Why banks are not getting the most value from their hardest working staff member
By Martin Brennan, SAS Ireland
Imagine you’re the branch manager of a high street bank. It’s Freshers’ Week and a student walks in to open their first account. Would you encourage your staff to sell them a mortgage at the same time? Sounds like a ridiculous idea, but it’s exactly how most banks approach customer relationships online.
Which is a great shame. A bank’s website is its hardest working, most cost-effective and best-informed member of staff. Tell me, who else meets and greets a million customers a week, works 24/7, and can unobtrusively ask more questions than a call centre or branch ever could? All without looking for holidays! Yet it is woefully underused – usually just seen as a functional channel for everyday transactions and one-size-fits-all marketing.
Banks rely on their branches and outbound sales teams as the main conduits for collecting information and building warm communications with customers – even though increasingly more people are ‘self-serve transacting’ through online, mobile and tablet.
And heavy regulation means banks struggle to get off on the right foot with customers through outbound marketing. No one likes to answer a raft of questions before proceeding with an unsolicited marketing call, often for a totally irrelevant product…“This call is recorded”, “Can I verify your date of birth?”, “What’s the first line of your address?” Ughh, go away!
Yet a bank’s website can get around all these issues. Customers visit websites frequently, on their terms, and are not already turned off by the cold experience of security questions once they are logged on. It’s a golden opportunity to collect information about how they interact with their finances and your brand, what services they use and how often.
Traditional web analytics is great for telling you how many hits and clicks are recorded during a period, but what if you could find out WHO is hitting and clicking? It's great to know you got 10,000 clicks on a new loan calculator, but does that show you that:
- 60% of these customers will fail credit policy?
- 20% have an above average propensity to fall into arrears?
- Or 10% of those that came from a pricey banner ad are all existing customers?
This valuable information can be integrated with your smaller data – transactional, CRM, product ownership, lifetime value – to provide a unique view of the customer’s relationship with the bank and their life stage needs. Predictive analytics can enable banks to instantly understand how likely they are to be interested in certain products, so the bank’s best sales resource – the website – can make tailored, personalised suggestions instead of pushing the product de jour.
These are just a few of the ways that, by getting better at collecting and analysing data from their website, banks can create a warmer, more personal relationship with customers and drive sales and satisfaction.
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A bank’s website is its hardest working, most cost-effective and best-informed member of staff. Tell me, who else meets and greets a million customers a week, works 24/7, and can unobtrusively ask more questions than a call centre or branch ever could? All without looking for holidays! Yet it is woefully underused – usually just seen as a functional channel for everyday transactions and one-size-fits-all marketing.