October 20, 2010

Jill Enabnit, vice president, market analytics and performance solutions at US Bank, Minneapolis ($290 billion in assets), sat down with us at this week's BAI Retail Delivery show to tell us how the regional bank has been using customer analytics.

Over the last six years, the bank has built and refined an analytic structure and linked it to its homegrown customer relationship management system. "People talk about moving from gut instinct to analytics in making decisions," Enabnit says. "We're not replacing gut instinct. We use analytics to drive strategy, but validate those decisions with gut instincts."

In recent years the bank has been using analytics to deepen customer relationships, bringing pieces of insight closer to the front line people who can use it to generate revenue. "We always say a lead that sits on a server will never make a dime," Enabnit says.

US Bank uses analytics software from SAS to nightly mine 17 million transactions. "If something changed yesterday, that information is in bankers' hands today," Enabnit says. The software provides a holistic view of the customer to branch and call center staff, who use it for marketing, sales, and customer retention tasks. A dashboard called BLAST provides leads, alerts and sales tools to 12,000 relationship managers at the bank's 3,000+ branches. "Branches using that tool are more likely to show success tied to their goals," Enabnit says.

The alerts bring significant customer account changes (say, a large withdrawal) to the relationship manager's immediate attention, so he can react quickly. "Some things have short shelf life for us to impact," Enabnit notes. "If it's a significant event in the customer relationship, it prompts the relationship manager to start a conversation with the customer." She notes that the relationship manager has the freedom to decide what move is right for the customer relationship. "Not everything gets solved with analytics, the conversation provides a lot of value," she says. "The banker has to take the ball and move it past line."

The software looks for changes that relate to being able to acquire or deepen a relationship. It's also used to determine which actions and marketing programs are providing additional revenue. "If we see something that's not providing value, we reevaluate it and change it or discontinue it," Enabnit says.

Eventually the dashboard will be pushed to all branch employees including tellers. "We're moving toward the point where every customer touch point is consistent," she says.

Analytics tools don't work well if the underlying data is disorganized. To make this customer analytics program possible, US Bank built a marketing analytics data mart that contains a complete view of all customer data, at the account, customer, and household level.

This is a work in progress. "We're always looking for ways to refine systems we have, we continue to build analytic capabilities that go into the software, we want to continue to use it to make different decisions, and to stay on top of new analytic theories," Enabnit says.

US Bank is also focused now on adding additional channels into the data mart and analytics platform, including mobile banking. One question it's considering is, through which channels do customers most want to be contacted?