Why Financial Services Can’t Afford to Ignore Customer Data

Use our helpful checklist to identify the right platform for your financial firm

A new generation is changing the financial services industry. Historically, traditional banks, insurers, wealth management firms, and other financial institutions have cornered the competitive landscape. However, they’re being challenged by new fintech apps (think Venmo, Branch, Affirm, Square etc.) and other startups capitalizing on today’s people-centered economy. Commercial and personal customers alike enjoy the convenience, simplicity, and speed offered by these shiny solutions available at their fingertips.

Beyond the shifting marketplace, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of digital innovation. Financial companies need to better serve a customer base whose expectations are radically different than they were a few years ago. For example, many banking customers now prefer online banking services compared to visiting a physical branch for service. Wealth management and financial advisory firms are seeing increased virtual meetings and paperless transactions. Furthermore, people are scrutinizing their providers more closely and demanding engagement and service that’s catered to their specific needs.

In response to these trends, companies are leaning into innovative solutions that improve front-end and back-end operations, compliance issues, security, and most importantly, customer experience. You can’t build tomorrow’s business on technologies from a decade ago. Freeing your organization from the shackles of legacy systems and adopting modern technology will be critical steps for future success.

Utilizing Data to Drive Better Experiences

Compared to the new fintech challengers, incumbent financial services institutions have a major leg up on the competition: enormous volumes of customer data. This may include demographics, credit history, transactional behaviors (i.e. spending, saving or investing habits), communications preferences, life events and more. Today, customer data holds significant power, enabling you to predict financial readiness, tailor product recommendations and communicate in highly relevant ways.

All that said, a treasure trove of data isn’t useful unless it’s integrated into a single analytics solution. Many financial organizations struggle to develop a truly holistic view of their customer because their data is all over the place. Often, this is the case if your firm is structured by specific products/channels or has merged with other companies over time. Under these models, data is accumulated in silos, leaving it difficult to connect all of the dots and extract insights critical for enhancing customer relationships.

Unified Data Analytics Platform Checklist

Given the importance of data unification, a financial institution would be wise to adopt a comprehensive analytics platform designed to handle their unique data. It should check off a number of boxes for you including:

  • Multi-source integration & analysis – The solution should be built with unification in mind, meaning it allows diverse departments or managers to migrate data sources from other applications.
  • More than demographics – Gender, age, occupation, location, etc. are helpful inputs, but they’re not enough to personalize financial recommendations, which are highly personal. Your analytics solution should deliver behavioral insights (i.e. recent transactions, pivotal life moments, financial readiness, etc.) that yield a more holistic understanding of the customer.
  • Organize audiences – Based on your mix of demographic and behavioral data, a smart financial platform has the capability to segment customers into cohorts or personas based on shared backgrounds, lifecycle stage and behaviors. These personas should yield a better sense of how a certain segment is interacting with your product/services and empower you to create targeted campaigns based on their activities or interactions.
  • Omni-channel communications – In addition to audience insights, a full-service analytics solution offers customer communications management (CCM) functionality. You should be able to build campaigns, based on the data, and deliver across online and offline channels, including your website, landing pages, videos, email, phone calls, surveys, mail, etc. Data connected to communications delivery makes your sales team’s jobs A LOT easier when it comes to customer engagement.
  • Drive transactional behaviors – Just like Amazon uses past behavioral data to power its recommendations, a financial institution’s data platform ideally predicts a “next best action” or upsell opportunity for customers. With this powerful intel on hand, you can build an engagement strategy around a specific action, such as taking advantage of a mobile app, purchasing a life or casualty insurance policy or increasing their 401k contributions.
  • Supports cross-functional goals – A strong data platform is one that’s accessible and actionable, supporting revenue generation for key departments even if silos exist. Many antiquated solutions are so complex that they’re only utilized by data analysts who struggle to support multiple business units along with other strategic objectives. Your solution should be more turn-key, allowing for seamless implementation across diverse product/service teams.

Contact O’Neil

O’Neil Digital Solutions helps a broad range of financial services firms maximize their customer communications management (CCM) and engagement strategies. Contact us to discuss your CCM-CX challenges and our ONEsuite platform.