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Banks are in the data business. They have long had access to more consumer data than almost any other segment of corporate America.

The value of that very data can’t be overstated. It means they can create more targeted and cost-effective marketing campaigns, develop products and offers specifically tailored to customers’ wants and needs and even develop better ways to determine a customer’s creditworthiness and detect fraud.

But all that data can be worthless without a solid strategy for using it, particularly how it can be used to deepen the relationship with existing customers.

That is not an altogether easy thing to do these days. More and more customers are visiting their local bank branch less frequently. The all-important Millennials are less likely to stick with a bank than their parents. The vast majority of bank customers – 79% according to Accenture Research – view their banking relationship as transactional, not advice-based, which makes it far easier to cut ties.

And the tool banks most often used to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty offer little real information into why customers stay with a bank and how deep their loyalty goes. Most companies measure satisfaction and loyalty. How many look at flight risk? A study by Informa Research Services’ SEA Score shows the range between the top dozen retail banks in terms of flight risk is far greater than the ranges found for their satisfaction and loyalty scores. Depending on your strategy, your flight risk scores may be far more important than more common measures.

Smart strategy starts with not only having the right people and processes in place, but knowing what they want the data to do for them. That should involve more than selling more of a particular financial product or opening more savings accounts. If banks can deepen customer relationships—become trusted personal advisors, not transaction processors—they can deliver more meaningful customer experiences. What’s more, consumers are open to more “value-added services,” and say that those services would boost their loyalty.

You may also have to upend existing marketing strategies, pivoting away from the inefficient “spray and pray” method of blanketing broad customer segments with the same messages based on similar demographic geographic or behavioral characteristics toward a more personalized approach.

Of course, you will need to get your data house in order first. Many of the ways you evaluate customer experiences, like a promoter score, give you just a part of the overall sliver. In fact, many tools don’t even take strategy into consideration at all. If you want your bank to stay relevant and savvy to the consumer’s needs, it helps to use the data to set a strategy and then test and tweak that strategy with additional data you bring in.

But, devoid of strategy, you’re really just collecting flat data that won’t help you move the needle on growth.

For more information on Informa Research Services' customer engagement and loyalty research and The SEA Score™ program, contact us at 800.848.0218 or email

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