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Analytics Are Becoming Increasingly Important Tools in Banks’ Customer Retention Strategies

Predictive analytics tools are helping banks understand customers' behaviors and meet their unique needs with tailored products and services, improving customer retention as a result.

Improving the Entire Customer Experience

For Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank ($111 billion in assets), retention boils down to providing an overall positive customer experience at the bank, relates Mike Menyhart, SVP and director of customer experience. To better understand "the voice of the customer," he says, the bank partnered with Washington, D.C.-based The Gallup Organization, tapping the firm's CE11 tool to gauge customer engagement levels and financial performance. Gallup's approach combines methods for assessing employee-customer encounters with a process for improving customer engagements.

According to Menyhart, Fifth Third also recognized just how instrumental working with the technology side of the bank would be to its customer service efforts. "Partnering with technology brings that customer experience to life," he explains, noting that the bank's key technology investments to keep its customers happy were in the areas of problem resolution and management escalation for first-contact resolution.

Part of banks' problems in satisfying customers, adds Menyhart, originates from the institutions' siloed infrastructures, which prevent systems and lines of business from talking with one another. The close collaboration among Fifth Third's business and technology leaders helped break down many of the bank's silos to provide a more consistent customer experience, he points out.

One of the key enablers of Fifth Third's strategy to improve the overall customer experience, and thus customer retention, is the bank's enterprise customer information file (CIF) project, Menyhart notes. "We did some major work from an infrastructure perspective that's paying huge dividends, such as our enterprise CIF project," he says. "We are bringing all of our customer information to one spot and making it accessible to different channels. All this data makes us better predictors [of customer attrition and needs]."

Raymond Dury, Fifth Third's EVP and CIO, adds that the infrastructure work is ongoing. "We built the foundation and now we're finding ways to take advantage of it," he says. "We're becoming more of a customer anticipatory organization this way."

Yet this infrastructure foundation is just part of the equation. Predictive analytics still are required to turn data into actionable information. "We're in an alternative-delivery world," says Menyhart. "We used to see the customer in the branch monthly. Now it might just be yearly. We want to be sure the experience they have with us is worthwhile."

To enhance that experience, Menyhart continues, Fifth Third set out to customize it for each individual customer. "We created a tool that can provide predictive, targeted best offers when the customer comes to us -- when appropriate," he says. "We'll either follow up on a problem to see if it was resolved, or we'll make a relevant product offering." Menyhart declines to name the vendors with which Fifth Third worked to develop the predictive analytics tool, but he notes that some of the work was done in-house.

The appropriateness and consistency of targeted messages always are top of mind for the bank, adds Dury. "The offers have to be relevant, otherwise it can become a negative experience because the customers will feel the bank knows nothing about their relationships with us," he explains.

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