CSP Happenings

Topic: Customer Service Experience

Predictive Analytics for Financial Institutions

February 13, 2019

Predictive analytics is already changing the world. Stock brokers, Netflix and data miners are all using customer data to anticipate needs, create valuable offerings and better communicate with their customer base. Financial institutions have huge potential with analytics, both in terms of customer data and the capacity to help customers by better understanding their behaviors. With the security of customer data as a top priority for financial institutions, predictive analytics haven’t been as quick to take off as with other less data-sensitive industries (such as media and entertainment), but 2019 and beyond will see the full expansion of analytics into the financial realm and a world of new benefits for customers.


Understanding current data about customers helps financial institutions better segment their potential customers based on behaviors and promote to them accordingly. In this way, institutions can expand their reach while also differentiating their client base.

The ability to savvily target outreach for new audiences helps financial institutions grow, but pre-screening and understanding customers they reach out to also helps to identify ideal customers. Financial figures, spending habits and credit all play into a financial institutions target market, and predictive analytics helps identify these people beforehand.

Marketing and Promotions

Understanding current customers and their finances goes a long way. Especially with FinTech partnerships on the rise, financial institutions are finding creatives ways to make offerings to customers. With predictive analytics, those offerings can be budget/income/customer-specific and feel more relevant as a result.

Cross-selling, offering new products, enhancing existing services offered to customers and simply providing a higher level of customer service are all core benefits of predictive analytics when used as a marketing function. Consider an example of a FinTech budgeting tool. Promotions and advertisements, like something a customer might see on a dashboard or as a banner ad, could be personalized and reflect their unique financial behaviors. By promoting in this data-driven format, customers can get a valuable perspective on the benefits of a new tool from a personalized ad.

Screening and Qualification

Pre-screening is a valuable and important step in selling a financial product or service. Whether a car loan, mortgage or a credit card, pre-qualification helps pave the way for an appealing and seamless purchasing experience. Customers will be delighted by not having to go through the screening process, and will feel validated as a result. Additionally, predictive analytics can help promote the right type of product a customer successfully qualifies for, avoiding any annoyances or questions that might arise when an unexpected obstacle could have come up in the past due to their financial standing and history.


Predictive analytics serve an essential security function for financial institutions by identifying fraudulent activity. Understanding customer behavior and buying habits enables predictive analytics to accurately identify outliers in their traditional purchases as a means of preventing identity theft.

Similarly, predictive analytics will play an important role in the future of information sharing. Open banking is taking off, and financial institutions need to be able to secure important customer information while also sharing it with FinTech startups and other partners. Predictive analytics, including the dissemination of that information and the way it’s being accessed, will help to identify any breaches in security quicker and allow institutions to act quickly in the event of a security breach. This idea extends to businesses and other vendors, who will benefit from the quick identification and nullification of fraudulent activity.

Maintaining Customer Trust With Open Banking

February 1, 2019

Open banking is a new venture for established financial institutions to share customer data with third parties, notably FinTech partners, to bring more value to the customer. There is an inherent risk in sharing this data, but the benefit of partnering with FinTech organizations offers immense value. Notably, customers can benefit by viewing their finances in easy to understand manners, gain budgeting assistance, or get rewards for the ways they spend their money. Financial institutions benefit by bringing tons of value to their customers at little to no cost.

When financial institutions share customer data, they should consider the following:

Best Practices Are Being Established

Standards for open data sharing are being created, but now is the perfect time for executives and directors to get on board in order to stay on the front end of what will be important to their institutions in the coming years. Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo and other major players in the financial services world recently created the Financial Data Exchange, a nonprofit whose mission is “to unify the financial industry around a common, interoperable standard for secure exchange of financial data.”

The reality is that establishing rigorous data sharing practices will require some time and, likely, some failure. By keeping up on industry missteps, regularly educating staff and hiring the right people to help lead the way, executives can get a foot in the door early and guide their institutions to success.

Legal Scrutiny Will Coincide with New Innovation

Data sharing poses opportunity and risk, and both will continue to happen simultaneously. The opportunity of partnerships with FinTech organizations will drive financial services forward, but scrutiny around data sharing and legal requirements will be a major obstacle and consideration. Major data leaks have fueled the flames of public skepticism toward data sharing, which will trickle down to financial services in the form of legal requirements. In a financial institution’s partnership with a FinTech organization, the financial institution will serve as the legal experts in meeting these requirements.

This presents a unique challenge for executives to encourage innovation while still practicing responsible and legal data sharing practices. Industry-wide standards, regular legal briefings and working together with policy makers to establish standards will be important in the coming year.

