The Power of Personalisation in Banking and Financial Services

Aug 23rd '19

In a highly competitive financial services sector, fintech companies are revolutionising banking, pressurising traditional firms to develop better products and provide customers with a better experience.


Personalisation is a hot topic in marketing today. It is an opportunity, not just in the form of a customer retention growth strategy but as a commitment to treating all customers as individuals throughout each stage of the relationship.


In the world of finance, it is the customer experience driven by personalisation that really sets financial institutions apart.


As a key role in improving customer experience, personalisation is becoming increasingly common – seen as a competitive advantage and a method to increase customer loyalty.


Big names such as Amazon, Google and Apple have set the standard and paved the way for delivering personalised communications. With their dynamic websites and sophisticated applications of personalisation, they are far more advanced than most financial service brands. There is a lot that financial services can learn from the personalised approach these global brands take.


As it is fast becoming a means of increasing value in banking and customer satisfaction, personalisation has culminated in greater customer retention. This is attributable to banks demonstrating that they understand customers’ financial needs and can interact with them based on their preferences. Banks can meet customers’ personalisation expectations and deliver tailored offers through improved data and digital technologies.


To be able to grow in an increasingly competitive industry, banks need to embrace personalisation. Financial firms successful in personalisation are those which improve in the acquisition, engagement and retention of customers. To enable personalisation communications, you need an up-to-date and enriched database.


  • Customer transactional data

Financial service firms are better placed to deliver timely and exceptional personalised communications to customers. This all comes down to the valuable data that they can access for analysis and for use on delivering targeted communications – personalised and cross-sell messages. For example, broadening a customer’s bank product portfolio from a basic account to say, insurance, mortgages, loans and credit cards to lure customers back for additional financial products.


The customer data available can be used to generate insights and recommendations to increase customer satisfaction and thereby loyalty.


Analytics and behavioural data help create segments and profiles which can be targeted to influence a particular action thus adding value to the business. The availability of data helps enrich the database for more tailored messaging and targeting, resulting in more effective and efficient websites, content and offers and propelling customers to execute the desired action.


  • Customer service

Customers would favour their bank understanding what their preferences and personal financial objectives are and accordingly tailor the right offers or services to them which support a healthy financial state. However, not all financial firms are willing to offer personalised advice and communications. This is not the case with alternative financial providers, capable of digital individualisation and so for this reason are generally seen as a threat. But for the financial firms that do provide some degree of personalisation through digital channels, such as mobile and website, a key differentiation factor will be the retention of customers.


By delivering timely and relevant offers, products and services, businesses are engaging customers and creating relationships. Financial marketers can personalise, automate and measure marketing communications via the conventional websites, mobile-optimised sites and mobile apps. Therefore, it is imperative they provide consistent and high-quality customer experiences.


As personalisation is important in improving customer service, one key way is through technology. Banks are investing in digital capabilities such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer more individualised experiences and build loyalty, whilst at the same time, saving costs and increasing revenue.


Customers already use a website portal and a mobile app to make payments for example, which gives them a sense of control and flexibility over their banking experience. The channels used and preferred by customers should be understood as part of a wider task of data cleaning as well as responding favourably to customers’ needs.


  • A trusted adviser

At a time when people need more advice, considering the increasing number and types of financial options available, banks have the opportunity to play the role of trusted adviser. This is where investment in technology and customer service impact the banking experience, especially in the foundation of strong customer relationships. With an array of solutions at their fingertips, including next-gen ATMs using artificial intelligence and robo-advisers, financial institutions feel compelled to search for new and exciting ways to engage with their customers in order to build trust and deliver persuasive advice. Providing timely solutions through consistent channels firmly puts personalisation at the heart of the organisation.


  • Mobile / app advertising and messaging opportunities

Mobile devices have given rise to the convenience of communication regardless of the location of the customer. The device with integrated phone, camera and functional apps allows the user to carry out tasks and transactions as and when required with ease. An increasing number of bank customers, no longer carrying cash, are using mobile payment apps.


Mobile advertising has the potential to be a powerful personalisation tool. Despite a quarter of their time being spent on their mobile phones, the benefits of mobile advertising have not yet been fully realised. But the growth of mobile advertising is anticipated to increase compared to other marketing channels.


However, in-app mobile banking is creating more of a focus for banking and financial services. Whilst engaging targeted customers, it allows for an uninterrupted mobile banking session, i.e. bank customers can continue with their transaction. This particular solution has the benefit of customer insights and data including location and demographics for the purpose of marketing and engaging targeted customers.


Banks and financial service firms are making use of interstitial messaging whilst the customer is using the app. Basically, in the form of a pop-up appearing after the customer logs in and preceding the transaction to be executed, interstitial messages can often include product announcements and app general information. They cause only very minimal interruption, harmonising effective selling with customer experience.


The digital age has given rise to disruption. As part of the digital revolution, banks are having to compete with FinTech companies which excel in personalisation, and which utilise apps and services focusing on payments, savings, transfers and loans. As technology is moving the sector forward, banks are having to follow suit and adapt from selling through more traditional methods to advanced channels offering digital access. Otherwise, they risk losing customers to their tech-savvy competitors and FinTech companies. Although there may be queries on security and authentication as traditional banks take on personalisation, the experience and credibility of established banks and financial institutions will speak volumes.


Customers are well-acquainted with the convenience of online banking and managing their finances without the need to visit the bank and speak to someone in person. Sticking to the personalised approach enables banks to provide customer-focused products and services, those which are relevant, required, welcomed and in the customers’ best interests, thereby adding value to the product portfolio.


Personalisation provides customer engagement, thereby increasing loyalty, trust and customer retention. The relationship between bank and customer deepens as the customer gains trust in the organisation with his/her money and recognises the value of the products, services and financial advice provided. It also empowers the customer with clarity and greater visibility into their financial transactions and objectives.


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