By Neeraj Sinha
In this new age, customization is not just another box, it’s the key to interacting with the end user. As with any other service, banking could quickly become a standard service in this new age of platform personalization and improvement.
Welcome to the world of hyperconnectivity and hyperpersonalization. Welcome to the world of smart banking! A world where data emerges as new oil and attention emerges as new gold. New Age banking was at the crossroads of these extremes. Banking – traditionally viewed as a privilege and accessible to a few – has expanded its dominance over time and should now be a privilege for everyone and accessible online.
With rising ambitions, customer behavior and access to technology, banking has evolved into a service by escaping the boundaries of location and physical infrastructure and becoming an “always-on” solution that appears on the screen of the Mobile phone is available. At the same time, the technology that makes businesses and services accessible online has accelerated the adoption of digital financial transactions, investments, and payments. This has further resulted in the humble bank account becoming the haven for ongoing calls, thus offering multiple uses to achieve various financial goals, both physical and digital.
Considering that all of this can be traced back to the past decade, this is evidence that user behavior is fairly nascent and there is a need to keep the steep learning curve in hand. The adaptation or personalization serves as a key leveler. Personalization or customization initially means providing users with relevant options.
Imagine the restaurant of a five-star hotel where the frequent visitors are greeted with their preferred greeting, their favorite starters are served, or recommendations are made based on the orders on their previous visits, etc. This culture of personalization has always been associated with premium services that banking should have in an otherwise unified world.
In doing so, the technology has become a great trailblazer. In the past few years, customer-centric industries like banking have hone their technological abilities to deliver hyper-personalized services – as many as over-customization.
Due to their importance, banks already have access to real-time customer data from online and offline purchases, website sessions, engagements and interactions via kiosks, emails and mobile applications. Over the years, banks have invested heavily in newer technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer service. Today’s AI and machine learning capabilities automatically create self-learning models – efficiently and in real time – so customers get the simplest contextual experience with every interaction. By understanding the individual needs of consumers, banks can create experiences that are more compelling and interesting.
Shifting the mindset from product push to personalized, notification-assisted requirements can improve customer satisfaction and dramatically increase engagement. The same goes for walking a tightrope when it comes to asking for attention or invading privacy. The hyper-personalization experience is typically used to improve process efficiency by predicting, suggesting, and constantly learning from user habits and preferences. At the same time, this means not pushing a flood of information in order to further confuse or impair the decision-making process at the end of the user. Example: If you are a credit card customer, the relevant options for the solution at hand (pay fees, redeem rewards, block or report card, request limit improvement, etc.) must be displayed at the top of the home screen. Other products can be added at the same time, but in an order that corresponds to the behavior or trend of the customer or the segment made up of a collection of similar users. The other level is security and data protection – which are essential in a data-driven world in order to promote trust and respect in a world of technology-driven interfaces that is otherwise characterized by bits and bytes.
AI helps you understand all of this data as it predicts what customers want and then uses that information for inventory, product development, and more. In a world that turns out to be always connected, with solutions interacting with one another to define a comprehensive consumer personality, hyper-personalization has quickly become the cornerstone of the super-app revolution – a property that was previously usually associated with a device or platform . Not only would this open doors to improve the user experience. Even more important, however, is strengthening a personalized bond between customer and bank in order to transcend the faceless layer of technology and data. All of this without compromising customer privacy.
(Neeraj Sinha is Head of Consumer & Retail Banking at SBM Bank (India). The views expressed by the author are personal.)