The way for banks to stay top-of-mind with customers

By being a trusted advisor in their everyday moments, banks will earn the opportunity to be there for their milestone moments.

Traditionally, banks focused on being available for their customer’s key milestones in life, such as saving for college, the birth of a child, buying a car or buying a home. In today’s landscape, however, banks must do more to stay top-of-mind with customers and help them manage their overall financial wellness.

With this in mind, it is more important than ever for financial institutions to consider customers’ lifestyle in order to find the natural touchpoints. Being present and relevant in their everyday moments will naturally bring them into their milestone moments, as well.

Banks can – and should – rethink their strategies and technology offerings in order to be more top-of-mind in customers’ everyday lives as a trusted resource to help them manage it all.

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Artificial intelligence and machine learning can offer proactive solutions to the customer that help demonstrate the bank’s value. According to Insider Intelligence’s AI in Banking report, 80% of banks are highly aware of the potential benefits presented by AI, and a research report from the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 86% of financial services executives plan on increasing their AI-related investments through 2025.

However eager banks are to reap AI’s benefits, getting started can be challenging. It is all about knowing where to start. There are many use cases for how AI and machine learning can help the bank use what they know about their customer to keep them informed and on track when it comes to tasks such as managing payments. The bank must ultimately be able to match what customers want in terms of service with a great banking experience.

Take bill pay as an example. AI and machine learning can proactively alert customers about bills that are due soon or overdue, or let customers know if they have insufficient funds to cover their bills. The technology can also suggest that they save any leftover funds once the monthly bills are paid and offer bill negotiation services if a customer thinks they are paying too much.

Why staying top-of-mind is critical

Being seen as a trusted advisor and resource is the key to success in a highly competitive financial marketplace. Outside players are constantly competing for customers – if a bank is not providing a valuable payment service, customers can easily find one elsewhere, including from various apps and non-bank entities that are already providing personalized service.

The simple task of helping customers proactively manage their finances is more important than ever.  Today’s consumers expect tech to do it all for them and they do not seem to care who provides the tech, as long as it makes their life easier. Banks must be able to provide the same level of service that their customers are seeing from retail and e-commerce. A customer’s best experience – no matter the industry – will be their new expectation.

In BCG’s 2020 Retail Banking Advisory survey, 37% of respondents reported that they want their financial institution to be more like Amazon and 29% of respondents who want their financial institution to be like a personal shopper. People want easy and convenient, and their bank is no exception.

Amazon is a great example of knowing, based on a customer’s past choices, what they may like to try or may need to repurchase. UberEats recommends their favorite foods to order. Maps knows where they want to go before they even get in the car.  To remain relevant, banks also need to take on this strategy of predicting behaviors and providing actionable insights in order to better engage with customers.

Banks have a wealth of data about their customers and, combined with technology, have a real advantage to provide the type of personalized experiences customers will value.

The bank’s aim should be to provide value every day, at every turn, not just when customers reach the big milestones in life. AI and machine learning help banks proactively provide value to each individual customer, based on their unique needs.

When banks can show the everyday value they are able to provide as a financial advisor, they can not only compete, but win against the big banks and fintech competitors that are coming after customers and their loyalty.

Mickey Goldwasser is VP of marketing and chief of staff at Payrailz.