FCTI - Blog

Do Account Holders Really Want Personalization?

Posted by Rebecca Hellmann on Mar 27, 2019 6:47:00 AM

The short answer is no. The longer answer is “Yes. Maybe. But only if you respect my privacy, security, respect personal space, and can avoid being creepy.”

personalization-lightbulbsThere is quite a bit of research where consumers say they want or even expect some level of personalization. A 2017 survey from Accenture reported 48% of respondents demand special treatment for being a good customer. However, the same study said 87% of consumers believe it is essential for companies to safeguard their information and privacy. Another 73% of survey respondents are frustrated when they feel they cannot trust a business with their personal information.

So what does “special treatment” mean? What is it a consumer means when they say they expect their bank or credit union to offer “personalization”?

When what you need right now is at your fingertips, it feels like it was put there specifically for you.

Across gender and age, consumers demand “personalization” in customer support over any other interaction (inMoment). They expect their institution to know which ATMs and branches they frequent, the area in which they live, information regarding any recent communications, their loyalty to the institution, and their product history. Why? Because they anticipate this data will allow a customer service representative (digital or in person) to have a sense of who they are, anticipate their needs, and answer their questions faster.

It makes dealing with customer service more convenient.

Is Personalization A BUZZ Word?

You bet. Working to reach true “personalized” experience has some financial institutions investing large sums in technology to:

  • Create real-time alerts for account activity
  • Provide a unique financial institution offers
  • Provide advice on spending patterns
  • Generate third-party offers
  • Offer advice on improving finances and avoiding fees and penalties

(Digital Banking Report)

These are advanced capabilities which require a great deal of sensitive data. However, studies show us consumers are unlikely to respond well to financial advice or analysis unless they have solicited the input and begun to set goals. Consumers are also becoming more wary of how their data is turned back on them for advertising and messaging purposes. Even Facebook is dealing with backlash over data use scandals.

So real “personalization” is not only a borderline security risk, it’s downright creepy.

What would Convenience do?

What most account holders are looking for is increased ease in their financial relationships. The “personalization” most consumers want is the satisfaction of getting what they want with ease. Here are a few suggestions for focusing on convenience.

  • Make all of your products and services digital and mobile friendly.
  • Build tools that allow for financial success such as budgeting apps which link directly with the accounts of your customers and members.
  • Offer financial education classes about specific subjects.
  • Focus heavily on generating better User Experience (UX) across channels.
  • Create opt-in alert and card management services for those account holders with security concerns.

When what you need right now is at your fingertips, it feels like it was put there specifically for you. Pivoting from a data and security-heavy view of “personalization” to a laser focus on better customer service and experience may be just what your institution needs to boost account holder satisfaction – and maybe be a bit more personable.

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Topics: credit union marketing, bank marketing, banking preferences, customer experience


Written by Rebecca Hellmann

Rebecca Hellmann has been researching and writing in the payments technology industry for over six years. Prior to the payments industry, Rebecca developed marketing, branding, and content for businesses such as Bil-Jac, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Homestead Furniture. She currently works as Director of Marketing for FCTI, Inc.
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