Enhancing data capabilities for personalization of services

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the thought leader as an individual, and are not attributed to CeFPro or any particular organization.

John Stewart, Global Head of Commercialization, Bank of America 

How can fintech organizations help advance the personalization of global banks?

I would think about this in terms of some of the technologies that Fintech banks can bring into that organization help the personalization process, because personalization requires a lot of different things such as your own good data. Obviously, you want to look at your own data about your client and then you want to be able to identify what that client is doing through all your different platforms. From there you would then be able to then personalize better content for the client that resonates with them. So oftentimes we can’t build it all in-house. So we find technology out there that will help us build that end to end from pulling in the data, analyzing the data and being able to leverage data to push content out to clients and prospects through all the various channels we have. Whether it’s web, our application or making an application, mobile app, etc.. and that’s where fintech’s or technology companies would come into play.

In what ways can personalization help improve a customer’s financial wellness?

Because you have your own data you can have a 360-degree view of what is a client or prospect situation. You have a sense of kind of what the client is looking for. So you can use that information to propose solutions for clients, due to your understanding and knowledge of the client. From there you can then propose solutions that will help improve their financial wellbeing or ways to better manage their money, prepare for retirement, prepare for purchasing a house or car, depending on where they are. But you can see they’re looking for it and where they are in their journey. For example, if they’re looking doing a lot of research around mortgages and mortgage rates, clearly they’re interested in buying a house. So from what else you may know about the client, you can personalise your service and be able to identify alternatives, personalise and make that purchase more efficient for them in a variety of ways. But the challenge there you’ll never have all the clients information, you only have a piece of that financial situation, but you can at least start working from that piece.

What are the benefits of personalizing products and services?

There’s two ways to think about this, one is from the customer’s point of view, so any time you can propose a product or a solution that fits with how you can identify customer needs. This means the customer is going to be much better off as you are going to be able to make a choice in something that’s much more relevant for them. Because personalization is not just about personalizing content, but it’s also looking at the customer situation and identifying what is relevant for them at certain points in time. Personalization really helps because it helps you to propose products or services at the right time when of one of your client needs it. You might not have the whole situation of the customer, but you can go through personalization or targeting, understand more about the customer and their financial situation so you can get even better recommendations for them, because you won’t always have all the pieces. I think on the other side of the house it helps to understand what types of products resonate better with customers. For example something that we think might be really exciting and really beneficial and then we target and personalize the product to a certain type of client and we don’t get any reaction or we get less reaction than we expected. Then it tells us, okay, maybe we’ve missed the mark here, maybe we need to do something different. So what we think might be a good idea may not actually be a good idea for certain type of clients. So personalization gives you that required information to better focus and better deliver services to clients.

How can social media be leveraged to enhance the personalization of banks?

There’s two different sides of social media, you can have clients and prospects following your channels, following your various social media presences so that you can use social media to share content. Once you share content, depending on the channel, you can get feedback back from the channel about who’s interested in what. So then you can leverage that to serve up more content to the individuals who are interested in that type of content. So you can leverage the data on your social media channels to be able to retarget those clients. Then the other piece of it is pushing out content based on the ability of a social media channel to help you target your audience. It’s getting more and more difficult these days, but there’s still opportunity to do that, to be able to target audiences, to be able to personalize content based on what criteria you can get from the channel. Also as clients engage with that content, they’re going to come back to your website or your banking applications. You’re going to then know more about what they’re interested in because now they’re engaged with you through another channel, whether it’s your own social or another part of the social ecosystem, which you can combine again with your own data about the client to continue to be able to personalize content.

How can data be used to increase the bank’s ability to personalize its services?

Data is a huge word, even though its only four letters. So I think of data from two angles again, one is what I call transactional data which is the data we look at data all the time around, what types of accounts our clients have, what they’re holding, what they’re doing with their accounts. The other piece of data that we look at is what I call more behavioral data. Behavioral data breaks down into a series of things around what content are they consuming? Are they looking at research reports? Are they looking at our page on mortgages? Are they looking at information about 401K? Another piece of behavioral data is how they behave when they’re on either a website or a banking application where they click and how long they stay on the pages for. Behavioral data can help us in terms of building our journeys and making our platforms better, but they can also tell us information about the path that people go to make a buying decision. You can leverage all of that data again to be able to build out the data of what you know about the customer, because you have all that data in your transaction systems you can see how the client is behaving. When there are various properties or even in social media, you can then begin to construct an even bigger view of that client. So again, you can begin to personalize, and begin to give them relevant information that’s relevant to where they are in their financial situation and not just randomly bombard them with, ‘open an account here’ or ‘buy this product’ because it might not be relevant for them and you want relevance and personalization. Personalization is more than just knowing who they are, it’s delivering relevant content.

John was a speaker at our 2022 CX & Digital Banking USA Congress.