Industry-Specific Solutions in the Banking Sector

Despite the difficult economic situation, a significant number of commercial banks remain in Russia - as of December 2014, there are almost 800 of them. There are only more in the USA (5430) and Germany (2048).

Seasonal factor

To a certain extent the banking sector is susceptible to seasonality, just as any other industry. Traditionally in summer activity declines and in September it is back on the rise. Autumn brings demand for loans while the post-New Year period is the time for deposits. Since banks initially had access to massive data on their customers, their communications under the loyalty program are void of clear-cut seasonality, they are strictly personalized.


A lion’s share of SMS-traffic in Russia is definitely transaction notifications from banks. Banks make an active use of this tool for a variety of purposes, largely because their customers are highly sensitive to this communication channel. Banks and social networks using SMS-messages as a communication channel had a great influence on the development of SMS-messaging market as a whole.

Database collection

Each customer receives services under a contract, and it seems that consent to advertising or service messaging should be obtained within this contract but in fact this is not always the case. Often in a contract the customer consents just to his personal data processing but not to receipt of SMS bulk messaging. The minimum set of data confirming consent should contain the customer’s name, mobile phone number, e-mail address and information about personal data processing and intention to send out messages on behalf of the bank.

One of the ways to legitimize the database for the bank may be obtaining consent in a phone call made by the bank’s call-centre. Yet this is rather costly and not always effective.

Another way, which though not much more effective is more economic, is collecting consents by means of e-mail bulk messaging.

The task gets easier if a bank has an online-client or a mobile application, where consents may be asked for on a download screen or transaction success screen.

Even with costs and difficulties which may arise if the base needs legitimization, the efforts will be worthwhile because new customer acquisition remains quite a costly process. For instance a 10-minute conversation through a call-centre is worth about 100 rubles while a lead for the banking sector on the Internet is worth over 1,000 rubles.

Types of SMS messaing

As has been said earlier, the banking sector actively uses SMS not only for transaction notifications but also for sending out advertising and service messages.

Experts believe that in Russia it is banks that possess the highest expertise in building customer loyalty and experience in using SMS-messaging as part of their loyalty programs. The largest-scale bonus program in Russia is “Thank You from Sberbank”.

Service messages

Service messages designed to build customer loyalty notify customers on the movement of points under banks’ bonus programs, inform about new opportunities and changes in the program and send holiday greetings. Service messaging frequency depends on customers’ activity and is mostly initiated by their actions.

Advertising messages

Banks’ advertising messages are strictly personalized which is achieved without much effort because all the information required is already there in the form of customer transaction data. A characteristic feature of banks’ messages is frequency and regularity. This is due to the fact that bulk messaging advertising loan products has a high ROI at any conversion rate above zero. And commitments between a customer and a bank give the latter slightly more freedom with regard to the frequency of advertising messages than representatives of other industries.

Other solutions

Service messages of banks are not limited only to movement of points under loyalty programs – SMS bulk messaging is used for a number of services. It helps to take a certain load off a call-centre and to improve customer service due to operativeness. A substantial share of calls to a bank support service is constituted by calls to find out the details of one’s own account: this information may be provided upon demand to a short number. It is also possible to communicate to customers the nearest ATM address or receive requests for certain services.