This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.
The way banks collect and use information about their customers is changing. We’ve come a long way since the days of gathering rudimentary contact information or even the customer relationship management (CRM) systems of the late ‘90s, which focused solely on managing the customer relationship and storing as much information about each customer as possible.
Today, it’s more about the quality rather than the quantity of information. Banks are now focusing on how they can turn their data into useful information so that they can really understand their customers at an individual level and use their insights to predict what their customers will want in the future. They’re moving towards a system of intelligence.
In many cases, we’re seeing more and more banks focus on merging CRM with advanced analytics technologies. VeriPark Next Best Action, built on the Microsoft Cloud, is a great example. It analyses data collected from CRM (such as Microsoft Dynamics 365) and other banking systems, including e-mail, mobile apps, service centre calls, in-branch conversations, ATM use and so on. Using the built-in analytics capabilities of Cortana Intelligence Suite and the high compute workload of Azure Machine Learning, banks can sort through mounds of CRM data to identify patterns and trends, and determine the optimal next action to take with an individual customer.
Using this type of tool, banks can do more to boost customer loyalty and improve client retention. For instance, they could identify the top five attributes of a customer that is likely to leave the bank, such as going into retirement, moving house or changing job – pinpoint these triggers and then be alerted when they happen so that they can act fast.
Leading banks are already doing an amazing job of using CRM and analytics technologies to deliver a superior customer experience. Metrobank – the first new UK high street bank to open in 150 years – is using Microsoft Business Solutions to offer more relevant products and services and to track social sentiment. Wells Fargo, meanwhile, is breaking down divisions across its organisation so that it can gain one unified view of the customer. And from an SMB service standpoint, RBS is doing a great job of using technology to offer its clients value add advisory services.
Looking further to the future, it will be interesting to see how banks harness artificial intelligence and combine it with their existing channels and mechanisms to add another layer to the customer experience. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry, as we move from managing information, to understanding it, to gaining insight from it and, ultimately, using it to understand where we will be tomorrow.
Chad Hamblin is global industry director, Financial Services, Microsoft