Apologies to Shakespeare for the modified Romeo and Juliet reference, but the question is valid -- what is in a "name" of a customer these days? I'm on Twitter, I'm on Facebook, I have various other profiles online on sites like LinkedIn, etc., but none of this information appears relevant to most of the service organizations I interacted with daily. But if this identifies who I am -- why is that no one asks me for my Twitter name in customer interactions these days?
Why is it that today there are many banks who won't let me open an account unless I have a home telephone number (a landline) -- which quite frankly I haven't used for a number of years now (in fact I don't even know my home phone number) -- and yet in respect to mechanisms which I use a whole lot more frequently than a home telephone number for communication, namely FB and Twitter, they completely ignore me? I have to say these days I'd probably be a whole lot more likely to talk about my bank on Twitter than I would wait for their call on my home telephone number, which I don't use.
Customer profiles are out of touch
Understanding customer behavior and how we are "tribally" connected to our peers in the social networking landscape is a pretty fundamental requirement for service organizations these days if they want to influence brand perception. At a minimum, a bank should be ready to respond to me via Twitter, Facebook, Mobile or similar mediums, but in respect to traditional customer profile information like my home telephone number, my home address (which is increasingly irrelevant to my bank relationship), my employer's telephone number, and such - this type of data is practically useless from a behavioral or service enablement perspective these days.
Your customer profile today is about two things for a bank, namely KYC and Segmentation. KYC is a industry compliance term which refers to "Know Your Customer" -- it is seen as the basic information or data set that a bank needs to know to assess your risk profile as far as likelihood of issues around AML (Anti-Money Laundering), etc., as is required generally as part of a process by regulators for new customers. On the segmentation front, the classic method of segmentation these days is still based around demographics such as age, salary, where I live, how many kids I have, etc and informs classic marketing campaign development.
Increasingly both of these outcomes are out of touch with the reality of the digitally enabled customer. I am here to tell you that despite all the KYC information my bank has captured about me, that in respect to my risk on a financial basis this data is almost certainly irrelevant. Far more important for them would be information on where I am traveling to, which partner ATM machines I use when I travel, how I conduct cross-border transactions, who is having access to my basic information that could threaten the safety of my identity, and how I manage my finances on a daily basis. The fact is, I've never been asked about any of this stuff, which is far more informative to my transactional risk profile than what my monthly salary and deposit patterns are.
The role our digital footprint plays
The key information for a bank moving forward is not demographic data, it's not about where I live or what my home phone number is, it is about what I do...
In that respect, the data trail I leave for banks is extremely informative. The interactions I have with the bank are likewise hugely instructive from a future service and risk perspective. For example, my bank has data on which retailers I like to shop at, which airlines I travel, the cars I drive, the laptop I own, the mobile devices I utilize, the properties I own, the property I live in, and a bunch of other extremely useful information in respect to offers they could present me with. However, this data is just never used.
I get credit card usage offers from retailers I never frequent -- why doesn't the cards team send me offers for retailers where I've shopped before? I get offered personal loans and increased credit card limits when I don't need them -- when I might be interested these offers are nowhere to be seen. I get offered opportunities for new credit cards for airline loyalty programs that I'm not affiliated with -- why can't they work out which airlines I use and proactively offer to transfer my credit card points to my airline program?
Recently the team at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in the United Arab Emirates were looking at ways they could improve the suitability of offers for card usage for customers. There were suggestions around using location-based messaging technology through telecommunication providers to target you when you were at various shopping malls around the Emirates, but the Telco network operators proved to be light on this capability. So ADCB looked at behaviors -- how did customers behave when they went shopping?
Behavioral analysis suggested that a customer who went to a mall was almost always certain to do one of two things. Initially go to an ATM machine upon arrival and pull out cash, or alternatively use their credit card to make a purchase. So ADCB worked out they didn't need the mobile operators to work out WHERE customers were, they only needed to look at live transaction data for location triggers. So now ADCB can provide you with a time-sensitive, location-sensitive offer based on your behavior and can simply send it to you via SMS. Far more constructive than flooding me with broadcast messages that are more miss than hit.
Today banks don't know me. The data they choose to use in respect to my profile is largely irrelevant. The data they have on me and could have utilize in respect to my behavior is much more relevant to how I'll interact with the bank in the future.
So if you are a bank -- do you know my Twitter name, have you friended me on Facebook? Do you know my mobile number and what type of phone I use? Are you matching offers for services and products to me based on what I've done or am likely to do? If I talk about you on Twitter, would you know that I'm a customer and could you engage me on this issue next time I call the call centre? If not -- you really don't know me at all.
Follow Brett King on Twitter: www.twitter.com/brettking