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Banks should use data bank to enhance customer experience, focus on women: Sussane O’Gorman of Kantar

Only 29% consumers believe banks offer truly customer-centric experiences, says Kantar’s new study. talks to Kantar’s global experts to understand how banks can unleash the potential of data and how women are huge opportunity for the sector

After analysing 7,280 retail banking customers in India, Kantar has released its first CX+ survey in its customer experiences domain, the ‘CX+ India Retail Banking Report 2019’. The same study had earlier been conducted in many other countries such as USA, UK, Netherlands and Spain. The report covers the entire spectrum representative of the urban banking sector, covering 27 banks, and reveals some insights.

The study says while 91% CEOs of retail banks believe customer-centricity is essential for business growth, only 29% of Indian consumers rate their bank as truly customer-centric. interacted with Barbara Cador, Global Head of CX+; Soumya Mohanty, Chief Clients Officer, and Sussane O’Gorman, Global Customer Experience Domain Lead, to discuss how the insights of the study can actually help banks in India to enhance their customer experience. They also discussed Kantar’s upcoming plans for India.

Quoting how 86% Indian consumers would rather spend money on experiences than materials, O’Gorman said the importance of experience is really becoming totally crucial these days. There's consumer empowerment and consumers can switch a lot easier to different brands. “We have developed CX+ to really support companies on how to become more customer-centric and how to win in this age of experience.”

Adding, Mohanty said banking actually is about experiences fundamentally. So what really differentiates banks is the experience at the delivery and how the consumer is made to feel when he/she interacts with the bank. More than functional, banking is actually very emotional, which is why banks need to build more emotional connect with customers.

Comparing the customer experiences with FMCG brands, she said, “FMCG brands have now actually started focusing more on experiences; till now they were a lot more about the product. But increasingly, we're seeing FMCG brands as well as durables and automotive, trying to create experiences beyond the product and touching the consumer at multiple points. In that sense, banks need to unleash the potential of data they have.”

The study revealed banks that deliver an excellent experience on digital channels are 2.5x more likely to delight customers and customers are 3.6x more delighted when they feel appreciated by their bank. It stated that the opportunity to grow is particularly significant among women since they use more online banking than men and women are more sceptical regarding fintech or technology-enabled banking providers. They feel less in control of their finances with technology-enabled banking providers. 

Cador said woman is the biggest opportunity and a new frontier, especially in India. Quoting how by 2022 women are going to hold 40% of the global wealth, she said in contrast to that women are under served, especially in financial environment. While men really rely on expertise on technicalities and processes to make decision-making, women make decisions through social network, recommendations or word of mouth. In India, where 114mn women are unbanked, it is a massive opportunity.

The amount of, or the lack of, sense of self-esteem, when it comes to financial literacy, really influences the behaviour of women who are less prone to go to banks, because that's very masculine environment. Women feel they really missed that connection to their needs. Banks hold a lot of data, and they actually can bridge that gap of connection with women, says O’Gorman.

Mohanty said while most of the brands are riding on the same bandwagon of targeting women as the segment, she felt is not enough because there are segments within. She said, “Obviously, there is unconscious bias when we think about woman. There are filters in the mind that this is how women are and we tend to reinforce those. So if one person plays an advertising that works in one context, the other brand sort of follows that kind of advertising. And that formula sort of continues, and now it has become more like a social responsibility now. We keep telling our clients that targeting women is not enough, there are segments within, and you need to understand the segments, to see what works for your brand.”

Kantar uses a lot of AI/ML to conduct researches related to innovations for its clients. Asked how while disseminating the solutions to its clients or conducting surveys it ensures the privacy of the consumers, Mohanty said, “Our job is to convey the voice of the customer to the brands. Customers are quite open in sharing the data, but they also expect brands to make good use it and not misuse it. Because the trust they have today may not be there tomorrow. And thus, we keep conveying the same to our clients. We advise what processes clients need to build to make sure data is secure, and how to communicate the same to your customers.”

Talking about Kantar’s plans for India, she said one of the biggest differences it has made in India is the focus on specific domains. “Other than customer experiences, for innovation domain, we are launching a lot of new solutions to help companies innovate faster, because a lot of disruption is happening. For this, we are using a lot of artificial intelligence, analytics, to actually look at trends on social media trends in other areas, to create a whole host of new solutions, much before, to become more predictive,” she added. Sharing how Kantar has grown faster than the industry itself in India, she said it is the dominant firm in the market.

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