Banks, Take a Look at Google!

By , Business 2 Community

In a refreshingly candid article on, Jamie Armistead of Bank of the West tells banks to take a look at Google as an example of great customer experience building, both in terms of uptime, performance and continuous refinement of mobile & desktop applications.

Here’s a quote from the article that really resonated with me:

“… it seems like they continually architect their solutions to support data sharing and integration. While you may not know precisely how you’re going to evolve your customer experience over time, having solutions architected in a way that supports data sharing and integration makes evolving the customer experience that much easier.”

There are some important drivers at work here.

First, organizations are increasingly anxious to be smarter about data. They understand the inherent value of it, even though they might not know yet how to get at the value. We continuously meet customers who are stockpiling heaps of data in Hadoop – yet still wondering what application and what use case will be supported by it. There’s a distinct need to go beyond the analytical number crunching, beyond the infrastructure and tooling bits, and beyond a very large unserved audience for (big-)data-driven business applications that bring (if possible: immediate) value: CRM, marketing support, customer service.

Next, big online players are showing us how important execution is: it should be perfected, gradually and incrementally, and relentlessly tested and improved as the customer (and Google) has set a very high bar. People need both the feature as well as the experience. You might think your coupon redemption app is great because it offers all sorts of sophisticated options, but your user might just skip it because the authentication method is awkwardly complicated.

Lastly, bringing me back to the point of Jamie, is the need for data integration. Behind the scene of great customer experience should be a platform preparing and managing data in a customer-centric way. It makes no sense to just pour operational, transactional and customer data into a data lake without processing and organizing it around your single most important entity: the customer.

Your customer is your key index into your data – one single customer doesn’t care about you being capable of doing sophisticated population statistics, his main interest is how much you know, how much you care about him, and how you use that data to provide the best possible experience. Great personalized service, proactive offers – specific to that one single customer.

Organizations must have up-to-date, well-organized data points of every individual customer – there are thousands of relevant metrics to be tracked, leading to a unique sort of DNA for each customer. This allows customers to choose their own moments of interaction, through any available channel for an experience personalized based on previous interactions.

It is my firm belief that customer experience goes hand in hand with real-time customer-centric data organization. You cannot address the needs of every single individual customer if your data doesn’t follow that same pattern. And your actionable customer profiles cannot be pulled from disparate application silos overnight – they should fed, improved and nurtured in real-time.