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Supercharge Your Onboarding Program


Ninety days – that’s the window of opportunity to cross-sell, upsell and optimize the lifetime value of a new retail banking customer, while their interest is at a peak. During this time, each customer interaction shapes the long-term relationship and ultimately the bank’s ability to retain each customer.

To minimize characteristically high churn during the first year of customer engagements, banks must establish onboarding programs that drive relevant messages in a timely manner, engage in effective follow-up opportunities to make relationships stickier and deliver consistent customer experiences. To that end, many retail banks integrate marketing analytics tools and segmentation strategies to help them better understand their customers and create appropriate offers as part of their onboarding programs.

The caveat is that many analytics programs, based on new account holder transactional data or non-real-time third-party consumer data appends, can steal a bank’s most valuable resource in the onboarding process, which is time. It can take 30 to 90 days or longer to obtain meaningful customer insights based on customer transactions or to append third-party data to customer records. As a result, one-third or more of the optimal window has closed by the time a bank has gained enough information to build relevant marketing messages, create special offers, follow up with customers and create intelligent interactions with customers.

To avoid these pitfalls and capitalize on customer relationships from the outset, retail banks should leverage real-time predictive consumer analytics to tailor their onboarding efforts. Following are some suggestions to help “supercharge” onboarding with this approach:

Time is of the Essence: A marketing analytics and segmentation program that is implemented in less than 30 days leaps you ahead of the competition and demonstrates that you care about proactively fulfilling your customer’s needs. To maximize the results during this window, develop a segment-specific onboarding strategy prior to launching the program to optimize the first customer interaction and all follow-up interactions that flow from that point, consistently across multiple channels be they phone, Web or in-branch.

This segment-specific strategy is achieved by first tapping into third-party consumer data to match insights on U.S. households to your existing customer base data. Then, based on how your bank segments its customers, e.g., new customers, specific product/service users, etc., you can use predictive analytics to examine the third-party data to determine which groups of U.S. households look the most like your target segments, for example, those with shared characteristics like demographics, psychographics, buying preferences and purchase histories.

Armed with this rich consumer intelligence from predictive analytics tools, banks can then better understand which products and services are relevant for their new customers and customize offers and messaging for customers in real time from account inception through the first 90 days, without the need to rely on their customer history. The idea is to drive consumers to interact as quickly as possible, regardless of channel, and generate the strongest allegiance possible to your brand.

Real-Time Action Is Critical. Insights are most valuable when they can be leveraged during the moment of interaction with a customer. Think of a customer opening an account at a branch, which represents a bank’s best opportunity to deliver relevant offers. The customer is present, interacting directly and able to provide the kind of information that, in combination with real-time predictive consumer analytics tools, enables you to anticipate customer needs and preferences and to identify products and services that are a good fit for that customer.

Also, if the customer calls the bank at a later date, tapping into real-time customer profile data enables the bank to proactively identify possible customer needs and respond appropriately. For example, a bank can use real-time data to proactively determine that an inbound caller is a new customer. By combining this customer status information with detailed third-party supplied profile data, the bank can automatically route the call to an appropriate service representative who specializes in handling new customer issues and is equipped to address their particular background and needs. The same information allows you to automatically route a customer to the call center representative with relevant expertise when the customer contacts your business.

Synchronize Across Channels. Real-time customer analytics programs should synchronize messaging across all customer communication channels and view each customer in a unified way, no matter the touch point. They should use targeted messaging in display advertising campaigns and offer customized content when a consumer accesses the bank’s Website, interacts with the bank via a mobile device, visits a branch location or calls your contact center. Knock down those data silos!

Successful retail banking onboarding programs leverage consumer insights as early as possible to fuel relevant, timely and consistent offers across every consumer touch point. Rather than waiting for traditional analytics and segmentation to provide customer insights, using real-time predictive consumer profile data at the point of interaction with customers and applying insights across all channels are critical for onboarding programs that successfully drive results and competitive advantage.

Mr. Pentz is executive director of TARGUSinfo, a Neustar company. He can be reached at [email protected]