Liquid customer engagement in banking

  • Posted on July 21, 2016


In a recent point of view on the banking industry, Accenture recommends that banks take a “GAFA” approach to digital banking transformation to help improve customer engagement and increase revenues. GAFA refers to the customer experience standards being set by Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – standards that deliver consistent and compelling experiences for customers. Accenture noted that one of the key ways for banks to offer a GAFA-like experience is through liquid customer engagement. In other words, revising their customer engagement and relationship management (CRM) capabilities for greater flexibility and agility. And this viewpoint is reinforced in what we’re hearing from our banking clients across the globe – they desire to be more relevant and accessible to their customers at all times.

“Liquid” is an appropriate metaphor to describe how banks need to reshape their customer engagement approach. A liquid can go anywhere quickly (agility) and change forms easily (flexibility). Customers want these same characteristics in their banking experience. They want their bank to deliver personalized advice and recommendations (change forms) in real-time (quickly) based on the latest understanding of their individual needs and situation.

And they will reward their bank for providing this kind of service: 55% of banking customers who want such proactive banking services say they would become more loyal to the bank. However, research shows that most banks are unprepared to offer personalized advice and services.

Your workforce needs to be liquid too

This got me thinking that an essential part of delivering liquid customer engagement is applying the same liquid concept to a bank’s workforce as well. Seventy-four percent of bank executives believe that a more “fluid” workforce would improve their innovation. This includes preparing and equipping agents and advisers to create differentiating experiences, such as tailoring each customer interaction (offers, conversation topics, account actions, etc.) to the latest understanding of the customer. For banks to provide a GAFA-like experience, they need to enable their workforce to operate more quickly, make smarter decisions and stay relevant to their customers.

The GAFA companies do a fantastic job of engendering an emotional attachment to their customers through their service experience. They also create goodwill where customers become involved in improving the experience (think about the demand for customers to test new Google services). It’s time for banks to offer a similar experience. They need to empower their people to go beyond addressing basic customer questions and needs and instead anticipate and recommend solutions. They need to stimulate emotional attachment and generate goodwill by becoming true personal and trusted advisers to customers.

Realizing the value of a liquid approach

At Avanade, we are working with banks to realize the principle of liquid customer engagement and liquid workforce through our Avanade Customer Analytics and Insights (ACAI) solution.

ACAI helps turn customer data into holistic customer information. That information is deduced and aggregated from internal and external sources across all channels and prepared for real-time use in customer engagement. ACAI converts this information into recommendations on next-best actions based on the history and needs of the customer.

ACAI supports a liquid workforce by making these recommendations usable by financial advisers, customer service agents and marketers. For example, integrating next-best actions within an existing CRM framework (e.g., with templates, call scripts and other tools) enables agents to easily and quickly evaluate, understand and present recommendations to customers. Increasing the agents’ understanding of customer behavior empowers them to make informed decisions.

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