Personalisation: an imperative for financial services

Man reading a piece of paper while holding a phone, surrounded by abstract finance designs

The digital revolution in financial services has resulted in the delivery of many tailored offerings for finance customers. However, the significant advances made in other sectors are continuing to redefine customers’ expectations, accelerated exponentially by the impact of the pandemic.

This now makes personalising the customer experience imperative as customers look for convenience when managing their finances.

Asia-Pacific consumers can no longer be stereotyped based on generation or age, according to the latest Adobe research.

Consumers now are demanding financial services brands treat them as multidimensional individuals by actively personalising their product offerings to their needs.

By doing so, personalisation can help financial services deliver solutions to their customers before they even realise that they have a need or problem.

“People are so important,” says Stevie-Ann Dovico, Executive Digital, Customer & Colleague at NAB.

“We weren’t doing great personalisation five years ago. It’s a big shift from old school marketing - it’s not just about the tech, it’s about helping the workforce come on the journey.”

She says realising the importance of taking a step back and building stronger foundations to drive digital transformation, rather than being caught up on product features, means NAB can access data across all customer life stages to deliver those personalised experiences.

Consumers are unique individuals

Consumers’ brand preferences are more becoming increasingly fluid, with 54% saying they will switch from their favourite brands as their personal circumstances change.

As a result, a massive 86% of APAC consumers want to be seen and treated as an individual. For finance companies seeking to deliver a superior customer experience, the consequences of not considering the individual can be serious. Based on the survey, 67% of consumers will develop a negative perception of a brand that interacts with them based on broad or inaccurate assumptions.

Australian superannuation fund HESTA puts the customer’s needs at the core of their experience.

“When building customer experiences, we always think about how we can build customers’ financial confidence. Adobe helped with building a members’ suggestion platform,” says Lisa Samuels, HESTA’s Chief Experience Officer.

For example, the super fund’s data analysis revealed that while its customers are often seeking financial advice, they’re not expecting it from HESTA.

To personalise this and remain relevant, HESTA focuses on how to help customers take the next step and be there for their customers when they’re looking for that knowledge.

Giving consumers what they want

Personalisation means letting go of the ways of the past, where customers could access a set of savings, borrowing and investment products, each with their own sales and servicing characteristics. Instead, consumers of financial services are increasingly expecting a highly personalised service determined by their individual needs, according to consultants Deloitte. This means understanding customers as consumers and fostering the type of emotional connection that is commonplace in other sectors such as retail and consumer goods.

Deloitte says that to achieve these objectives, one key building block is data science - and with open banking now in force, there is more data available than ever before. Brands can use behavioural and ethnographic research capabilities to innovate, in terms of both product functionality and product design.

The way to do this is not necessarily using generational stereotypes, as only 19% of those surveyed considered being labelled by their age cohort, such as “Millennial” or “Gen Z”, as relevant or helpful. Only 38% of consumers agreed with stereotypes about their generation.

Beyond one-size-fits-all

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will no longer work. Financial services brands need to think about how to tailor and personalise content to add genuine value to the rapidly evolving consumer of today. For example, a bank might be able to partner with a fintech company to get greater insight on a customer’s payment data, loans and other financial products, in order to tailor offers to them.

Other key considerations highlighted by the survey include:

The verdict is in: consumers expect digital experiences that are relevant to them as individuals at that time, are consistent, provide value and are based on a strong foundation of trust. Those that don’t have the most up-to-date information will struggle to build trust with their customers.

The next challenge is not just to personalise for the individual, but do it at scale.

Download the Personalisation At Scale: Bring Forth The Customer And Business Benefits Of Experience Excellence to learn more about benefits and best practices of delivering personalised experiences during every step of your customer’s journeys.