Beyond revenue generation, cost reduction and risk management opportunities, big data provides banking organizations the opportunity to build trust with consumers by enabling better financial recommendations based on personalized needs. Taking advantage of this opportunity will increase loyalty at a time when competition is increasing.
The rapid transition to digital and mobile banking has fostered a mindset that borders on technological utopianism among banks – at least when it comes to what many presume to be the future of customer service and sales.
Listening to the commentary on this subject, one can only think that many of the traditional tools are dead – whether you’re talking about branch banking, the helpful representative, or the free cup of coffee. After all, according to FDIC data, the number of bank branches has fallen to its lowest level since 2005 and their prominence as a customer sales and service tool will continue to be reduced as online banking becomes easier and more widespread.
But in accepting the current wisdom, one should not also assume that somehow, magically, customers will no longer need help with their personal finances, or that they will in every case pick and choose products and services themselves, with no personal touch needed.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Digital Banking Changes the Rules of Engagement
Financial services are an inherently complex arena. The critical point to keep in mind is that the transition to online banking does not eliminate the customer’s desire for benefits such as better service or financial guidance. Rather, it changes how these benefits will be delivered. The challenge for banking, in the face of rapid technological innovation, is to find new ways to continue providing these benefits – in part so customers and members don’t defect to a competitor, but also because smart, personalized guidance is one of the best ways to sell more products and services. Why? Because focusing on someone’s individual needs builds trust.“The consumer wants suggestions based on their personal financial situation, yet banks often pursue aggressive selling instead.”
The foundation for building this trust comes in the form of Big Data (capitalized here for the almost unquestionable reverence some have for data to solve their problems). The increasing ease of access to, and growing proliferation of, data no doubt provides insights into customer behavior, yet the mere existence of such information is no salve. For, while it seems almost banal to say, it never stops being true: Data alone is not the answer. Using it effectively to create a valuable experience from the customer’s perspective requires careful consideration about what the client and the banking organization need and want. Unfortunately, financial institutions and consumers are not always in alignment on the use of data. For example:
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