Five Steps to Using Data to Become Your Customers’ Primary Financial Institution


By Laura Costello

The proliferation of fintech options for consumers poses significant challenges for traditional banks in the digital age. When customers turn to various apps and other digital providers for banking services, they are less likely to see an institution as their primary provider of financial services. In fact, BAI’s 2020 Banking Outlook study found that the number of customers who expect to stay with their primary financial institution in 2021 has declined across all demographic groups, compared to the same study’s results in 2019. .

Banks wishing to maintain primary relationships should focus on intelligent and deliberate use of data to deliver relevant and personalized product and service recommendations that improve both the customer experience and increase the organization’s revenue. . What banks need to recognize, of course, is that collecting data and using it effectively are two different things. To uncover untapped opportunities to engage customers and achieve lead financial institution status, bank marketers should follow these five steps:

1. Define exactly what it means to you to be a leading financial institution

Client needs and institutional goals vary from institution to institution, so it’s important to identify the characteristics that create your ideal clients and what they are looking for in their primary bank. If your ideal clients are looking for loans, for example, you are more likely to engage them with competitive loan rates and financing options than an ATM fee reimbursement policy. If you want to maximize deposits, on the other hand, you might benefit from working with small business owners who start the relationship by opening a business account.

2. Create a complete view of the customer

Every financial institution has access to certain types of customer data, but the key is to compile various silos into one big picture that yields meaningful information. For example, when it comes to behavioral data, you can identify customers who make regular payments to another institution. The data itself is not actionable, but identifying the characteristics that indicate that the payments are for a mortgage allows you to target customers for a refinance offer with your own bank.

To separate data from silos and visualize it in one place, you can partner with a financial technology company that offers data analysis and organization capabilities, or you can rely on internal staff and resources to aggregate this information internally. From card services and marketing to brokerage and mortgage services, every point of contact within your institution contains valuable data that can contribute to a stronger, more productive impression of a client. Aggregating this data will let you know if a customer aligns with your ideal personality and tell you how to strengthen your relationship with them.

3. Increase your data

The obvious customer data that financial institutions have in their hands (names, addresses, account balances, products in use, and debit or credit card activity) is a great place to start getting more money. information, but it is not enough to achieve the full potential of personalization. .

In many cases, partnering with third party data providers can be an effective way for banks to gain a more complete picture of the consumer. How many people live in the residence? Do they own their own home? What are their interests? Will he think about buying a car in the next six months? These details may seem tiny, but they are very relevant for banks looking to become a customer’s primary financial institution because they allow organizations to offer the right products at the right time.

4. Stay in touch

Despite what many financial institutions seem to think, good communication doesn’t necessarily mean more communication. Instead, good communication means relying on what you know about customers to reach them about a product or service at the right time.

Maybe your client is a recent college graduate looking to buy a house in the near future. In that case, educating that client on the mortgage products your institution offers to first-time buyers can help make your organization a go-to resource and the primary financial institution for a young and promising client. With just one additional relationship, you’ve increased the chances that they’ll turn to you later for a retirement account, college savings funds for kids that might not kick in for years, and more, all while solving a need with customer data.

5. Track your success and adapt to changing circumstances

Becoming a client’s primary financial institution doesn’t mean your job is done. Carefully monitor the customer journey and identify the reasons for attrition, especially as the financial products and services landscape becomes increasingly competitive.

It’s also important to take note of your bank’s changing definition of the ideal customer. Prior to 2020, many financial institutions were looking to maximize deposits and increase the number of chequing accounts. In 2020, however, deposits increased and banks sought to increase lending. Just as the goals of your clients change, so do the goals of a financial institution. Regularly review and refine who your organization sees as an ideal customer to ensure that you are marketing the innovative financial services that it seeks.

Data analytics in financial services is more important than ever, especially as trends in financial technology continue to shape consumer behavior and preferences. Traditional financial institutions need to engage customers with the right products and services at the right time, and there’s only one way to deliver that level of personalization: tap into the data and get to know your customers.

Laura Costello is Director of Marketing at Saylent, a software company that deciphers behavioral data to enable financial institutions to proactively meet customer needs and uncover growth opportunities.


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