How Can Online Finance Services Utilize Personalization?

The finances sector may be one of the oldest industries on the planet, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to evolution.
The world has changed a lot, especially over the past decade. If your financial institution wants to remain competitive over the next decade, it must begin investing in personalization.

Digital Banking Is Now the Standard 

Currently, 62% of Americans cite digital banking as their main method of banking. Don’t expect that trend to reverse anytime soon.
In order to remain competitive, banks need to engage customers online. 58% of consumers use multiple channels before choosing a financial product. This means they’re using one to research a particular product and another to actually apply for it. These channels may include a website, branch, phone, and mobile app.
It has become critical for banks to embrace digital opportunities to engage customers. All of tomorrow’s consumers will be made up of people who grew up taking digital channels for granted. They will simply ignore any bank that doesn’t offer this option.

Customer Experience Demands Personalization 

Customer experience has become the cornerstone of the finances sector.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Most companies discovered years ago that customer experience is essential in order to remain competitive. In fact, many already successful companies have made customer experience a priority in order to preempt the competition they know they’ll soon face.
The finances sector needs to catch up.
More than one-third of millennials have unflattering opinions of financial institutions. 46% of them report that their banks never send them relevant marketing materials that would help with a future need.
They’re far from alone in their dissatisfaction.
79% of all consumers say that their relationship with banks is primarily transactional in nature and not driven by an actual relationship.
89% of marketers working in the finances sector say that they primarily compete in terms of the customer experience they’re able to offer.
At least 80% of professionals working in financial services report that it is “very” or “extremely” important for them to know their customers. Despite this overwhelming percentage, they simply aren’t implementing the kinds of strategies required to do so.
That number comes from Digital Banking Report, which also found that the majority of these professionals also agree that it is either “very” or “extremely” important to provide customers with guidance in real time.
This explains why 55% of bankers said they planned to increase the amount they spent on customer experience initiatives last year.

The Solution Is Personalization 

So what’s the answer for companies in the finances sector?
Clearly, the way forward is digital, but these institutions can’t afford to stop there.
Having a website or an app simply isn’t enough.
Instead, financial institutions must apply personalization.
This means modifying the touchpoint your customer has with your business without their explicit input.
For example, based on prior blog posts they’ve read, you might decide to recommend others the next time they return to your site. When they open your app, you might use this information to recommend specific services that you know will be relevant.
As you probably already know, your customer base includes a number of different personas. You must customize your marketing and communication efforts to address each in an effective manner.
Don’t stop there, either. 41% of consumers in the U.S. are loyal to brands that let them personalize their products to create a custom version that speaks directly to their unique needs. Again, personalization can help here.
Another 42% of consumers report that a lack of real-time customer service is enough for them to take their business elsewhere.

4 Ways the Finances Sector Should Leverage Personalization 

The next question you need to answer, then, is, “How can my financial institution implement personalization?”
There are countless ways this can be done within the finances sector, but here are four you can begin utilizing right away.

1. Homepage

The easiest place to begin with leveraging personalization in the digital age is using it on your homepage. While this can be done by using information you already have about return visitors, your homepage can also change based on other criteria.
One of the best is the source of your traffic. Examples would include:

  • Affiliate Links
  • Email Campaigns
  • Landing Pages
  • Online Ads
  • Search Engines
  • Social Media

Geolocation is another valuable piece of data you. Depending on where a customer is physically visiting your site from, a different homepage may be appropriate.

2. Website Journey

You can no longer place an offer on your website and simply hope for the best. While it may attract the attention of some customers (especially if you use personalization), there will be plenty of others who just aren’t ready to buy yet.
You must consider the buyer journey and incorporate it into your site.
If you’ve implemented personalization on your site, then you’ll know when a returning visitor may be interested in, say, a mortgage.
Upon their return, your homepage can now display links to blog posts about buying a new home. If they return again, you can show them a mortgage calculator. Once you know they’ve used it, then you can show them a link for a free consultation with one of your agents.

3. Articles and Content

Educate your website’s visitors, and you stand a much better chance of turning them into customers.
With personalization, you’ll be able to do this by showing them the most relevant pieces of content based on the data you have about a given visitor.
While many may take the time to search out relevant posts on their own, why take the chance that they may not find it?
Instead, give them a personalized experience by having the most relevant articles ready and waiting when they arrive.

4. Exit Points

Don’t let visitors leave your website without making one last attempt to engage with them.
Again, if they were clearly looking at your mortgage services and content before deciding to leave, you could have a pop-up window offer them an e-book or invite them to a webinar on the topic.
You don’t need to be obtrusive. Instead, do your best to be helpful.

Personalization Is the Way Forward

As long as consumers continue to prefer the digital world, personalization will remain the most powerful way to engage with them. If your company works in the finances sector, it is absolutely vital that you infuse every touchpoint with this tool as much as possible.