By Bentzium Aviv, EMEA financial services, Amdocs
In the past, personalisation has been seen as something of a ‘nice to have’ in some parts of the financial services sector. Those days are over.
Digital-first brands like Netflix and Uber, e-commerce retailers such as Asos and the growing pool of fintechs like Monzo and Starling are racing to increasingly personalise their services, offers and digital experiences. As a result, consumers have higher expectations of all brands – including banks and other financial services (FS) providers.
While many incumbent banks are investing heavily in their online and offline customer experience, this is not enough by itself. Without aggregated customer data driving personalised experiences, their offering will pale in comparison to digital-native competitors. Getting this wrong and trying to offer the same experience without the data to enable it can cause more harm than good, as offers and communications that scream “I don’t really know who you are” can irritate customers.
Traditional players should see personalisation as an opportunity. Not only will banks that tailor experiences build stronger relationships with customers, but consumers are naturally more likely to engage with the – now more relevant – offers that are presented to them. Banks that get this right can cross-sell appropriate products as personalised bundles and facilitate product innovation, all while empowering sales and marketing teams, and creating a richer customer experience.
Effective personalisation is clearly more of a challenge for traditional banks than their digital challenger rivals. While incumbents possess a mass of valuable customer data, too often it is siloed and disconnected. An individual’s data can be divided across different systems, meaning housing, credit card, mortgage or brokerage information is segregated. Banks struggle to segment customers and offer product bundles because the data is scattered and they don’t have a holistic view – a customer with five different types of accounts effectively becomes five different people.
Obtaining the 360-degree customer view needed for effective personalisation isn’t easy. Banks have been trying to overcome this challenge for years. Instead of expensive and labour-intensive manual data remediation, recently banks have been having more success with newer techniques that would have been impossible only a few years ago. As much as fintechs’ personalised services put more pressure on incumbents to deliver, they can also serve as examples of how to compete – with methods such as effective product lifecycle management and investment in digital-first infrastructures like cloud.
Agile product lifecycle management
One of the easiest ways to streamline the process and unlock the ‘single source of truth’ banks are searching for is a more agile product lifecycle management (PLM) system. A PLM process should effectively sit on top of core systems, compiling customer data in one place. This enables effective customer segmentation without the need to undergo painful aggregation in a data warehouse outside of core systems.
Effective PLM systems allow banks to have a complete view of customers and their data, and be incredibly granular with segmentation – even creating segments of one. With this, they can easily create a personalised experience for each customer. The ripple effect of this can benefit lots of other areas of the business, from inspiring innovation in product portfolios to empowering product and marketing teams and ultimately allowing traditional players to leverage deep customer insights and utilise the ‘next best offer’ concept.
To support this activity, banks will need to look to cloud adoption to help them deliver
these increasingly sophisticated services. Personalisation is much easier to support with on-demand infrastructure for data processing and analytics. By using cloud technology, banks can further centralise the capture and storage of their data processing, improving operational speed.
The real driver of cloud adoption for banks, however, is lower operational costs compared to extensive on-site infrastructure. Protecting profit margins is often the biggest barrier to personalisation for traditional banks, so the challenge is to accomplish this in a more economical way. As well providing the answer to this puzzle, cloud services are more flexible, scalable and agile, meaning new services and offers such as personalised bundles can be rolled out faster.
Taking the game to digital-first competitors
Despite being steeped in legacy technologies and systems, incumbent banks are making strides in modernising and future-proofing their offerings to compete with digital-first challengers. By integrating technologies such as PLM and cloud, banks can become more agile and expand their services, ensuring they remain front of mind for customers and securing their place in the financial services ecosystem of the future.