Hiring Decisions Should Take Innovation Into Account

Simply put, the world of financial services is changing. FinTech partnerships offer so much potential, but can be unnerving to industry professionals who may be seeing more change in the industry than ever before. Legal requirements make this transition even more intimidating, and other technology such as blockchain and an ongoing digital evolution in banking collectively puts a lot on executives plates.

Executives should continue to familiarize themselves with these technologies, but also hire in-house experts to keep up with these trends and help their organizations transition. The industry is changing too quickly for non-experts to keep up with, and finding data, API and blockchain experts to guide these transitions will be important to safely and opportunistically navigating the changing financial services landscape.

2019 Financial Institution Trends

January 21, 2019

2018 was a big year for financial services. Innovation with the advent of FinTech partnerships, a major push for digitization and a focus on omni-channel experiences defined a big transitionary period. In 2019, these areas of growth and change will continue, along with astute tailoring of new technology and opportunities. Most importantly, financial services organizations will learn to harness the power of digitization and innovation to maximize value and security for customers.

Technological Cohesion

The impetus is on financial institutions to modernize their various back end systems in an increasingly digital age. Most financial institutions have a variety of disparate and disconnected systems for processing and storing data, which presents a unique challenge in 2019 to update.

Despite this challenge, developing simplified, connected systems for processing information is becoming increasingly important as customer data stands to increase exponentially in the coming decade.

A smart system for this transition is to move from digital models to cloud-based solutions, often with a partner to help guide the process. A partner can help ensure cost effectiveness of the transition, a useful degree of interaction between various data sets and applications, the ability to modify and change as technology evolves and the ability to share cloud-based data and information with FinTech partners in a secure way.

FinTech Challenges the Status Quo

Last year, we spoke a lot about the importance and growing influence of partnerships between financial institutions and FinTech startups. While financial institutions bring security along with regulation and a consistent customer base, FinTech startups offer creative ways to look at finances and innovative tools to take customer experience to the next level. The partnership is natural, and this year, this practice enters the mainstream.

Specifically, financial institutions will be seeking these partnerships more commonly as a way to “contract out” innovation and customer offerings. However, to do so, they need to ensure customers’ information and any information sharing is rock solid. Executives and directors should focus their attention on creating an open banking framework that is reliable, secure and prepared for the future of regularly sharing customer information with third party FinTech partners, a practice which is quickly becoming the norm.

Seamless, Integrated Banking

2018 was a huge year for the digitization of banking (yes, branches are still very important), and with an increase in digitization comes an increase in daily integration into consumers’ lives. This has transformed the relationship consumers have with their financial institutions — moving away from infrequent, major banking activities and more toward consistent communication and tweaking of their financial lives.

In this way, the customer journey and omni-channel experience demands a slightly new perspective: thinking of things in terms of customer journey and value, rather than through channel. After an explosion of digitization, making sure each touchpoint brings creates an easy, valuable and personable experience will be a focus for marketers in 2019.

Additionally, new digital technologies will see major growth this year. Most notably, voice services similar to Apple’s Siri will begin to see application in financial services. This trend is growing across industries, but in banking, it will be used for anything from questions about a mobile dashboard to completing an internal money transfer.

Notably, the importance of branches remains. According to Deloitte, services like virtual screen sharing with a branch representative make consumers more likely to visit branches and reiterate the necessity for a comprehensive omni-channel customer journey.

How to Leverage Customer Emotion

Emotion plays a huge role in customer decision making. Negative emotions cause customers to shut down, talk about your organization and negatively and become distracted from other positive touchpoints. Likewise, positive emotions can open up a world of opportunity. Consider the following implications of negative and positive customer touchpoints while developing your overall customer experience strategy for improvement.

The Impact of Strong Emotions

Strong emotions, whether positive or negative, dictate a customer’s tendency to share those experiences. Unfortunately, negative experiences tend to be more readily shared than positive ones. With that said, this isn’t specific to a single business — this slightly negative tendency puts organizations on level playing ground with their competitors, and should dictate their strategy. Specifically, it puts a major emphasis on mitigating negative experiences.

Within the customer journey, organizations should do their best to collect feedback in real time about the experience, including overall ratings (such as net promoter score) and descriptive feedback about their emotion, along with explanations of things that did or didn’t go well. Collecting this feedback in the moment results in a higher degree of accuracy and gives organizations the opportunity to identify how things possibly went wrong, so they can be rectified.

Similarly, strong positive emotions create a major opportunity for passionate brand advocates. Businesses should think about creative ways they can transition move specific touchpoints from good to great in order to create an atmosphere where customers will share their experiences with potential new customers.

