Personalization in financial services – the power and prerequisites
Within a crowded sector, personalization in financial services is becoming increasingly important, presenting challenges and opportunities.
This article was originally seen on Payments Journal.
The practice of website personalization and the technology to support it have grown dramatically in recent years, with companies working tirelessly to deliver an individualized approach to the customer experience. Upon recognizing its potential to influence every aspect of the customer journey, industries like eCommerce have undergone massive transformations in how they conduct business to meet the needs and preferences of their shoppers.
Although further down on the personalization maturity curve, the finance industry has also begun integrating personalization technology in the hopes of enhancing client services, driving sustainable business growth, and reducing operational costs. But as Forrester Research notes, financial services brands are still well short of where they’ll need to be to meet consumer demands. And if Gartner’s claim that 81% of companies will mostly or entirely compete on the basis of CX in the coming years, the finance industry has some catching up to do.
To unlock new revenue streams, build customer loyalty, and differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded sector, financial services companies must first evaluate and overcome the unique challenges the industry faces as it relates to ramping up their personalization efforts. Only after this work is done can the plethora of opportunities be fully realized.
Consumers don’t see tailored banking as merely a nice-to-have; instead, it has steadily become a baseline expectation. According to an Accenture survey, 40% of consumers would switch banks for more personalized service.
To win them over, financial services brands need to eliminate the complex customer journeys that cross many organizational touchpoints. The shift to digital has fractured traditional services and customer support engagements into multiple micro-moments of activity. Understanding and tethering these moments over time is critical to effectively engaging with the consumer.
What’s more, the growth and adoption of digital banking has elongated the product research and decision-making cycles. With more options than ever across all areas of financial services, the demand for educational materials to support the selection process is high, and with it, the supply from competition. Facilitating this experience through personalization is, therefore, of the utmost importance.
Compounding the challenges facing finance brands is the complexity of managing vast amounts of customer data in an efficient enough way to derive and act upon meaningful insights. Unfortunately, legacy technology and team infrastructure makes it difficult to spot key patterns, respond to emerging customer needs, and predict future trends.
Finally, firms must go beyond investments in technology and align their entire internal operating models for effective digital transformation. Organizations must re-evaluate team design and performance attribution with an emphasis on optimizing the customer experience in an efficient, holistic manner. This will require breaking free of existing organizational silos and providing greater transparency into actual business drivers.
What lies in wait for those who fulfill their commitment to a more tailored banking experience? For starters, financial services brands can begin to reflect a customer’s unique needs and aspirations while also effectively re-engaging them over time in subsequent sessions using their browsing activity, geolocation, traffic source, and other vital signals that previously went unutilized.
Additionally, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology can enable bespoke experiences for every digital banking user, directing them toward the right content, products, and services. All of this without the manual, data-heavy analysis typically required with segmenting and analyzing experiences to determine the optimal targeting set up – the impact of which not only allows teams to maximize results but also scale their efforts.
Armed with data from across their portfolio of properties, financial services brands can also start piecing together a single view of the customer – paving the way for more personalized, relevant, and seamless customer service engagements across channels. This translates into the same great quality of service on-site, in the mobile app, via email, or even at a physical branch – a major factor influencing the ultimate customer experience.
Enhanced personalization will also drive better decision-making about which business offerings to pursue. Organizations can test the effectiveness of different personalization strategies to gauge what resonates with customers and bring a data-driven approach to their business activities – boosting both the bottom line and customer satisfaction.
Tomorrow is now
Personalization is now a standard of service across industries. For financial services institutions to get it right, they’ll need to abandon legacy technology and break down organizational silos, stitch together data and various customer touchpoints, apply machine learning for increased efficiencies, and more. If they take things one step at a time, they’ll be rewarded with a competitive edge in this rapidly-evolving market.