Rob McLeod, Client Partner, Merkle
Across categories, brands are being forced to adapt to increased public scrutiny, shifting consumer expectations and the threat of disruption. This is no less true of the financial sector; creaking infrastructure, a reputation of being untrustworthy post-crash, and the looming threat of challenger banks, mean that the industry must adapt, and swiftly if it wants to serve the customers of tomorrow.
The proliferation of technology – from smartphones to wearables – has enabled previously transactional interactions to become elevated customer experiences. As a result, banks are now expected to offer seamless, multi-channel experience as standard; something digitally-native challenger banks without the baggage of a bloated back-end are able to provide with ease.
In order to meet these demands, legacy banks are beginning to move away from historically corporate comms strategies towards personalised interactions. Imagine a bank that goes beyond the big picture to tap into the human side of money; alerting a customer that their internet bill has increased, or reminding them to book their annual train home for Christmas when the prices are most competitive. Creating such unique and tailored experiences would go a long way to forge customer trust and build long-term loyalty.
Meeting the challenge
Nevertheless, even the best-intentioned banks face an uphill battle; the sheer volume of customer datato digest – retrieved through a maze of brands, sub-brands, consumer apps and devices – can make it difficult todeliver truly individual experiences consistently, and at scale. Failing to do so, however, not only leads to a loss of revenue for banks, as customers fail to complete journeys, but it also stops them from building user trust.
Getting consumers to complete these journeys depends on banks delivering relevant messages, promotions and offers at the appropriate moments and across multiple channels. Achieving this requires the ability to identify exactly where customers are at any given point in their journey, alongside a deep understanding of the particular expectations and pain points at that junction. However, as the different subsidiaries that manage each step of the journey will likely have varying needs and objectives, such siloes can dramatically affect the chances of creating a frictionless experience.
Overcoming this challenge requires investment in a solution that can condense these disconnected data sources into a single place, eliminating disjointed journeys and creating a harmonious experience throughout the organization. At Merkle, we deploy a decisioning technology solution, which is called a “Customer Engagement Platform” and connects all the disparate information held by a bank into a single unified platform.
Once in place, this resource can be used to share person-specific messages and promotional material by applying decision logic – or rules – around each communication. Constantly learning, the platformeven has the ability toadvisebanks on howthey should interact with customersat upcoming points in their journey, by tracking their behavior across multiple devices, and using these insights to inform future decisions.
This creates a continuous cycle of positive engagement that ultimately helps to win consumer trust – making it an essential tool for banks wanting to build loyalty and advocacy among their customers.
By building an eco-system that delivers tailored communications automatically and at scale, banks are likely to experience as much as six-fold uplifts in response rate, as well incredible double-digital percentage increases in account retention.
Not only does this deliver for the bottom-line of the banks themselves, often to the tune of millions of pounds, but it can also help line the pockets of account holders themselves. For example, using predictive analysis, a decisioning technology system can help identify millions of customers to whom a bank can lend at a lower rate than it previously has, meaning they’ll also be on track to make huge savings.
Savings aside, the real value of such a system for customers lies in access to a seamless personalised banking experience. With decisioning technology, customers will not only receive the right kind of messages and promotions at relevant points in their journey, but also across all their devices, mobile or otherwise. Moreover, because decision technology can provide triggers for paid media, even external publishers can share relevant sales or cross-sell messaging with customers, which makes the experience inherently unique and truly seamless for every person.
Over time, the benefits of such an experience will come full circle; positive interactions will cause NPS and advocacy measures to skyrocket, while cross-sell opportunities will increase – meaning any initial reduction in product income for the bank is quickly restored.
The banking experience of tomorrow
As demand for such personalised, and frictionless experiences continues to grow, decision-marketing technology provides a desirable and easily implemented solution to create the banking experience of the future. However, it’s only by marrying it with a tailored business strategy, combined with analytics, that banks will be able to unlock its full potential.
Working with an expert consultant in the initial stages of operation will show banks on how to ensure they get the most of this resource and optimize the outcome. Personalised communications, andfrictionlessomni-channel interactions are the future of banking; it’s time for banks to invest in the technology to make it happen.