Customer satisfaction with financial institutions remained flat in 2021 according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Finance Study 2020-2021. This data represents the third consecutive year that consumers haven't positively assessed the industry as a whole in the same study. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the importance of digital customer experiences into sharp focus. Of the benchmarks that the ACSI measures, digital experiences such as 'ease of website' and 'mobile app use' rank at the top of the report's list. So how can banks break this customer satisfaction slump? The answer is personalization.
And not the kind of personalization that marketers have been peddling for years and years. The same tired kind that fatigues consumers and disenchants them with the entire advertising and marketing industry. This type of personalization that will actually move the needle is defined by Forrester analysts Rusty Warner and Aurelie Hostis:
"An experience that uses customer data and understanding to frame, guide, extend, and enhance interactions based on that person's history, preferences, context, and intent".
Take note that personalization framed in that definition includes not just historical data but also context and intent.
Brands need to deliver experiences that are well-timed, contextually appropriate, and relevant to achieve truly valuable personalization. This framework also enables a customer experience that includes empathy. Since March 2020, the intersection of empathy and finance has become critical during the COVID-19 pandemic as the global economy and consumers both struggled to stay afloat. It only takes one bad experience for a customer to stray from a brand and during times of hardship, brands must lean into building long-term relationships versus selling at every turn for the quick win.
Warner and Hostis further explain that, for banks, the right level of personalization is critical to building long-term relationships:
"Personalization can help banks deliver superior customer experiences and build trust and loyalty. By personalizing interactions across the customer lifecycle and the full spectrum of physical and digital channels, banks can demonstrate to customers that they know them well, understand their needs, and care."
Who's doing it right?
6 Degrees Media recently delivered a fireside chat at their conference: The Future of Tech Innovation and work, where Sweta Mehra (CMO of ANZ Bank) spoke about their efforts to improve both personalization and customer experience. To achieve these improvements, Mehra advocates that brand:
- Attain alignment with the following teams from within the organization: data, technology, and marketing.
- Apply messaging to the right audience when they are in the right mindset.
- Test and learn to find a strategy that works best for their specific needs.
These are approaches that many brands have seen success with and are utilizing in the lead-up to Google Chrome 3rd-party cookie deprecation. The technology that marketers and advertisers have relied on to unify channels and deliver relevant messages, critical components of personalization, will no longer be viable post-2023.
AI enables true personalization
ANZ Bank is embarking on the journey to leverage the benefits of Pega's Customer Decision Hub, which acts as a "central brain", connecting disparate channels and rapidly analyzing customer data signals. Powered by artificial intelligence, this type of adaptive technology takes in all of those signals and processes them in less than 200 milliseconds to deliver that content that best fits a specific customer's need at that exact moment. This is also known as "hyper-personalization", true one-to-one customer engagement. In an era where customers move through the web fast – this type of agility is critical. They make decisions and pivot quickly so the technology enabling personalization does too. If brands wait even a few minutes, the moment of opportunity to connect has passed.
”We think of Pega as the master that you need at the center who's overseeing all of the interactions across all customers, across all channels and all events. We needed something like that which could handle it all in real-time at the speeds that we needed: that's the role that Pega is playing and we couldn't find anything which comes close."
Brands like ANZ Bank that lean in to explicitly understand what their customers need at the moment, and present content and offers that address those needs will always have the advantage over ones that don't. To do this well, organizations are continuously monitoring individual customer context and using real-time decisioning to constantly adapt – seamlessly moving from selling to serving to retain, based on the situation.
Not all AI is created equal
But buyers beware: not all real-time decisioning is created equal. And Mehra cautions that research is needed to vet technology capabilities that vendors offer, "I was trying to look at the marketing stack and thinking 'what do I need to build customer engagement the way we needed?' I realized everyone was throwing technology or jargon at me. For example, Adobe will say they are doing decisioning, Salesforce will say they are doing decisioning, but you needed to figure out: what is the difference between the last mile decisioning and what is the central decisioning". Many organizations can claim that their technology processes signals in "real-time", but their definition of real-time could mean minutes, or hours. The industry standard is between 20 and 60 minutes. At Pega, we consider that "near real-time" because in our fast-paced digital world, brands don't have 20 minutes to spare. That period is going to cost them their opportunity to connect.
Many banks are aware of the customer satisfaction crisis they find themselves in, and several have already adapted to deliver the customer experiences that their clients are demanding. As a result, we're seeing success with not just personalization, but building financial resilience into their customer base that Sweta Mehra discusses in her session. Want to learn more about how it's working? Download our whitepaper or check out additional banking and finance success stories. Additionally, to learn more about the value and definition of real-time decisioning, download our recent research study "Real-Time Decisioning, Real Results".
In this webinar, we’ll compare traditional marketing tactics like campaigns, segmentation, targeting, and optimization with their more progressive, real-time counterparts.
Real-time decisioning, real results
In this Pega study, learn what real-time decisioning is, how it’s defined by the market, and how early adopters are seeing massive success from it.