When was the Last Time You Set Foot in Your Bank?

October 25, 2013
Kevin Payne, Vice President, Global Demand Generation & Field Marketing

I honestly can’t remember the last time I set foot in my local bank branch office. I know it’s been more than five years though—maybe 10. Let’s face it: most of us do our banking digitally. When I was a kid, I opened a savings account, and I had an actual "passbook" that I held in my hand. When I took my allowance to the bank, the teller wrote the amount into my passbook. When I had a question, I went to the bank—no more. Nowadays, we rely on our computers and mobile phones to transfer money, deal with loans, and manage other banking activities. Yet, according to a recent article, To An Analog Banker in a Digital World, the banking industry is lagging behind other industries in adopting digital strategies, and runs the risk of following in the path of the now extinct record stores. (Remember going to buy a 45 or LP and perusing the racks?)

While banks may offer digital services, many aren’t embracing a digital vision including defining the customer experience to include online, mobile, chat, social, and phone channels that maintain the context of the customer’s situation. The article makes the point that banks need to provide what [24]7.ai terms an omnichannel experience, one that removes the siloes and barricades, so that customers can seamlessly transition between channels as they work with their bank:

One of your most important steps is to consolidate customer information—for example, pulling in data from one part of operations to another, so it doesn’t have to be reentered when a customer is opening a new account. This says to a customer, "We know who you are, and we value our relationship." ...Your contact center will draw from your customer data in the same way, enabling them to offer investment, retirement planning, insurance, mortgage purchasing, and other guidance, tailored to each consumer’s needs and shifting as his or her patterns of activity change. Using customer data this way will also equip you to cross-sell more effectively, to better assess customer profit contributions against the cost of service, and to change your pricing accordingly.

But consolidating customer information and accessing big data is not enough. Banks need deep predictive analytics to understand the customer journey and predict what the customer wants to do. If they know what the customer wants they can be more intelligent in their efforts to make the transaction, answer the question, or resolve the issue. Predictive analytics can help.

Banks can also use social media and other channels to promote upselling and offering new and additional services to their customers just as leading retailers are now doing. According to the article, these capabilities are enabled by sophisticated data models that are applied to the vast amounts of data that banks already collect about their customers: "The data provided by social media can help you better understand your customers’ motivations and intent to buy."

While this article focuses on the banking sector, it offers interesting perspectives for other industries as well. Traditional business models are being disrupted. Businesses need to understand how these disruptive changes are impacting their business processes. Simply offering a digital channel or a web interface doesn’t address the underlying changes. The article concludes with: "Today’s banks need to act now—to head off the competitive forces that are coming from every angle, and to become disruptive forces, on behalf of their consumers, in their own right."

Kevin Payne, Vice President, Global Demand Generation & Field Marketing
Kevin Payne, Vice President, Global Demand Generation & Field Marketing

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