NPS Is Still Highly Valuable

Within the world of emotional measurement, net promoter score is still the gold standard. Distinguishing detractors (typically 1-6) passive customers (7-8) and promoters (9-10) is an important measurement any business should take account of, breaking each measurement out by customer touchpoint.

Adding emotional context can help assist with the why behind the what of NPS. When organizations look for feedback about customer touchpoints, they should ask about specific positive and negative emotions (frustration, excitement, impatience, reassurance, etc.) to better understand scores as well as soliciting open ended feedback on what is good or bad about an interaction.

Taking action on this feedback can mitigate any low points and provide context for ways to truly delight customers and make them an organic advocate for your brand.

The Big Picture of Customer Emotion

Context is extremely important with customer emotion. Knowing where your company stands and where competitors stand on overall customer satisfaction at various touchpoints is important for a few reasons:

  • Competitive advantage: Some industries will simply trend higher than others in terms of overall customer satisfaction. Looking at NPS and other touchpoints compared to competitors will help better align your organization with the competitive landscape and identify where improvement is most needed, or where your greatest competitive advantages exist.
  • Context for your customer communication: Whether your brand satisfaction is good or bad, knowing where you stand can help you better communicate with customers. In various situations, it may make sense to celebrate touchpoints that rate highly, ask for feedback where things can be improved or leverage high customer satisfaction as an opportunity to sell.
  • Targeting: Perhaps most importantly, understanding where your various touchpoints stand can help you prioritize. There may be some points that serve as opportunities — either outlying low scores or scores that are on the cusp of moving into promoter territory — which can become focal points of your overall customer satisfaction strategy.

Technology and Analytics: 4 Trends for 2019

January 14, 2019

2019 will bring about change for financial institutions and other businesses alike, with an overriding theme of using technology in a more sophisticated, customer-centric way. Until recently, data and technology have often felt like solutions to business challenges. However, customer information and digital interactions open up a myriad of new challenges and potential pitfalls. As a result, 2019 will be defined by businesses becoming more sophisticated in their use of these tools to truly engage with customers in a valuable way.

Channel is Important, But Experience is More Important

In an effort to deliver a better customer experience, most organizations have focused on increasing their digital offerings, including things like chatbots, helpful dashboards and more robust self-service options customers can complete online. Due to this increased focus on the digital space, many companies look at all of those interactions through a digital lens.

However, looking at things through this narrow view fails to see the complexity of the customer  journey and, more importantly, the value each digital (or other) interaction brings to the customer. As a result, some companies have accidentally adopted the view that “digital is better” without understanding each interaction, and the benefit each one brings to the customer. Moving into this year, organizations should analyze each interaction, regardless of channel, and understand both where it fits into the customer journey and what value it brings to the overall customer experience.

Less Busy Work, More Improvement

Automation will become an increasingly important element for financial institutions and other businesses alike to improve their processes. Simply put, automation saves time. Marketers, directors and executives will look to online tools to help streamline more mundane, repetitive tasks their employees have been responsible for in the past.

In the wake of automation, these same employees will be asked to turn their attention to more strategic initiatives, especially in using their know-how to improve customer experience and add value to the customer in creative new ways. On the whole, automation will create a work environment increasingly focused on high-level, strategic improvement and creative thought centered around the customer journey.

Data Management for Large Organizations

With an increasing amount of data available due to automation, organizations have practically unlimited amounts of data at their fingertips, but usually lack the human capital and expertise to make sense of it. A practical solution is to seek out third party data experts. Rather than hiring data scientists, who are expensive and in high demand, organizations may to better to utilize data consultants to help them prioritize, analyze and act on the data they have available.

Analytics for Small Businesses

Analytics tools are becoming increasingly accessible to small businesses. Initially, the proliferation of advanced data analytics felt like something expensive, arduous and only fiscally feasible for large corporations with vast amounts of data and resources. However, this is changing thanks to analytics technology being scaled down and simplified. Now, small and medium sized businesses can take advantage of free services like Google Analytics, or other relatively inexpensive platforms. Starting small and looking for simple pieces, like sources of web-based traffic, can help organizations find valuable nuggets of information to build and improve upon, increasing their sophistication as they go.

CSP Partners with Angels Among Us in 2018

January 2, 2019

December 28, 2018

Angels Amount Us is a local non-profit organization that works with families of children who are being treated for cancer; whether being treated in Nebraska hospital or needing to go out of state for treatment.  The mission of Angels Among Us “is to reduce financial burdens on the family as much as possible so that they can focus on their child” (www.myangelsamoungus.org/who-we-are/)

This December 2018, CSP continued its partnership with Angels Among Us by providing donated items and money for their program.  Colors, coloring books and so much more was donated by our wonderful employees.  We are proud to be a partner and look forward to continuing our support.

