Putting the customer at the center of the experience
Retailers, financial institutions, and tech giants alike have been targeting consumers and segmenting offers for decades. However, delivering the personal and meaningful experiences consumers demand goes far beyond digitizing the customer journey or presenting varying product offers to different segments of consumers. It is about forming a relationship of trust and building upon it over time—to become a reliable and trusted advisor.
But first and foremost, before taking their personalization efforts to the next level, financial institutions should ensure they have the table stakes in place. Consumers expect their financial institutions to know and understand who they are. Greeting a customer by name, rather than “dear valued customer,” should be at the top of the list. As should presenting appropriate imagery and product offers to the right segments of users. For example, not using an image of a millennial when promoting a product for a retiree. Likewise, it would not be appropriate for a financial institution to promote online statements to a customer who is already enrolled, or to promote its rewards credit card to a customer who already has that product.
For personalization efforts to be successful, financial institutions must always be demonstrating that they know their customers and have their best interests in mind by putting them at the heart of the experience. This means being a step ahead in anticipating their needs and exposing them to things that can help make their financial lives easier. It means providing advice and guidance that can help them achieve financial wellness—not just promoting an offer to the masses to sell a product or service. It means presenting the right, individualized message or advice, to the right person, at the right time in their journey.
When done right, these individualized experiences also help financial institutions build credibility, differentiate what they have to offer from that of their competitors, and foster a lifetime of loyalty.
It begins with data
That path to success begins with data. Financial institutions can deliver powerful, personalized experiences by leveraging their existing data and customer touchpoints. Data helps drive the insights that determine what is most important to a customer, what their primary pain points are, and where they are in their financial journey. These insights can then help drive individualized advice and guidance that will bring value to customers—helping them make the right financial decisions.
According to a recent study by Aite, with the convergence of data and artificial intelligence, financial institutions have the ability to provide consumers with the financial insights and advice they need to achieve financial wellness—and the ability to reach them in real-time with the prevalence of mobile devices.3
A critical component to leveraging the power of data in financial services is the need for visibility across business lines and channels. In some cases, that requires breaking down data silos to gain a centralized view of the data across an organization—providing a more accurate view of its customers and their interactions. Consider, for example, the customer who begins a new account application online but abandons it before finishing. Having data visibility across channels would mean the next time that customer enters a branch, contacts the call center, or opens a live chat, the banker has enough information to help the customer complete the application, or even suggest a better account for the customer. This visibility also helps bridge physical and digital interactions to provide a seamless connection across channels.
In an age where there is more access to data than ever before, and growing concern over privacy and security matters, financial institutions need to always be mindful of letting their customers know they understand them, without being intrusive.