What is it about that email addressing us personally, or the forgivably misspelled name on the side of a cup at a coffee house that makes all the difference to us? It seems that we, the average consumer, are on a constant search for the personal touch, the antidote for the anonymous and a fulfilling way of reconnecting with others.
Easier perhaps for the coffee house than an international corporation?
How can we expect a global bank of colossal proportions – the usual suspects such as BBVA, Santander, Deutsche Bank or Citi - to offer personalized banking services and have a one-to-one conversation at customer level? Given that the branch is increasingly a thing of the past, surely it’s becoming more difficult, as opposed to easier, to give the end-user what they want?
The Starbuck's analogy perhaps doesn't describe what happens in the banking sector by any means, but it just goes to show that a little goes a long way, when it comes to user experience. Just using someone's name shows clear intent to give customers a better service. On the same level banks, by offering a service so entirely tailor-made, personalized and aimed at better financial health, can make banking a more VIP, enjoyable experience.
The key to keeping the consumer happy is to reach them on platforms they use regularly, in a way that makes sense to them, is convenient and responds to an issue they are facing. If we’re talking tens of thousands of users in any one bank, or even numbers into the millions, it’s a feat to say the least.
At its core, the personalized banking experience is about customer satisfaction, but for the strategist, it’s the key to increasing the bank’s share of wallet.
The personalization of financial services is, and will continue to be, the norm as customers expect institutions to exceed their expectations by receiving specialized treatment. So banks, large or small, international or local, need to get on board with personalization to stay in the ring and fight their corner to give the competition a run for their money.
Necessary? undoubtedly. Possible? absolutely. As easy as A, B, C? It's a good place to start!
A is for Artificial Intelligence
Personalized banking and a better experience for all involved is possible, with a little help from AI. Artificial Intelligence, which is becoming the new normal, does the legwork, meaning that international banks can understand the customer, nurture the relationship and - why not - wish them a happy birthday once a year to make them feel special. This is the over-the-counter chit-chat that everyone searches for – it needn’t even be obvious you’re talking to one of the world’s banking giants.
A personal financial management tool offers financial control, foresight and wellbeing for your retail customers. Artificial Intelligence directly translates as smarter money management for the customer and improved bank-user engagement. In short, by knowing how people spend, you can assist them in doing it better, and by doing so, companies build ”intimate” relations with their customers.
With all their accounts in one place, insight into how they spend - or should be spending - and detailed, categorized transactions, customers are more able to plan ahead and budget, creating financial goals for the future.
All we need is data, the technology to manipulate it, and the customer is staying firmly put.
B is for Bespoke
As Jim Marous of The Financial Brand so aptly put it, “people want their banking providers to know them, look out for them, and reward them no matter what channel they use or what time of the day or night it is”, meaning the average customer is unlikely to entertain a banking service that doesn't tick all the boxes, all the time.
C is for Contextual
If it's not speaking to them, it won't work. The basis of contextual or relevant financial management is eliminating the element of surprise from your customers’ financial future with personalized alerts, offers and recommendations.
A little information about the user counts for a lot, and they'll thank you not only for making planning ahead more plain sailing than panic-stricken, but for introducing them to the best offers for them at any one time, be they bank products, or third-party solutions or products.
Personalization's not about whether a bank is large or small, with millions of customers of just a few. It's about using the data already at the bank's disposal wisely, to help improve the banking experience, making every interaction count.