Banking is entering a new frontier. Less banking is done in physical branches, as more consumers conduct banking activities online. In fact, a recent consumer survey from NGDATA (disclaimer: my employer) found that only 24% of consumers conduct banking in-person, compared to 38% in 2014. But consumers also receive information from and interact with their banks through phone, social media, and email. With consumers interacting with banks through various, disparate touchpoints, and raising their expectations in customer service, banks and financial institutions cannot afford to treat customers in aggregate, demographic categories.
Rather, banks need to understand their customers—behavior, context, interests and preferences—to secure a personalized, unique and memorable experience across the aforementioned multiple channels. This, in turn, enables the customer to feel understood and valued, and likely to develop a loyalty that will be a good basis for customer retention, up-selling and cross-selling.
In order to do this, banks have to reach their customers via the right channel, with the right content, at the right time to improve the customer experience, enhance brand loyalty, and increase the customer value.
While this may sound like the unattainable Holy Grail, it’s actually quite simple. Here’s how banks can achieve this.
It’s All in the Data
Banks are sitting on a gold mine, with billions of existing data points on their customers that can help them better understand their customers’ needs. Banks are in prime position, therefore, to use this data to improve the customer experience and revenues. It’s just a matter of providing customers with the right content, within the right context and at the right time.
To achieve this, banks across the globe are becoming more customer-centric. This means understanding customers on a deeper, more individual level.
If a customer is conducting business at the bank branch, for example, the bank needs quick access to that customer’s individual profile—i.e. their engagement, transactional, CRM, website history, social, financial—so they have the information they need to deliver timely, appropriate content and offers to the customer on the spot.
This customer-centric strategy requires banks to go beyond placing customers in aggregate categories and to specifically target content at the individual level based on preferences derived from all available data sources. It includes up-to-date, well-organized data points of each customer, prepared and ready to deliver content at the most appropriate time and place. No more hunting in pools of raw interaction data, no more batch processing or broad, static segmentation exercises.
As a result, banks can access all the data on a customer to predict the propensity they might have for a [new or existing] service or a particular content offering.
Putting Your Customers Centre Stage
As soon as a customer begins interacting with your bank–whether it’s in-person, via customer service call, or the website—bring all the core information about this interaction into one central system and continue connecting the dots for all future interactions, building a complete multichannel customer view. This allows banks to track what users do each time they interact with your brand so you can better understand them and subsequently tailor your marketing initiatives to their specific needs.
Individual customer data – from behavioral to contextual and everything in between – is critical to customer centricity and to what we call “Customer DNA.” Customer DNA is a collection of thousands of metrics representing the core information on individual customers’ profiles, behaviors and preferences—all calculated in real-time and organized for each customer. The metrics are the basis of which to improve customer service and experience, and even increase up-sell opportunities, which grows customer lifetime value. Having a full understanding of customers at the individual, DNA-level allows banks to know how messages should hit the right person, at the right time, and through the right channel.
At the end of the day, the more content and data banks have on their customers, the better their ability to quickly drive actionable results and deliver greater revenue to the business, while ensuring privacy and convenience for the customer. But, remember, the key to delivering superior customer experience is to contextualize their data, and to get personal—understand your customer at the individual level, understand their lifestyle to deliver products, services and content that are pertinent to them, via the right channel, at the right time. You can bank on it.
By Luc Burgelman, co-founder and CEO, NGDATA.