A recent commercial I saw depicted a “bank robbery”. The robbers (3 masked men) gate crash a bank and by wielding their guns, ask for people to lay down on the ground. A bank teller suddenly calls out to one of the robbers as  “Mr Jhonson”. One of the other robbers ask “how does she know your name?”.

The teller informs that Mr Jhonson the robber had installed a mobile app, which sent a beacon signal to the bank systems on his arrival. Here is the twist!  The bank official, then says, “Mr Johnson, based on your recent visit to your website, I gather that you are looking at buying a house and we are offering some exciting rates and I just texted them to you”. By the way, we also know that you clicked on one of our emails about consolidating your student loans and we can help you with that too!

What the commercial depicted above was a clear use case of making Customer Experience the crux of the entire banking business and combined power of customer intelligence and technologies enable better customer experiences. It begs the question “What is Customer Intelligence”. Is it a domain?Is it a technology? Or is it an application?

Unfortunately, many financial institutions are still seeing “Customer Intelligence” as one of the above and that is the main reason for many banks not cracking it yet.

In my humble opinion, “Customer Intelligence” is a culture that is driven into all operations of a bank (direct, indirect, tangible and intangible) with the “razor focus” on the “Customer”.  It’s the culture that keeps the customer at the centre of all banking operations and making sure that systems, functions and technologies are built around the fact that the customer is a “human being” with emotions and not just an account number.

True Customer Intelligence focuses on conceiving, enabling, retaining and enhancing “customer experience” at its foundational level.

Now is the time for the next question, “how does one enable true customer Intelligence?”

  • To address the “culture” aspect, banks need to constantly focus on training their employees on being “truly” cognizant of who their customers are. Programs must be run specifically to train bank officials to find ways and means to truly understand their customers and offer them personalized services
  • Banks must empower their personnel with an IT infrastructure that enables seamless collection of Correct, Complete and Consistent Customer Data
  • Building a Customer Centric Hub which would be the “One Truth” version of all Customer data (profile, preferences, life events, transactions(recency, frequency, monetary) would be Key for any bank to acquire  true “customer intelligence”
  • With the advent of contemporary Big Data Platforms, the cost of building a Customer Hub on premise or cloud is comparatively cheaper today. Banks should start leveraging this effectively by building necessary delivery channels and consumption layers (websites, mobile, dashboards etc) to effectively use this information.
  • With Customer Hub, Bank’s personnel are able to look at the data in the same way they have been trained to look at customers. Now more as a “human being” and not as an “Account”.

Building a Customer Hub may be the first and biggest step that any bank would have to resort to. But, what is even more critical is to transform the data into “Actionable Insights” personalized to every customer. This is our Segway into the world of Analytics, Machine Learning and AI.

The field of Machine Learning brings in immense value to the “Customer Centric” data collated by Banks. Machine Learning paves the way for:

  • Arresting Customer Churn
  • Segment Customers accurately based on their “depth” of all the relationships across the bank
  • Helps in meaningful client conversations (remember the video example, the teller changed the intensity of situation from that of a robbery to  customer consultation  J)
  • Helps banks preempt customer’s true individual needs across their products and services
  • Enhances Customer Interactions at various phases of banking like onboarding, portfolio building, customer service
  • Truly makes Banks play a big role in Customer’s real life by connecting with them

The combination of Customer Intelligence and Machine Learning is such a powerful team that truly puts every bank at the top of their performance.