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Published: 05.12.2021

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Data and Audience

Personalization in Banking is Key for Customer Retention

In omnichannel marketing, personal is powerful.

Research by BAI, a nonprofit independent organization that delivers the financial services industry’s most actionable insights, found that 90 percent of consumers in 2021 say their attitude toward their primary financial institution is the same or better than it was in the pre-pandemic calm of 2019. While 58 percent of industry leaders believe bank and credit union reputations will be better a year from now, only 41 percent of consumers feel the same. 

It’s a fascinating conundrum. Banks and credit unions weathered the potential drawbacks of COVID account holder satisfaction. But now that the end of the nation’s worst public health crisis in more than a century is on the horizon, financial institutions will have to maintain that surprising level of consumer trust in the years to come.

There is a huge post-COVID opportunity to exceed customer and member expectations while differentiating between competition from fintech disruptors and the like. But this account holder retention issue will inevitably put pressure on financial institution marketing departments. To make the best of consumer goodwill, they should look to improve the personalized omnichannel experience.

Perfecting Personalization

Being proactive and personal when communicating with account holders goes a long way toward giving top-notch service that will drive post-pandemic customer retention. The question then is: how exactly can marketers achieve this?

Here are a few personalization strategies for institutions to know, understand, and establish better connections with customers and members.

1. Trust in Data

If you’re a bank or credit union that struggles with data, then you’ll struggle with personalization to keep customer satisfaction high. 

For far too long, the concern was that entrenched banks and credit unions with legacy processes could not afford to leverage insights through complex machine learning and predictive analytics. They may have an MCIF (Marketing Customer Information File) system or basic access to core data. But they tend not to know how to manipulate that data and figure out how to best use it. There’s no use in data without the actionable insights to benefit the institution and its customers. Thankfully, that’s shouldn’t be the case anymore.

Regardless of the size of the financial institution, they should know predictive, analytical data resources are most certainly available to them to be able to illuminate entire account holder journeys. That’s step-one in winning consumers by taking personalization to an entirely new level.

Now that the end of the nation’s worst public health crisis in more than a century is on the horizon, financial institutions will have to maintain that surprising level of consumer trust in the years to come.

2. Ensure Relevant Messaging

People want relevance. Why is that important? If general satisfaction with financial institutions is high, the way financial institutions keep satisfaction high is by serving relevant messages. 

All too often, financial institutions have been guilty of offering products and services when particular customers or members already have that product or service. Even worse, maybe they don’t even need that product or service. Why spend the money to communicate with customers and members if it’s all for naught? 

When reaching out to customers or members with any sort of message or offer, marketers must use data to make sure that it pertains to those audiences specifically. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as much as it should. If banks and credit unions are set up with actionable core data, they can make sure to communicate to customers and members across relevant touchpoints that are pertinent to their specific needs — which keeps them around longer.

3. Think Long-Term Relationships

Decision-makers need to remember that they shouldn’t forget about building initiatives around the consumer. Retention isn’t something that can be achieved in a day, week, or month — it’s an ongoing trust-building exercise. 

Consumers are in constant motion, and financial needs may shift. The personalization factor here also involves making sure customers and members feel that financial institutions want to genuinely get to know them and help to problem-solve their financial pain points. Responding quickly to changing account holder attitudes and delivering proactive solutions before they defect means that you’re actively rewarding them for their brand loyalty. 

Targeting customers and members via personalization empower banks and credit unions with the ability to build account holder engagement and gain competitive advantages. Polls show they’ve managed to keep customer and member sentiment at the same or better percentage than before the pandemic, which can’t be said about institutions across other industries. To preserve core relationships that retain customers and members, now is the time to use personalization strategies that ensure those relationships last years in the future. 


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