Evolving customer behaviour and expectations have made it imperative for financial institutions to listen and understand the voice of the customer as an input in shaping their strategies. Mohua Sengupta, Senior Vice President – BFSI, at ITC Infotech, explores how financial institutions are increasing their investment in customer experience management technologies to differentiate themselves in the market place.

As the global financial system has become ever more interconnected and interdependent, it has become an environment characterized by demanding customers, trust deficit, volatility, increasing regulatory oversight and disruptive technologies. Institutions must invest in significant customer-centric structural changes if they are to meet this perfect storm of challenges.

Treating data as a strategic asset is a central point in overcoming these demands. While looking at deriving actionable insights from structured and unstructured data, real time data analytics is becoming hugely valuable as companies try to understand their customers in this ultra-competitive marketplace – what we call the ‘Insight driven front office transformation’.

Mohua Sengupta
Mohua Sengupta

The growth in demand for analytics capabilities was made clear by a recent study from Transparency Market Research which found that the global market for predictive analytics software is set to reach over $6.5 billion by 2019, up from around $2 billion in 2012 and the BFSI sector is to account for the largest market share of this growth, against other sectors such as retail and manufacturing.

Large swathes of banks’ customers are still unknown to them, and in many cases, companies have little knowledge of customer’s purchasing decisions and lack an enterprise wide customer feedback mechanism. Customer Experience Management (CRM) helps to provide a strategic framework that can gain business insights from multichannel data.  These insights enable companies to drive profits and customer satisfaction.

Financial organisations need to be equipped to handle an abundance of data from overlapping sources such as branch, ATMs, kiosks, mobile, social media, and websites, and then to leverage this data for enhancing their customers’ experience. Social media in particular offers a powerful opportunity to both gather valuable data and engaging directly with customers at the same time.

The right customer insight solution will provide financial institutions with practically instant insights about their customers allowing them to respond quickly to trends and user behaviour. Armed with this, financial institutions can now do a range of things like tracking buying behaviour and patterns, analysing website navigation, understanding customer sentiments, viewing channel usage preferences and gathering knowledge of other kinds of online or digital activity and tailor their offerings accordingly.

Identifying valuable customers and authorising discounts and other personalised benefits, for example, used to be a very time-consuming process. Every case had to be manually processed and brought before the management for a final decision. Now, it can all be done swiftly and automatically through data analysis, saving both time and resources.

We are seeing an increasing number of financial institutions seeking to optimise the performance of their CRM systems partnering with specialists in the field and thus eliminating their responsibility for massive and sophisticated enterprise database systems. This is allowing companies to focus on improving their relationship with customers and utilising their CRM in a way that truly adds value to the business.

Creating a customer-activated enterprise is the ultimate goal for financial institutions, and ITC Infotech has been working closely with many organisations to help them to define their experience strategy and roadmap – a formidable challenge that includes changes across the organisation. This includes leveraging best practices from adjacent industries such as retail, and adapting newer technologies to transform the experience management lifecycle and help them to listen, analyse, measure and engage with customers.

Alongside analytics, financial institutions are also looking at ways to integrate and normalize customer information from across the enterprise. This single source will allow them to operationalize the acquisition, distribution and management of enterprise-wide customer information and then apply advanced analytics that help gain important customer insights—including customer trends and affinities – and identify new opportunities based on customer profiling.

Single View of Customer – gaining complete understanding of a customer on an individual level – is an area we have been hearing from organisations about for some time now. Financial institutions have acknowledged the need for it and are now investing more heavily to build systems capable of providing this granular level of understanding.

We feel that without a coherent, integrated customer view strategy that includes data management at its heart, many such systems do not provide an optimal value. An integrated customer view solution is one that enables an organization to map customer data from various source systems into a common view that can be made available to the people, processes, and systems that deliver improved customer experience. It ensures that consistent and accurate information about each customer is available, enabling the financial institutions to respond to his or her individual needs and preferences in a timely, relevant manner.

Customers demand a consistent and seamless banking experience across channels today, and organisations that fail to deliver this will lose revenue, brand value and loyal customers to hungry competitors. The right strategic IT partnership will enable financial institutions to implement integrated processes to maintain a positive customer experience while dealing with the task of simplifying the operating model for better efficiency, driving innovation while managing costs.

The financial institutions that truly understand the value of their data and treat it as a strategic asset will achieve a powerful advantage over their competitors.  By deriving real, actionable insight from data analysis, they will gain a deep understanding of their customers’ demands, equipping them to stand out from the competition, and plan ahead to accurately predict and prepare for future trends.

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