Customer Communication in the Financial Sector: Is your Organisation in Danger?

In today’s connected world, we are constantly bombarded with marketing messages. Whether it be social media posts, online blogs or direct mail, important customer communications are in danger of becoming lost among the digital noise. So how do financial institutions ensure that communications are impactful and capable of enhancing the customer experience? The answer, says […]

In today’s connected world, we are constantly bombarded with marketing messages. Whether it be social media posts, online blogs or direct mail, important customer communications are in danger of becoming lost among the digital noise. So how do financial institutions ensure that communications are impactful and capable of enhancing the customer experience? The answer, says Stephen Lester, of Paragon Customer Communications, lies in personalisation.

Make it personal

In our technologically advanced world, a global desire still exists for a personalised, ‘human’ approach to customer communications. This can be as simple as the barista who makes your morning coffee remembering that you always take a skinny latte, right through to adopting technological innovations to analyse customer behaviour in order to predict the outcome of a new communications campaign.

However, financial organisations without a digital communication strategy are in danger of being left behind – a recent study[1] predicts that by 2020, 85% of relationships between brands and customers will be conducted without human interactions.

One key strategy is to utilise innovation to personalise consumer messaging. At various stages of any customer journey there will be defining moments. If businesses can identify these and provide relevant, personalised, engaging content, this creates a positive emotional response from the customer, who is more likely to form a connection and consequently take action.

In fact, today’s tech-savvy consumers know that companies who provide financial services will inevitably hold a large amount of data on their behaviour and habits, and the expectation is that not only will it be stored securely, but will be used to build trust and make messages more relevant.

Adopting the latest technology can allow organisations to pinpoint how best to achieve this, identifying not only purchasing habits but also the best time to contact consumers and the most relevant format to use. The aim is to provide a seamless experience for individuals which shows that the provider understands them and knows what matters most.

Technology helps to join the dots

In the financial sector in particular, numerous opportunities exist to deliver relevant personalised communications through various channels and apps, providing a smarter, ‘joined up’ approach.

There is a growing choice of technology available to enable financial institutions to make the most of their customer interactions. Natural language processing, low disruption plug-and-play options, online and offline tracking and machine learning are among the innovations that can be adopted to achieve seamless customer interaction, from email coding to computer-assisted personal interviewing.

Communication programmes can be automated, with triggered responses built in to improve customer conversation, while data can be harvested from every interaction to profile best customers and optimise message delivery.

The challenge for many companies, though, is not if but how they will use the data they hold, and subsequently, which system will deliver the best results.

Data mining – the new gold

Utilising data and analytics to drive a communications strategy shows that organisations understand customers their needs, which in turn increases the chances of meaningful interaction.

Data can reveal a wealth of insights into customer preferences. It shows not only which products or services have been purchased by specific customers, but can be used to predict what may be of interest in the future, enabling better campaign targeting and more accurate predictions of outcomes.

However, the challenge for many lies in making sense of the wealth of data held; this can become even more daunting for those faced with a shortage of in-house digital skills. Understanding what is held and how best to use it can be central to creating a structured, single view of each customer, in order to facilitate the creation of a dynamic, personalised communications strategy.

Experts in data analysis can provide the most pertinent insight into data held, and then use it to create the most effective customer journeys.

The information retained must also have been collected and stored in full compliance of increasingly stringent data protection laws.

Recent high-profile data breaches and cyber-attacks have seen customer details such as names, addresses and even bank card numbers stolen or revealed. The companies involved now face significant financial penalties.

Turn to a trusted partner

Although knowing where to start with the latest technology can at first appear to be an overwhelming challenge, help is at hand. Despite a general perception that enlisting the services of a communications expert will be expensive, working with a trusted partner can actually save money, remove risks and provide a logical, agile approach that helps organisations stay abreast of ever-advancing technology.

Companies such as Paragon Customer Communications have invested millions of pounds in the very latest technology to maximise data capture, analyse customer behaviour and consequently deliver the most relevant, engaging messages.

In addition, businesses that need to distribute regulatory documents can partner with communications experts to meet all legislative requirements, optimise output and integrate printed documents with digital delivery.

Legal compliance is also assured – it is vital since the introduction of recent new legislation surrounding data collection and handling.

Case study

Paragon Customer Communications worked with one of the UK’s leading independent financial advisory and asset management specialists to distribute many thousands of FCA regulated documents.

Historically, the company – which has more than one million clients – issued the documents annually. Information contained within them included valuation statements, contract notes, tax vouchers and P60s. All print and mail was being produced in-house or using a variety of vendors; however, as the business expanded, the decision was made to investigate the benefits of outsourcing the work to a professional supplier specialising in transactional communications.

Paragon Customer Communications provided a reliable, safe and secure production platform. The company’s Secure Reliable Mailing technology (SRM) provided the peace of mind that all documents would be produced 100% correctly, with no duplications.

The solution deployed included:

  • Same-day SLA print and mail service;
  • Data processing solution consolidating documents going to the same customer into a single outer envelope;
  • Postal optimisation to reduce postage prices;
  • Digital e-archive solution;
  • A cost reduction and document redesign programme was initiated.

As a result, the company made a six-figure saving on annual postage costs, with a further £75,000 cost reduction through improved efficiencies in data processing.

Client reporting was redesigned to present statements and asset information in full digital colour.

 

Paragon Customer Communications is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital communications, supporting customers’ transformations to digital formats. These range from developing relevant email campaigns to analysing customer data and weekly campaign reporting, allowing organisations to gain total control of their communication processes. The company helps more than half of the UK’s top wealth and asset managers connect with their customers.

[1] Gartner, https://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/summits/docs/na/customer-360/C360_2011_brochure_FINAL.pdf

 

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