“In a market where one-third of all customers say ‘all banks are basically the same,’ it would make sense for executives and their teams to obsess over how to differentiate.” according to Forrester.
But legacy systems stifle innovation, and large customer bases restrict the ability to expand quickly to meet evolving customer expectations.
For years, banks have been challenged to improve their digital experiences resulting in higher customer acquisition and retention through accessible, intuitive banking applications. Yet many regional, and super regional, banks and other financial institutions have found it challenging to create an internal digital culture that satisfies the speed and complexity of customer-driven demand. Meanwhile, nimble fintech start-ups have begun capturing market share through innovative customer-driven experiences—aptly under the umbrella of personalization.
Why is personalization important to your customers?
Today, our attention is limited. According to Janrain research, 74% of online consumers get frustrated when content (e.g., an offer, ad, promotion) has nothing to do with their interests. And this is exacerbated in a world where we have near-infinite choices, massive access to information, and hundreds of ways (digitally, in-store, in situ, on the go) to make decisions about what we want and when we want it.
As consumers, we are overwhelmed and overloaded with information.
But, what we don’t have is more than 24 hours per day. Personalizing banking experiences and applications—using contextually relevant, timely and targeted messaging—makes engagement easier and more desirable because there is less potential for wasted time. Additionally, many banks have commercial divisions that focus on small and mid-size businesses—a much different need than personal retail banking.
As individuals, we all have varying lifestyle circumstances including age, income, location and financial priorities. We also have different financial goals and challenges. So, it’s no surprise that 78% of consumers believe organizations providing relevant, contextualized content are interested in building good relationships with them. When information is personalized to our specific needs, we feel empowered which creates a sense of security and control. According to Psychology Today, when we feel a sense of internal control, we believe that we are in control of all aspects of life, which makes us feel happier, more successful and even healthier.
By personalizing content we reduce information overload, save time, and create more valuable offers for our customers, providing them with a sense of empowerment. All of which strengthen brands and improve marketing efficiency and customer loyalty.
How can we help tailor better experiences for customers?
While most banks understand the benefits of personalization, there are few who have successfully planned and executed a strategy that offers value to customers. It is challenging to implement technical solutions that integrate with and offer personalized experiences. Moreover, many marketers use personalization as a crutch to fix a poor experience—which is often a waste of time, money, and resources.
Personalization should enhance an already good experience, rather than try to fix a poor one. It should be used thoughtfully, with a clear purpose. Some reasons to consider personalization:
You’ve identified several underperforming segments.
You’re measuring audience behavior and believe you’re lagging behind competitors in certain areas.
You’ve identified drop-off points in one or more channels and believe that lack of personal touch is the main driver in loss of conversions.
(Read more about beginning from scratch here.)
If you believe that your current experience is a good one, but could be enhanced by personalization, here are some activities to address to ensure you get off to a good start:
Validate assumptions to improve personas, segments and journey maps. (Too many organizations rely on assumptions rather than facts; survey your customers and crunch the data; ask your customers what they value, don’t assume.)
Through tools such as surveys, journey mapping or analytics, and cloud technology to gain a deep understanding of what the Voice of the Customer is saying about interactions on each channel and continuously improve the customer experience (Best in class Voice of the Customer monitoring enables you to perform better on every channel—and to continuously improve.)
Start with small, incremental changes over time. (You may think that you simply flip a switch and some magical thing just happens and your website or mobile application begins personalizing; the fact is that componentizing your website and applications to ingest information, evaluate rules and display dynamic content requires expertise and a tremendous amount of long-term effort, evaluation and support; create small wins and expand over time.)
Consumers want their financial institution to securely manage their finances, understand their goals and preferences, and proactively deliver the right offers and services to help them achieve financial well-being. This personalized engagement will differentiate itself from other banks, credit unions, and fintech start-ups.
How does this benefit your FI?
Better understanding your customer and using data to create actionable insights is paramount in providing them with an optimal brand experience. Using this information to provide a personalized, omni-channel experience improves your customer’s experience, brand perception and creates a definitive competitive advantage. Over time, your marketing becomes more efficient, conversion and retention rates are improved, and your bank will continue to prosper.
Contact our team to implement personalization at your own organization.