Data Analytics to Improve the Customer Experience

Technology and data analytics have transformed customer interactions in retail, hospitality and myriad other industries and have the potential to do the same for  financial services, where they can improve customer engagement, increase service levels and drive retention to create a true omnichannel experience for consumers.

But what does that mean? The typical interpretation is that omnichannel is simply leveraging technology across the different customer touch points. While that is part of it, a true omnichannel strategy does much more; by utilizing data analytics, it’s the brainpower that takes an experience in one channel and seamlessly extends it through the others.

If I walk into a branch, I want some kind of human interaction, for example, to ask a question or solve a problem. I tell a bank employee what I need, that person asks me questions and I answer. There is a complexity across that mindshare.

Now, what if you could take that mindshare and expand it into the living room, where I’m banking on my iPad, or take that living room experience and expand it into the branch? Just as important, what if you could anticipate what that customer needs before he or she even asks the next two questions? By combining a tactical history of the customer’s data (what we know) with predictive modeling (what we assume and what others have asked), it’s possible to drive that path. We can create a totally seamless, improved customer experience across all channels.

Omnichannel Greeter

Today, a customer walks into a branch to finish a loan application she started online. She sits down and waits for a lending officer, explains what she needs, answers some questions, and waits again as the officer retrieves her application.

Using an omnichannel greeter, that same customer walks in, types in a user ID and triggers an automated workflow that searches the system for recent activity. It finds the partially completed loan application, identifies its position in the queue and triggers a flashing icon on the loan officer’s desktop.

The loan officer clicks on the icon, which is populated with the customer information, details on what has already transpired and the paperwork needed to complete the loan. The loan officer gets up from their desk and walks up to the waiting customer with loan paperwork in hand, addresses the customer by name and completes the transaction.

Taking this a step further, that customer could log in at home, apply for a loan and when she gets to step four, a queue in the management system sends her a message that says, “Thank you for completing the loan application. Now, may we schedule a branch visit?” The customer picks an available date and time, and the system populates the appropriate loan officer’s Outlook calendar with this appointment, along with a link back to the customer’s record in the lending system.

The interesting part about this approach is that it is actually more secure than what most institutions are doing today. With this highly automated, integrated workflow, smart queuing and pre-fetched data, institutions have a greater capability to build security parameters and control user access. So, in addition to providing a better experience, this omnichannel strategy also reduces risk.

Getting from where you are today to the level of sophistication I just described isn’t easy. Most institutions prefer taking things slow – identifying one or two customer touch points or lines of business and starting there.

For example, by applying computer neural analytics to the Help section of your website, IVR and other self-service channels, you can simplify the customer experience by anticipating the need. If the customer types in the word “Visa,” the system presents pertinent questions, like, “Did you lose your Visa?” “Do you want to see your balance?” “Do you want to increase your line of credit?” The customer gets what he or she needs faster.

There’s also a big opportunity in rewards programs, particularly for community banks. If you have a local restaurant as a business client, as a value-add, you could push out a discount coupon for that restaurant to your rewards customers. The business gets customers, consumers save money on meals, and your institution becomes more closely aligned with the community it serves. You could even add a feature to your mobile app that lets your customers check their balance, as well as search for area restaurants or local services.

Ultimately, we see a migration toward “One-button Banking,” or giving the customer everything he or she needs through any channel via one button. Think of the evolution of the smartphone, where the capabilities have increased, but the number of buttons has decreased. Banks have an opportunity to do the same thing, using data analytics in an omnichannel strategy to give customers more, more simply and in a more timely manner.

That’s the next differentiator.

Mr. Marshall is vice president of Strategic Technologies at Lake Mary, Florida-based D+H. He can be reached at [email protected]