In a recent BWG Strategy survey, feedback was acquired from 77 US banking professionals across a spectrum of bank sizes and locations. They answered questions on the frequency of branch visits, the frequency of digital use, and their predictions for the next couple of years.

Not surprisingly, the survey showed that the overall number of in-person branch visits is going down, and the frequency of digital use is going up. However, the survey revealed some shocking new insights.

Retail banking experts Alex Jimenez and Christopher Young are breaking down the data, discussing the latest trends, and helping you invest in the path toward greater banking success.

Current Trends in the Banking Industry

There are a few key themes banks are looking at right now. This includes seamless payments and API-driven experiences (also known as banking as a service), future-proofing infrastructures, and integrating business models offered by organizations outside of banking.

On top of this, banks are digging into technology. They’re analyzing cloud capabilities, moving beyond data lakes, and considering the impact of AI and other technologies. They’re also focused on regulation and security measures.

Two of the biggest upcoming trends in retail banking are personalization and data-driven banking. Consumers are receiving personalization in other areas of their life, and they expect the same from their banking tools. They’re looking for specific information or a product or service that’s unique to their needs.

How To Personalize the Customer Journey — Even for the Customer Who Isn’t Tech-Savvy

As customers ask for increased personalization and ease of use, banks are moving toward the most convenient set of tools. Oftentimes, this means digital tools. But what about the customer who isn’t tech-savvy?

Alex reminds us that personalization is all about the customer, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be digital-based. Alex explains, “Whatever you do in one area should be applicable elsewhere. So when we talk about personalization and giving advice to customers, it should not just be we are only going to do that on the mobile app, or we're only going to do that online. At a branch, that kind of personalization bubbles up because the branch employee gets the information to relay that advice to a customer in person or call center person as well. So you’ve got to be thinking holistically about all the channels and how customers deal with them.”

It’s not about in-person or digital — all of your services have to work cohesively and cater to the customer journey.

Investing in Technology and Using Data To Make Informed Decisions

To ensure that you’re improving the consumer journey, it’s important to communicate effectively, keep the consumer top-of-mind, and gather data to make informed decisions.

As Christopher says, “You cannot optimize or fix what you can't measure.” Investing in technology can help build data stacks, analyze and measure data, and, ultimately, enhance the user experience. “For us,” Christopher explains, “we're looking to aggregate data from different sources for activation purposes — unification and activation. How can we have a common understanding of the individual across that journey and then ultimately be able to activate that data in real-time?”

Technology advancements may be the answer. This can be a major cost, but investing in technology can help you build a better funnel (both digitally and in physical branches) to get more people through the pipeline and acquire more clients. If you’re not investing in technology, you’re losing clients who are frustrated with an inadequate personalized journey. Technology, data, and the customer journey are all connected, and when you put effort into these areas, you’ll see significant success.

With the digital transformation taking over the business world, personalization is more important than ever before. Customers don’t want to feel like another number in your marketing statistics or website analytics.

So, how can you create personalized experiences that speak to your customers’ individual wants and drive real results for your brand?

 Building a Strong Foundation for Your Personalization Program

When it comes to creating personalized experiences, getting started is easy. However, finding long-term success can be a little bit more difficult. That’s why it’s essential to build a sturdy foundation for your personalization program to grow and succeed. According to Sarah Ohle from Hero Digital, there are four pillars that can help you win at personalization: customer understanding, moments-based experience, privacy and trust, and industry-specific needs.

By leaning into each of these pillars, you can design personalized experiences that speak directly to your consumers’ wants and needs. How? By putting humans at the core of your personalization strategy.

Using Data, Analytics, and Digital Intelligence to Get a Deeper Understanding of Your Customer

In-depth analysis is the key to understanding not only what your customers want, but also the greater context around their buying journeys. But, with so much first-party data at your fingertips, where do you start?

Simply capturing traffic and data sources isn’t enough to give you a full view of your audience — you need to know how to apply it in order to create a successful personalized experience.

Luckily, there are a few tools to help you make the most out of your data. Digital intelligence tools, for example, help brands go beyond customer interactions through digital touchpoints that align with data streams from other sources. These include sensors, bots, digital assistants, news services, and more. If you want to create a data-driven personalized experience, it may be time to expand your tech stack.

Designing Personalized Experiences That Really Work

Once you know who your audience is and what they want, you can start to create personalized experiences and content for them — no matter what stage of the customer’s journey they’re in.

However, providing a personalized experience doesn’t just mean producing content for different stages of the journey; the most successful brands should also segment each stage by even smaller criteria, such as the generation of the customer or their level of savviness with technology.

There are a number of creative and automated ways to segment your customers into groups, from email surveys to artificial intelligence tools. But whichever path you take, Adobe’s Christopher Young has one word of advice: make sure to bring your legal and compliance departments along during the process.

Communicating with them from the start will help you build a roadmap that improves customer trust and drives business success.

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