CSP Partners with Angels Amount Us in 2018

December 28, 2018


December 28, 2018

Angels Amount Us is a local non-profit organization that works with families of children who are being treated for cancer; whether being treated in Nebraska hospital or needing to go out of state for treatment.  The mission of Angels Among Us “is to reduce financial burdens on the family as much as possible so that they can focus on their child” (www.myangelsamoungus.org/who-we-are/)

This December 2018, CSP continued its partnership with Angels Among Us by providing donated items and money for their program.  Colors, coloring books and so much more was donated by our wonderful employees.  We are proud to be a partner and look forward to continuing our support.

Digital Strategies For Your Financial Institution’s Online Presence

December 20, 2018

Digital strategy is becoming increasingly important for financial institutions, especially as we see more and more omni-digital customers focusing a larger percentage of their brand interactions on digital channels. Moving into the future, financial institutions must be agile and innovative in their digital approach. Consider the following factors as your financial institution moves into the future:

Building for Growth

Growth and change are the only constants in the digital world, and this is true for financial institutions as customers seek out experiences to help them better navigate their finances.

  • Create an omni-channel approach: Omni-channel interfaces are the new expectation for an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base. If they conduct an activity on their phone, they expect it to be documented when they go into a branch. Or, if they make a call over the phone, they want that experience to be accounted for the next time they log in on their laptop. Financial institutions need to make sure that they have an omni-channel infrastructure created to allow for growth in their approach and to make sure high customer satisfaction translates to all channels and the way they interact.
  • Seeking partnerships with FinTech: FinTech offers innovation and a new way of thinking about personal finance for consumers, and is often able to focus on creative technology without the restrictions and legal requirements financial institutions need to prioritize. As such, partnerships between the two parties are a great fit, with creative new technology meeting an existing customer base and regulatory adherence. Financial institutions should consider solicitation and evaluation of FinTech companies as a major part of their strategy to effectively “outsource” new competitive advantages via partnerships.
  • Establishing an open structure to build upon: Rather than focusing on an IT structure that is internally managed, financial institutions should work toward standardized, open formats that can be manipulated by a wide variety of parties. Creating a structure that allows for plug-and-play changes, vendors to potentially work on in the future and easy debugging is an important piece of groundwork to lay for the future and creating an agile IT infrastructure.
Create Moments that Matter

When most financial institutions think of making customers feel special, they think of interpersonal interactions — giving a warm smile at a branch location, or hearing out a customer’s issue over the phone. However, these types of warm and fuzzy moments are just as important in digital realms. Consider the ways your financial institution tries to create special interpersonal moments. During security alerts, remind customers that you want to protect their wellbeing at all costs. If they have a CD, remind them how much they’ve saved through higher interest rates, and how that can help them buy something they want. With more and more interactions happening online or via mobile, giving context to the interactions and services your financial institution provides can make all the difference.

The Universal Banker

We’ve talked about the universal banker many times before — namely, the idea that a financial institution representative should be a jack-of-all-trades associate, able to take any task or request a customer throws their direction. This singular entity being able to solve a variety of requests results in higher customer satisfaction, and the same should apply to your digital strategy as well. Online chat representatives and phone associates should be able to help customers without having to transfer to a different department. Similarly, online interfaces should provide ample resources so that any task, from getting a loan to making a deposit, should happen seamlessly.

Your Branch Strategy Should Guide Your Digital Presence

December 9, 2018

Most financial institutions put time, energy and money into their in-branch customer experience. They think about each need, each touchpoint, and how the experience can best serve those who support their business. And, likewise, most financial institutions (and businesses in general) think about their online presence. However, the physical storefront and the online presence don’t always align. This lack of fluency between the two channels can leave customers feeling confused or simply off-put due to inconsistent communication. As the world transitions to a increasingly digital state, financial institutions should apply their in-branch messaging, personality and services to their online presence.

Reflecting the Universal Banker

We’ve written numerous times about the importance of the universal banker — a single-source, jack-of-all-trades financial institution employee who can do anything from helping deposit a check to opening a new line of credit. The importance and benefit of this individual lies in customer satisfaction, specifically in terms of their appreciation of a single individual being able to guide their entire branch visit.

This same principle should carry over into a financial institution’s online presence. Customers should be able to do anything with ease of navigation, whether they’re reorganizing funds in an existing account, opening a new bank account, or pursuing a business loan. Complex tasks will likely always require interaction with a bank representative, but the ease to navigate and access everything in an intuitive matter is an expectation set by an increasingly tech-fluent consumer population. Beyond navigation, making sure online representatives available through chat windows are trained to the standard of the universal banker will help solidify your financial institutions reputation as a reliable, customer-centric brand where they can have their needs met with ease.

