Data, personalization, and AI are the focus of many conversations in banking right now. But as Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand points out, while everybody wants to get better at using data and AI to personalize customer experiences, implementation has been slow.
That’s why we sponsored our recent webinar, “Building the Bank Data and Tech Toolkit,” which you can watch on our website right now. We were honored to have Jim Marous, one of the top 5 most influential people in banking, moderate our discussion with Envestnet® | Yodlee® data & analytics subject matter experts Eric Jamison and Om Deshmukh.
In the webinar, Jamison, Deshmukh, and Marous discussed the challenges banks and tech companies are facing with data and AI and presented ways to overcome these challenges.
Here are some of the highlights:
The first building block for successfully using data and analytics, as outlined by Deshmukh, is to start with the customer and focus on solving a particular pain point for them. The second is to think of data as two-way traffic, so you’re not just collecting relevant data elements, but also ensuring that the data is available for all the analytics that you want to do.
Customer-centric mindsets are everything
Marous observed that our industry understands the importance of customer-centric mindsets, but often builds business plans around product goals.
Moving from a product-centric mindset to a customer-centric one can be difficult. “The biggest challenge for the FIs is to connect all those different typical silos, those product silos… and to figure out how those products relate to the consumer, rather than which product is right for the consumer,” Jamison says. “There’s a subtlety to that, and it’s a real challenge. And we and others in the market have helped connect some of those dots.”
Data starvation vs. data glut
Financial institutions are struggling with data; not because they’re in data starvation mode, but because they’re in a data overload mode. “It’s a different kind of problem,” Deshmukh says. “The expectation from customers naturally is, ‘Look, I am giving you all of this data. I expect you to understand me in a better way. So that when you turn around and interact with me tomorrow, or two weeks later, or a month later, you have the full context, and you provide me a personalized service or a personalized message.”
According to Jamison, analytics offer a distinct advantage to find the golden needles in the haystack. “Being able to filter out and narrow down the data to the most relevant, the next best action, is really how our clients are looking to leverage providers like us,” says Jamison. “Because you can have all the products and services in the world, but if you’re just kind of putting them out there in front of your customers, you’re just throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks.”
Democratizing financial wellness
Panelists also discussed how generative AI.machine learning and chatGPT tools are democratizing financial wellness because they’re enabling advisors and banks to better connect to where customers are on their financial wellness journey. It also creates more meaningful two-way dialog: customers better understand themselves and narrow down what steps to take to move forward.
So, what should financial institutions do first to build the personalization journey?
Jamison affirmed that understanding where all your data is and attaining a complete picture of your customer is the first and biggest step to personalizing the customer experience. “Once you have all of that information, everything else becomes possible,” he says. He also stressed that working with a provider to drive that complete view is key and can lead to better outcomes for your customers and your business, rather than going at it alone.
Deshmukh says that the most important thing financial institutions can do in order to not fall further behind is to take the first step with their data. It doesn’t matter how small the step is or what direction it’s in. Anything an FI can do to help their customer get a better sense of where their money is coming from or going, or what they need to do to pay off their debts or save for long-term goals, matters. “Any piece of data that you touch will definitely have value,” he says. “Just take the first step”.