The power of personalization at scale — why financial services organizations can’t afford to ignore it
This article is part one in a series that uncovers how leading financial organizations are unifying data, modernizing technology, and re-engineering customer outcomes through personalization at scale.
Designing a seamless customer experience in a rapidly changing business landscape can feel a lot like trying to hit a moving target. But for financial services, exploring ways to deepen customer relationships and personalize every touchpoint is a business imperative. Simply put, the future of financial services lies in helping your customers effortlessly navigate their personal financial journey.
Personalization starts with putting customers at the center of a fully enabled, connected digital experience to deeply understand their unique needs and give them value with every interaction. Experience Leaders — firms in various industries that are leveraging data to create connected, contextually relevant experiences for every customer across all interactions and channels — are seeing positive business impacts.
In fact, a recent Adobe-commissioned report from Forrester, Personalization At Scale: A Spotlight On The Financial Services Industry, showed that companies are already surpassing their personalization program targets and expectations, resulting in significant benefits for both customers and businesses. Specifically, 64% of firms are seeing higher revenue, 62% are improving customer experience, and 61% are acquiring more customers through these efforts.
Forrester's research identified three key technology categories and capabilities that distinguish Experience Leaders from other organizations. In this series, we will delve into the ways Experience Leaders are integrating these capabilities to provide personalization at scale.
- Data and insights — By connecting data from all customer touchpoints and channels, Experience Leaders gain a deeper understanding of their customers and can act on insights in real time.
- Content creation and management — Experience Leaders engage customers with relevant messages and offers by scaling content through collaborative solutions.
- Cross-channel journey orchestration — Experience Leaders reach customers where they are, adapting content and messaging to their interests and needs at just the right time and place.
Keep reading to learn how leaders in the financial services space found success in these areas by restructuring their people and processes to deliver meaningful experiences that guide every customer toward a brighter financial future.
Operationalize personalization with a center of excellence
Many C-level executives consider customer experience a fundamental part of their corporate strategy and establish a center of excellence for personalization at scale. A personalization center of excellence (CoE) or dedicated cross-functional team can help prioritize use cases, implement solutions across the enterprise, and operationalize your customer experience goals.
According to many executives who have successfully executed personalized experiences, creating an effective CoE model can take years of work off your internal teams and help your organization reach ROI faster. Here are some key principles to help you create an effective CoE model that sets your team up to run personalized campaign offers at scale:
- Assemble a cross-functional team with complementary skillsets.
- Outline clear objectives and best practices that foster innovation.
- Design agile processes and governance for consistency.
- Create a repository of reusable assets and components.
- Set a measurement framework for accountability.
Financial organizations are starting to see what personalizing a customer’s financial journey can really mean for their overall success, and they’re reorienting their organizations to focus less on the next best product and more on delivering the next best financial experience.
Hire, train, and upskill for agility
As you consider building out your CoE, you’ll need to develop digital skillsets that will help bring your vision of personalization at scale to fruition. It’s also important to note that Experience Leaders ranked upskilling as vital to recentering the organization around customer experience capabilities. Let’s look at an example of how a similar approach had a positive operational impact at Vanguard.
Vanguard modernized its overall marketing tech stack to better integrate its people, processes, and technology. They spun up websites 6 to 10 times faster and recognized $778,000 in efficiency gains.
In another Forrester report, Envisioning End-To-End Process Redesign In Financial Services, there were a few additional practices specific to financial services organizations that aided in securing the right talent to achieve personalization at scale:
- Revamp compensation structures to incentivize new organization and process adoption.
- Hire and retrain technical staff with skills and experience in automation.
- Shift internal resources to focus on customer experience and a better employee experience.
- Create an inspiring vision of the future at all levels of the organization.
True transformation isn’t possible without friction, but redesigning processes and incentives that support organizational change can help leaders cultivate shared interest and accountability around customer experiences.
Rethink processes, technology, and budgets
Experience Leaders in the financial services space were not afraid to embrace change management to orient their organization around customer experiences. When you think about scaling one-to-one relationships for millions of customers, it takes more than just the right technology. According to Forrester, you’ll want to take these areas into consideration as you prepare your roadmap for delivering personalized customer experiences:
- Rethink technology investments to leverage more features.
- Rationalize martech to free up budget.
- Embrace process redesign and plan for change management.
- Prioritize automating high-volume, low-value tasks.
Whether you consider advanced solutions or optimize how you use current systems, your structural processes and technology have a direct impact on your ability to deepen customer relationships.
Make it about the customer everywhere they go
As customers become more empowered and have higher expectations, companies must shift their focus from solely providing value to the bank to providing value to the customer — whether that value is educational, service-related, or transactional. This approach forces marketers to think more broadly about the customer experience and consider a more diverse set of journeys beyond just sales-oriented ones. Marketers must also translate data into more meaningful insights to better understand and deliver on their customers’ most pressing financial needs with solutions rather than just pushing products. By putting the customer at the center, companies can build stronger relationships, increase loyalty, and ultimately drive greater business success.