Personalisation is crucial to banking success, say leading executives in One Connected Community’s (OCC) newly published whitepaper on data and customer-centricity

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HSBC, Santander, Monzo and Starling agree that trust and personalisation are key to banking success, in One Connected Community’s (OCC) recent whitepaper, “Know Your Customer. Solve Their Problems.” With serving the customer front-of-mind, OCC speaks to 14 banks to find out how they’re using data and technology to strengthen the customer relationship - with some surprising findings.

To effectively compete in a financial services industry overflowing with competition, putting customers at the heart of your business is crucial, say leading banking execs in One Connected Community’s (OCC’s) recent whitepaper, “Know Your Customer. Solve Their Problems.”

‘Customer-centricity’ is the objective. But banks and financial services are often hampered by large and disparate teams, which make uniting under ‘serving the customer’ a difficult mantra to execute.

Different business units have their own goals, objectives and KPI’s, yet share the same customer. Culturally this is at odds with a mindset of customer-centricity.

That said, technology enabled data insights make customer-centred business a realistic model to aspire to. With this aspiration in mind, OCC speaks to 14 banks to find out how they’re using data and technology to strengthen the customer relationship (and combat regulatory headwinds) - with some surprising findings.

“GDPR and restricted data regulations means being more mindful of what data you’re storing, where you’re storing it and how you’re using it. Data will become less about hoovering it all up, but more like a hot potato where you want to extract the learnings as quickly as possible,” says Matthew Harwood, Head of Product Analytics, Coutts

For all brands, it’s never been so important to utilise available data to meet and surpass the customer expectations.

OCC’s newly published whitepaper offers unique and timely insight on where banks invest time, money and energy to deliver customer experiences that truly stand out.

With exclusive insight from OakNorth, Loot, Soldo and RBS the OCC whitepaper identifies three crucial themes:

  •     Bridging the gap between human and digital touch points
  •     Enabling a single view of the customer
  •     Getting personalisation right (and understanding when personalisation goes too far)

One Connected Community’s (OCC) newly published whitepaper, “Know Your Customer. Solve Their Problems” is available to download in full here:

Balancing ‘Cool’ Vs ‘Creepy’

Generally speaking, customers are quite happy to give permission for technology companies like Apple to use their data. Why? Because they see a real value exchange.

Famously, Apple adamantly refuse to share data with governmental institutions despite significant pressure, reinforcing the idea that the data is used for the benefit of the customer only.

For banks, a place where customers are willing to share their data because they see a real value exchange and they believe sharing their data is in their best interest, is a position to aspire to.

“Trust will come more and more into play when it comes to money, which is such an emotional investment. Personalisation is vital in building trust and is a real differentiator, says Taj Sumal, Head of Digital Solutions, RBS.

“Over the next five years there’ll be a much greater emphasis on generating trust through real personalisation. For that you must truly understand what works for your customer,” he adds.

That said, you must be mindful not to cross the ‘creepy line’ (the fine line between using data to provide a greater customer experience and the point where customers feel uncomfortable).

The borderline between being helpful by tailoring services accordingly and causing alarm bells in a customer's head is very thin. Without an existing level of trust, a customer might get freaked quicker than a gazelle who's just spotted a lion. Getting the balance between ‘cool’ and ‘creepy’ is the number one challenge when it comes to data, trust and personalisation.

In short, people are getting increasingly precious over their data. So, trust between bank and customer is extremely important. The key is effective personalisation.

“Maintaining trust and a fair value exchange means going back to basics: Segmenting demographics, AB testing and fine tuning which messages resonate, with whom, how you show them and when,” says Megan Caywood, Chief Platform Officer, Starling Bank.

A customer-centric approach to banking is the way forward - even if it may not seem profitable at first, putting the customer first is likely to work out better in the long run.

What if ‘happy customers’ were the most important KPI for a bank..

Chris Gledhill, CEO, Secco, illustrates his vision of customer-centricity: “If a customer goes into a store and the assistant recommends a cheaper product, it’s not better for business in the short term. But it’s a way of maintaining customer loyalty as they know they can expect impartial advice."

Similarly, if a bank recommends not getting a loan, and instead advises on a better method of managing personal finances, it creates an emotional connection that builds trust by crossing the line into genuinely helping people.

“If happy customers were the most important KPI for a bank, it would be a fantastic model!” Says Chris Gledhill, CEO, Secco.

Ultimately, moves toward customer-centricity and personalisation will boil down to one thing: Return on investment.
A customer-centric approach and profitability are far from mutually exclusive. It will be those whose culture is committed to the customer that will win out in the long run as long-term customer relationships outweigh short-term profits.

“The customer owns their own data. Monetising that data will be key to success. Whoever has the relationship with the customer will be in pole position,” says Patricia Moore, Account Director, Ciber.

Read the full paper her: (completely free, no forms).

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George Kiley
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