Monthly Archives: November 2012

New Predictive Banking Solutions Increase Share of Wallet and Improve the Customer Experience

The banking industry remains challenging.  The breadth of competitive products continues to grow, with many new payments and prepaid players entering the market looking to take business from banks, like Google and now Wal-Mart teaming with American Express.  Additionally, the regulatory landscape and public perception is as tough as it has ever been.  An Accenture Banking 2016 report says that banks are “faced with a daunting array of market, regulatory, customer, cost and operational challenges” and many “are struggling to post even moderate growth.”

So how can banks increase their share of wallet with each of their customers?  Bain & Company recently said, “Earning loyalty requires both eliminating sources of dissatisfaction and delivering experiences that delight.”  The goal is to create customer loyalty, “Because loyal customers buy more, stay longer and refer valuable new customers, the stakes are high for banks to deliver the right experience for the interactions that most matter to customers, using the most cost-effective channel that will earn their loyalty.”

Technology solutions that improve customer interactions may be one of the best approaches to bettering customer experiences and creating a competitive advantage.

“Many banks are looking at new technology solutions that promise to improve the customer experience and build customer loyalty so that banks can increase their share of wallet with existing customers,” says Ido Ophir, head of products at Personetics– a pioneer in predictive virtual assistant solutions.  “Banks are equally concerned however with controlling costs, so any improvement needs to help banks on both sides of the issue. Predictive technology solutions are proving to be a viable next step for banks to mitigate service costs, improve the customer experience and boost revenues.”

One of the newest approaches is to leverage technology which anticipates customer needs.  Personetics predictive virtual assistant does just that.  If the customer clicks the Personetics help button within the online or mobile banking environments, the user is presented with a personalized message and three of the most likely reasons for their contact.  Personetics uses information from current and previous interactions and crowd behavior to present the most likely options to answer the question or solve the problem.  Customers can always choose to talk or type their question at anytime too.  The result is that problems are solved more quickly and customers are happier with their banking experience.  Additionally, because interactions avoid call centers and other live help channels, the cost per contact is minimal.  Actual user data shows that more than 40% look for assistance on specific charges, with less than five percent being referred to a live agent.  “At $4 to $10 per live call, savings add up quickly,” says Ophir.

One of the biggest benefits of predictive technology is that it can recommend new products and services at the exact moment the customer is most likely to say yes – at the moment of truth.  For example, when someone is looking at a recent overdraft fee, a bank may want to recommend ways for the customer to avoid fees in the future, like signing up for overdraft fee protection services.  “It’s about making your customer’s life easier and keeping them more informed while trimming your bank’s operational costs and generating new revenue,” says Ophir.  When relevant products and services are recommended at the right time, and the user is given an easy way to sign up, acceptance rates can be impressive. Personetics user data shows that customers accept timely recommendations 55% of the time.

Some typical recommendations include:

  • Sign up for e-statements
  • Use direct deposit instead of manual deposits
  • Use bill pay to pay recurring charges
  • Sign up for overdraft protection
  • Sign up for account activity alerts
  • Use P2P to send money to friends
  • Learn about remote deposit capture
  • Offer complementary services (auto loans)

Today, banking services and products are largely commoditized, but providing a personalized customer experience can be a rare point of differentiation.  “If you exceed your customers’ expectations when they reach out to you, the bank builds loyalty,” says Ophir.  “Loyalty and trust compel people to want to do more business with their banks.  We believe that Personetics Digital Banker will help banks improve customer satisfaction and grow business immediately, and over the next decade.”

November 20: Name Your PC Day

Does your PC have a personality?  You probably spend more time with your PC than you do with your spouse or loved ones.  If you haven’t named your PC yet, today is the day.  November 20 is “NAME YOUR PC DAY!”  When I ran Windows, I used to call my PC “Crash”.  My Mac has been my best friend for several years now.  Zen and I work well with one another every day.

PR – It’s not just about press releases anymore

While most companies still use press releases as the standard format to communicate with journalists, chasing that top of the fold story in the Wall Street Journal, or a feature in your important trade publications, the publishing landscape has changed drastically and so has the press release value proposition. Everyone – individuals and companies – are now publishers, and press releases can be an important piece of your content mix, but shouldn’t be your only communication vehicle.

Just 15 short years ago, companies spent weeks laboriously drafting press releases and planning distribution. Great media lists and relationships were critical and wire distributions were likely the most important push mechanism to get your news to the world. Some may also remember that this was the era of the fax machine. Remember those? Who uses those today? Anyway, you would push your news over the wire, fax to journalists and mail hard copies to others. Lastly, you’d call each of your top targets to pitch them on why they should cover your news. Journalists were the primary gatekeepers for the mass media channel and thus your purchasing public. That isn’t always the case now that the media industry has evolved, largely into smaller, more granular outlets and publishers.

Today, we see many companies, bloggers and other Websites with equal or better circulation numbers than many old-school media outlets. The playing field has been leveled and you need to understand how self-publishing should shape your marketing and communication efforts.

Build content for each appropriate channel – mass media, self-publishing and social media. Some may overlap and each can certainly be leveraged to draft the next piece of content. Some examples include:

  • Press Releases – still a great way to reach media, but also a great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool for your Website and/or publishing platform. Leveraged correctly, press releases can get you in front of the right editors and drive traffic to your Web real estate directly. Be sure to pick a good wire service that pushes to as many news auto-aggregators as possible. These are news sites that automatically scan wires and add releases to their own databases – typically for at least a week or two. Even some of the cheaper wire options get reposted by hundreds of news outlets. This may not get you on the first page of the Journal, but it sure helps your Web efforts. You should continue to do one-on-one pitching to accurate media and analyst lists.
  • Self-Publishing, Blogging – With proper tagging and indexing, your self-published content can show up as top results on Google and other search engines. People often turn to search engines first when they have questions, and with minimal effort you can place your news above media-driven content. Be sure to write in a balanced voice. Remember that people are turned off by self-serving views. Biased perspectives and conclusions are discounted and quickly forgotten. Use outside experts and credible statistics to support your arguments where possible.
  • Video, Multimedia – Text is great, but the Web can support so much more. Video, especially, can differentiate your content and drive more viewers. Great visuals for articles can do the same. It is true that a picture can be worth a thousand words, and with the popularity of YouTube, which is now the second most popular search engine, video is worth much more.

So remember that the press release is still a very important tool in PR, but that there are many other channels you should explore to get your message out. Various stakeholders (prospects, customers, employees, media, analysts, investors and more) may also prefer one over the other. Be sure to create well-written, credible content and repurpose for all relevant channels. Don’t wait on a journalist to write a feature for you – push out your content today, and on a consistent basis.

Good luck pitching.

About the Author:
Jon Stotts is founder of eXprtMedia & Marketing and has 14 years experience managing marketing and communication programs for technology and financial services focused companies. He has spent much of his career inside technology companies, managing multiple external agencies. Stotts has extensive experience working with all types of technology firms, international companies looking to increase business in the U.S., venture and private equity-backed companies, publicly traded companies and mergers & acquisitions. Stotts holds a degree in journalism from Georgia State University and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University.