Financial trends can seem to be in a constant state of flux with elements such as chatbots, mobile banking, big data, and catering to younger and smaller demographics. Yet, while these trends may seem to reflect a great disparity, many are tied together under the larger umbrella of personalization. This trend, which has been steadily growing for the last decade or more, is the most important trend you can pay attention to because it captures the essence of what modern consumers want. Individual service and attention.
No longer content to be “just a number”, modern consumers – including Millennials and Gen Z – demand a personalized experience, complete with more control over data, customizable packages and products, and real-time, personalized guidance. While these offerings were near-impossible a decade ago, today’s technology (apps, big data, automation) allow financial institutions to meet those needs.
A Consumer’s Market
A modern consumer chooses a financial institution by conducting their own research, typically starting with an online search. From there, they might visit social media pages, make a few calls, or even ask friends. Despite the common myth that all financial institutions are the same and only price is a differentiator, modern consumers look for aspects including pricing, interest rates, features and services geared towards their life goals, good customer service reviews, a high level of consumer trust, and personalization in the form of digital services.
Here, personalization can help you to win customers through direct comparison. A financial institution model that allows you to quickly and easily update a loan package with pre-approved rates and values, or that offers custom packages to support individual investment and financial needs, will clearly stand out over a cut and paste bank account and savings/loan package.
Younger Consumers are Willing to Trade for Personalization
Where Baby Boomers are largely private with their data, Gen Z and Millennials are both willing to trade personal data for more personalization. This is reflected in studies by Salesforce showing 54% of Millennials are willing to share personal data with companies in exchange for personal guidance and tailored options, with 63% of Gen Z saying they understand how companies are using their data, and 75% stating they see value in it.
With the general consensus of the study showing that younger consumers prefer less privacy for more personalization, it is something financial institutions have to pay attention to when creating campaigns for younger generations. Epsilon goes further, showing that 90% of consumers find personalization to be appealing, and 80% are more likely to do business with organizations offering personalized experiences.
What is Personalization in Finance?
While many financial organizations recognize the need for increased personalization, today’s personalization services are far different from those of the recent past. Millennials and Gen Z don’t respond to outreach and celebrity influencers, but rather to the real-time application of data.
– Real-time guidance in the form of insight into banking data, financial trends, and spending habits
– Advice on packages and products which could increase savings or help manage spending
– Personalized communication, where individual data, names, and specific financial information is included as a standard
– Individual control over products and services (tailored services and rates)
– Updates and improvements to rates and interest based on customer-data, credit score, etc.
– Pre-approval for loans and mortgages based on credit score, income, etc.
– Notifications, when refinancing, switching accounts, or otherwise making changes, would benefit the customer.
Personalization means using data to create a customer profile, which is then used to auto-select options based on best-fit. Unlike with previous systems, this data has to include very person-specific information such as income, investments, total portfolio (land, vehicles, debt), location, spending habits, previous financial decision making, etc., rather than generic information such as gender and age. While these should still be taken into account, most banks already collect a significant amount of data allowing for better personalization.
Personalization and Individualization
Personalization trends diverge into two branches, with direct personalization and individualization. The two, which are wildly similar, simply change based on who is creating the personalized experience. It’s important for most financial institutions to understand and utilize both.
A personalized financial institution means that individuals are given support profiles, customer service representatives use available data for income, demographic, job, housing situation, investment portfolio, etc. This can be achieved through a range of big-data and automation, in combination with trained representatives who can see a certain amount of customer data during interactions.
The section option is to utilize individualization, where the customer can create and change their own packages and services through apps and online portals. Here, automation and algorithms can create a customer profile for the consumer, auto-approving mortgages and loans or services, auto-suggesting improvements and optimization, and allowing customers to make their own tweaks and changes to service packages.
Both are wildly different in application, but each requires utilization of the same consumer data. They also allow individuals to receive customized services and solutions, with custom applications, proactive offers, and solutions that are seemingly “tailor-made” just for them. While no service will ever be as one-on-one as unique, using big data and automation to create more personalized approaches to offers and pre-approval will build the perception of that level of personalization.
Personalization is becoming a huge trend in every industry, with companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google all providing more and more unique experiences. Consumers now want their financial partners to offer this same level of personalization. This means creating mechanisms to determine individual goals and preferences so that you can proactively create sales pitches, offers, and services to aid their specific needs. Consumers are willing to share personal data to help you reach this level of insight, but you have to deliver.
Personalization ties into almost all modern finance trends. Today’s financial institutions have the data to create automation, tailored experiences, and tailored products, which is now essential in differentiating those services from competitors while providing a stronger and more relevant consumer experience. Most importantly, personalized engagement and individualized service will help you to differentiate yourself from other financial organizations, especially as the demand for personalization grows.