access and monitor her money.