When we hear about customer data, especially as financial institutions, we often think about customer security. What could happen to our customers’ data? How do we keep it safe, and out of the wrong hands? While security is paramount to financial institutions, executives should challenge themselves to think of customer data as an opportunity. Data can be leveraged in ways that build trust by creating more natural customer communications, showing active listening on behalf of the financial institution, and opening new doors for a competitive edge by utilizing customer data.
The most obvious case for utilizing customer data is to create targeted and relevant offers based on their information. Contrary to the idea that targeted promotions might come off as big-brother-like, the modern consumer is more cognizant of the fact that their data is being utilized, and are especially comfortable with this idea if it’s coming from an organization they already do business with and openly provide their information to. Creating relevant promotional material based on their financial circumstances, rather than generic pushes, demonstrates a level of care from their financial institution and a vested interest in them as a customer. They’ll be more willing to trust an organization that is actively trying to give them relevant ads or opportunities than one that doesn’t appear to care.
Creating perspective and context around the individual customer
Most organizations strive to know their customers on an individual level, often through the use of data. However, this is easier said than done. Analytics teams and front-of-house teams at financial institutions need to work together to translate raw data into a valuable customer experience. An in-house analytics team needs to find a way to synthesize customer data from disparate sources, aggregate it, and create a cohesive view of individual customers. Furthermore, they need to come up with a system to continually do this, and deliver that information in a way that is digestible to the customer-facing teams. The customer-facing individuals need to communicate their needs, learn how to utilize that data in a way that is valuable, and help guide the data collection.
Communicating fluently across channels is an expectation for customer experience in 2018. Consumers want to feel appreciated, have their information recorded in a way that is easily accessible in the future, and generally feel like the businesses they interact with are consistently listening to their needs. This is absolutely true for financial institutions, and true both across mobile and online, and also in-person departments. Responding to information customers have provided and giving consistent messaging across various platforms and circumstances makes them gain trust with the organization they’re interacting with and more likely to take notice when that organization makes a recommendation to them based on their data.
Creating a culture of innovation
Most banks and credit unions aren’t particularly innovative in terms of new product offerings — an aspect of a financial institution that is understandable. Traditionally, banks have gained their value from being things other than innovative, such as trustworthy, reliable and good at building long-lasting relationships. However, financial institutions that can use customer data and information in unique ways can create more trust by developing deeper relationships with customers. Financial services executives should be aware of this shifting landscape, looking for FinTech partnerships and other ways to make the most of their data in order to create a customer experience that puts them ahead of the pack.