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Big Data And Humanizing the Customer Experience

Big data and an omnichannel strategy can help banks see customers as people instead of numbers.

Banks traditionally judge the experiences they provide by averages, such as the average customer or employee satisfaction score. With customer experience now becoming a major differentiator for banks, and the low cost of switching institutions, banks need to look at how they can go beyond those averages and start to gain a personalized understanding of the customer’s journey through different interactions, says Syed Hasan, CEO fo ResponseTek, which provides an omnichannel platform for customer feedback.

Banks rely on those average customer experience scores because analyzing all of the customer feedback that banks have was impossible before the arrival of big data tools and methodologies. Now banks can start to get a real understanding of what individual customers are experiencing when interacting with the bank, Hasan notes.

“This is about humanizing the customer experience. We often think of the customer as a number, not as a person. Now we have the technology to break that down,” Hasan explains.

[For More On Executing an Omnichannel Strategy, Check Out: All Roads Lead to the Omnichannel]

The banking industry is still a long way off from achieving this kind of personalized understanding of the customer experience, he adds. One of the biggest reasons for that is the organizational and data silos that hamper the ability to gather data across channels and lines of business.

“I still haven’t come across a company with the infrastructure to execute an omnichannel strategy. The hand-offs between channels for interactions and data -- we’re still years away from that,” Hasan observes. “At the moment we’re helping companies identify what’s the variability in a non-integrated approach. We help them understand the customer experience disconnects between different channels.”

Such a non-integrated approach not only damages the customer experience, but it also means that the bank is leaving money on the table. ResponseTek has helped one Australian bank increase its mortgage sales conversion rate by 8% by gathering customer feedback through SMS after each interaction across channels, instead of through email or outbound calling. That helped the bank streamline its mortgage sales process and improve its conversion rate, according to Hasan.

The final piece to making individual-level customer insights action-able is to provide those insights to front-line staff in a way that they can easily understand. Instead of relying on traditional customer satisfaction metrics, banks need to ask customers how their interaction could have been better, or how knowledgeable was the representative they spoke with, Hasan advises. “Those are things that the front-line staff understand and are relevant to them,” he explains.

Each insight has to be acted to create a conversation -- and a connection -- with the customer, Hasan says. “If you collect 250,000 pieces of data, then you need to take action on each one. Otherwise the customer stops talking to you.”

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Author
6/9/2014 | 6:56:45 PM
re: Big Data And Humanizing the Customer Experience
Hasan's point at the end about providing the insights to staff in ways they can understand is important and could be viewed as the flip side of what he is saying about personalizing customer insight. Employees also can benefit from that kind of personalization, I would think. Part of it is that people in different roles (e.g., branch vs call center vs mobile, or channel vs risk management) have different things they need to do with the customer insight. But also not all employees consume the date in the same way -- some on PCs, some on mobile devices, some face to face. Just as there is not an "average" customer, nor is there an "average" employee.
User Rank: Author
6/10/2014 | 4:10:21 PM
re: Big Data And Humanizing the Customer Experience
There seems to be a lot of movement going on in data visualization in trying to make insights more available to all staff - not just data scientists. The next step in that seems to be what you're describing, personalizing the context in which those insights are received to suit the employee's work habits.
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