Building a 720 degree customer view

The traditional 360-degree view of the customer is no longer sufficient in the digital age. Only a 720-degree view can enable banks to fathom customer expectations.

Mahalakshmi Santaram Jan 25th 2017

Think about what the user is going to type’, says Matt Cutts- the erstwhile head of Search at Google. Google is one of the most powerful organizations in the world today because it knows what people want. And it knows because consumers are constantly on the internet, giving us signals about their likes and dislikes, their life events, their aspirations, their goals, the most intimate details of their personal lives, 24 x7. Every industry is trying to mine this data to understand their consumers and how they can serve better. And the banking industry is not immune either. With Amazonization and Uberization of customer experiences, the traditional 360-degree view is no longer sufficient. Only a 720-degree view can enable banks to crack the code on what the 21st century customer expects to be more data-driven.

Building the coveted 720 degree customer view

Traditionally banks have relied on combining customer data collected from their limited set of data silos such as CRM account info with customer transaction history and demographics residing in an enterprise data warehouse. However, with the proliferation of data from multiple sources such as social media, mobile application usage and clickstream data, it has become imperative to integrate internal channels with the external sources, to understand each customer better.  With this 720-degree view, banks can delve into each customer’s interaction sequences, needs, and level of influence within his/her social network and current life events to figure out their current needs and how to serve them better.

In an ideal scenario, an employee in the remotest branch of a bank would have instantaneous access to a meaty profile snapshot of a customer in front of him, his account details, personal financial context, current status of his transactions, social data and more to not only help him with his current need but also suggest other products that will benefit both the customer as well as the bank. For example, if the user has posted about his upcoming foreign trip on FB, the bank can not only help him liquidate his FD, but also offer a forex card that will have low transaction costs.

 “Banking” on SMAC for a holistic customer perspective

Banks that effectively leverage SMAC technologies apart from other disruptive innovations can gain a sustainable competitive advantage with an unprecedented 720-degree view of the customer.

Social: Integration with Social media can help a bank get closer to its customers by mining customer sentiment through likes, dislikes and habits and thus improve customer service to real-time banking transactions on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Some banks have already embarked upon this path. Leading Indian banks such as ICICI and Kotak Mahindra have launched bank agnostic payment products that allow users to carry out a slew of banking services on Facebook.

Mobile: Mobile helps meet customers’ ever-evolving expectations of convenience and device compatibility. Mobility also presents an opportunity for banks to tap into mobile data and leverage a 720-degree view of the customer to launch targeted campaigns and deliver hyper-personalized experiences based on transactional patterns of users.  For example, customers near a mall can be sent personalized offers for a retail chain the bank has a tie-up with.

Analytics: Customer analytics help build meatier customer profiles by combining disparate data sources such as transactional data, location, demographics, personal financial context as well as additional data from external channels such as social media and thus provide actionable insights. This helps banks to make informed decisions on devising new targeting strategies, designing innovative products and segmenting customer requirements with clarity. For example, customers who eat out a lot can be offered credit cards with dining discounts while those who always pay their credit card bills on time can be offered card upgrades with built-in features that suit the spending patterns.

Cloud: Cloud based solutions allow banks to access real-time data across channels, at a global scale to get an enhanced view of the customer irrespective of the local system capabilities. However, integration of cloud platforms & infrastructure with key bank systems and applications is necessary to gain maximum value from such a solution.

It would also be worthwhile to acknowledge impending revolution in IOT and define an innovation roadmap to accommodate future developments. Only by doing so, will banks be able to achieve exponential value that will yield returns for years to come. Banking on a single image will soon be passé as alter egos take new avatars and companies looking to put the two images together to create a 720 degree view will see the light of day in future.

The author is Delivery Manager of Java Service Line at Aspire Systems

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