Bank One is counting on interactive online tools from Addison, Texas-based Ignite Sales to boost its self-service sales channels into the stratosphere.
The "MoneyMatch" application from Ignite Sales consists of interactive visual planners that allow customers to experiment with different financial planning scenarios. Ignite Sales offers 16 planners, of which Bank One uses four: retirement, home equity, tuition and debt consolidation.
"We were looking to add something that would allow customers to figure out what their product needs were, fitting within the sales process rather than off to the side," said Lynn Jordan, vice president of product management for Bankone.com, the online subsidiary of Chicago-based Bank One. "This turned out to be a really good solution for us."
Unlike the prior generation of financial calculators, the MoneyMatch applications are graphical, interactive tools that guide customers towards the most appropriate product. For example, the home equity loan planner presents on-screen sliders corresponding to factors including home value, loan rates and loan amount. As customers adjust the sliders, the resulting financial projections are reflected on an adjoining graph.
Customers can then opt to perform a "peer analysis," which prompts for demographic information and the motivations for choosing a particular product, such as whether the home equity loan is for paying off debt or for home improvement. This shows how other people in the same general financial situation would use the product.
Ignite aggregates peer analysis information and sends it back to the bank. "That's important information for us to help us understand if the customers going online are any different than the ones that are going into the banking center," said Jordan. "It helps us to understand what our messages should be."
Some of the more complicated MoneyMatch applications, such as retirement planning, may require more than a single sitting to complete. As a result, the software allows users to both save work in progress and to send planning scenarios via e-mail to investment consultants.
MoneyMatch uses Java applets that work within a standard browser window. "It's a pretty significant 'build' to do something like this," said Jordan. "This isn't a project that I think we'd take on internally."
Bank One will start promoting and cross-selling MoneyMatch later this month. "We started out with a fairly 'soft' launch," said Jordan. "We wanted to run it for a good month and a half to make sure we weren't running into technical problems."
"The overall goal is to get customers to choose products, and then to actually buy the product--and to actually have it be the right product for them," said Jordan. "We are on track according to our plan, in terms of the number of applications that we have."
Other Ignite Sales customers include Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Frost Bank and Sovereign Bancorp.