More Personalized Banking Services, Please

Cisco Blog Photo #4For more than a decade, banks have been talking about how customers should be able to connect through multiple channels and have a consistent experience across them. They admit that they need to break their silos and design products and processes to deliver services anytime, anywhere. In the last few years, a new dimension has emerged: how do banks leverage big data to deliver personalized services consistently in real time across multiple channels?

Today’s consumers are digital savvy, and they’ve integrated social media into their lifestyle. As such, they’ll readily take advice from strangers, and they’ll openly share information that previous generations would consider strictly private. Our world is being transformed by data and enabling technologies that can exploit it. Capturing structured and unstructured data, turning it into information and driving insights from it is a source of economic value.

According to a recent survey by Cisco, 46% of consumer respondents in the U.S. believe that banks know enough about them to offer personalized services. Even more bankers (58%) feel that’s the case. Moreover, 69% of consumer respondents would provide more private information in exchange for more personalized service, higher security against identity theft and greater simplicity in managing their finances. 63% of the consumers surveyed said simplicity in managing finances (including budgeting) is very important.

Consider this example of how a predictive financial management tool from the bank can meet customers’ needs. Let’s say you set a goal to save 10% a month. The bank can help you achieve it by analyzing all the data they have about you and your spending habits. When you walk into a grocery store, the bank can push a recommendation to you on your smart phone based on your location. This time of the month, you generally spend around $300 for groceries. To meet your budgetary goals, you need to spend no more than $270. As you’re putting items into your shopping cart, you’re also getting a running total on your smart phone.

The survey showed that 34% of consumer respondents believe receiving real-time advice that would assist with financial purchasing decisions would be attractive. And of those, half said they would be interested in receiving it based upon their actual geographic location.

Consumers want a personalized mobile/online banking experience, but they still want branches, too. As consumers have moved transactions onto virtual channels, the number of  transactions in the branch can’t support the overhead of the physical premises. That’s why banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America plan to launch new branch formats that are one-third of the size of their traditional branches, but still deliver the same set of services. They can provide access to remote expertise through video information walls, larger screen ATMs with video chat and wireless technology.

Technology is the enabler, but good service is the key to success. We’re talking high availability, competence and efficiency. That’s the stuff that a positive brand image and customer loyalty is made from.