An Opportunity for Promotion

Promotion is everywhere. In the same way, a financial institution’s web copy should take full advantage of any opportunity to present customers with more value. Relevant ads are always appreciated, and any service that can help a customer make more of their money or have a more meaningful interaction with your brand should be included on landing pages, dashboards and informational web pages. This idea can be enhanced by customer analytics, particularly within their unique profile/dashboard/account. As an example, if a customer is saving a lot of money and tending to avoid touching it, which can be identified automatically using analytics, offers an a landing page or within an online dashboard for opening a checking deposit should be offered.


Imagine the following: A customer’s phone call is on hold and they’re waiting for a representative to answer. In the the background, they her pleasant music and a soft voice telling them, “Did you know, we offer ATM forgiveness on up to $20 in fees per month?” The setting is pleasant. Suddenly, the representative picks up and grunts, “Eight-digit account number, please.”

The difference in tone is jarring. Believe it or not, these types of intra-brand disconnects happen all the time. They promise friendly customer service, then allow representatives to become transactional. They ensure ease of use, then inundate customers with confusing facts. Another major possibility for this type of disconnect can occur between branch and online. What is the tone of your financial institution? What do you promise to your customers? How do you train your employees to interact with your customers. These ideas, and particularly the way you think your financial institution is different from others, should influence your online presence, down to the sentences and words on each online touchpoint. Meticulous attention to this detail can help your financial institution create a consistent, reliable brand that differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

The Omni-Channel Quick Guide

December 4, 2018

Omni-channel interaction is imperative to master for the modern financial institution. Rather than focusing on various channels’ individual performances, omni-channel marketing puts the customer at the center, and views the channels as a means to an end. Most importantly, the omni-channel-focused financial institution ensures that whether a customer interacts in a branch, on their phone or through a call center, each experience picks up where the previous one left off. Consider the following points for your omni-channel strategy:

Connected, One-Stop Shops

When we think of omni-channel, we think of multiple channels. However, most customers have a preferred way to interact with an institution. A Millennial may consistently choose to interact with a financial institution through a mobile app, while a more traditional customer who lives close to a branch may consistently choose in-person interactions. In this sense, customers have a preference, and while some may choose to flow freely across the different channels, each channel must stand on its own two feet. In other words, customers should be able to do everything necessary to their relationship with a financial institution through a single channel. Obviously, there are limits to this — a customer can’t deposit a check over the phone — but as much as possible, customers should be able to complete tasks with a financial institution on their own terms. Once a task is complete in a channel, any activity should be accounted for across all channels in preparation for the times when they choose a different channel of interaction.

Tone, Branding and Messaging

Most financial institutions have a certain attitude, tone of speech and message they’re trying to convey. Maybe they focus on being fun and unconventional with great interest rates, or maybe another financial institution focuses on unparalleled customer service and being extra protective of customer security. Whatever the message, this should be consistent across various channels. A bank’s landing page, or the login screen for their mobile app are common places where this message is clearly conveyed. However, the message and branding can become unclear as different touchpoints are considered. How does the tone change when a traditional banking customer applies for a loan? How do your financial institution’s outsourced call centers reflect your website branding? Is the in-branch experience reflective of the mobile app? All of these touchpoints and channels should be evaluated one by one to see what the interaction is like, and how they can all continue to support each other and truly make the customer feel like they’re interacting with a singular, cohesive entity.

A Cohesive CRM

One of the keys of an omni-channel experience is a fluid experience across channels. If a customer conducts activity with a financial institution over the phone, that interaction should be recorded and carry through to their digital and mobile interactions. This fluidity of picking up where the last interaction left off is incredibly important to customer experience. A major pain point for customer experience with omni-channel interactions is the potential for redundancy of interactions — the customer having to explain the same issue or problem across multiple touchpoints, with each channel’s touchpoint being silo’d from the next. Finding a tool that records online interactions automatically and enables phone conversations or branch interactions to be documented in that same tool sets a financial institution’s customer experience and ability to communicate apart.

Consider Omni-Digital

Branch interactions are still a fundamental and important part of any financial institution, but younger consumers have shown a tendency to interact with brands exclusively through various digital methods. These types of consumers are on the rise, and financial institutions should work to understand the customer journey and how this evolution of digital-focused consumers will affect their brands perceptions. Managers and directors may need to focus more on their digital interactions as a means to drive business in the future.