Digit: A Role Model for Command-Based SMS Messages
Digit is an automated savings service that uses command-based SMS messages and I absolutely love it. In a nutshell, Digit analyzes my spending, siphons little chunks of money out of my checking account, and puts it in a secure Digit savings account. It helps me save by only taking small amounts of money that I don’t really even notice. One of the most amazing things about Digit is their way of communicating. Unlike most banking and budgeting services, Digit has no app, no complex spending charts, no goal setting; and the best part of all– it all takes place over text.
What makes Digit’s program successful
Simplicity. Once a week I get a cleverly written automated text message that says something along the lines of “Aloha Sam, your checking balance is $2,978.00, your digit savings account has $284 and last transaction was $12.48.” Easy to understand, simple, and informative; consistently delivered messages with only relevant information, and just a bit of Digit brand flavor in their communication.
Early on, Digit asked me to make two investments. First, they requested that I save their number as a contact in my phone, thereby reinforcing my relationship with Digit and making it easier for me to text commands. Secondly, Digit gave me a list of commands to use. The commands are simple. For example, I text “Savings” to see my Digit Balance; “Transfer” to transfer my savings to my checking account; “Balance” for my checking balance, etc. This means whenever I get the itch to check my finances, I don’t bother to open my bank app, type in my password, navigate to my checking account, then get sucked into my transaction history. Instead, I accomplish it with a simple text to my new financial buddy, Digit.
What this means for mobile banking
Banking is tricky, because truthfully, I want too much from my bank. I want a slick app that lets me see my finances at a glance, a full 360 view of my accounts, insights into spending habits, tips and tricks to save money, and an easily accessible plan for the future. Many banks are seeing more and more customers spend their time elsewhere. Mint, Personal Capital, and Digit are just a few of the services that provide a simpler, easier and more focused experience than my bank.
Digit excels by being extremely streamlined and focused. They picked one area of banking–savings, and delivered the most minimal and relevant experience to their customers. For command-based messaging, it’s all about knowing what your customer will want and making it frictionless to achieve just that.
What brands can learn from Digit
Digit is a harbinger for a new way of interacting by using existing technology. What if retailers started using a system like this? Old Navy could be a number saved in my phone, and when I’m shopping, I could simply text “Sales” and get a message with all current mobile coupons. Restaurants could have me text “Reservations” to see the next available opening, text “Specials” for this evening’s specials, and so on. The exercise is quite simple if you had a concierge for your brand: what are the top questions your brand would be asked? Convert those questions into commands, and you will have an all-star command-based text program. It’s as simple at that.
By: Sam Balter