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Giving retail banking customers what they want


Jim Davis of SAS had an interesting post back in October – What do retail banking customers want?– in which he talked about the results of some consumer surveys and the banking industry’s response. The three results Jim discussed were clarity and fairness, easy access and quality customer experience. Interestingly I see all three of these as potential drivers for Decision Management Systems. Let’s take them one at a time.

  • Clarity and fairness
    One of the great benefits of using Decision Management Systems to handle transactional decision-making is consistency – everyone is treated using the same set of business rules. This absolutely does not mean one one size fits all but it does mean that there is no chance of a customer being discriminated against because the person they are talking to does not understand the rules, has a personal bias or is having a bad day. Because these rules are explicit they can (and are) logged each time a decision is made so the decision is not just fair/consistent it is also clear/transparent – a customer can be told exactly why a fee has been added or why a charge cannot be reversed. And thanks to the flexibility and agility of business rules technology, Decision Management Systems are agile enough to keep up with changing bank policies, regulations etc so they stay clear and fair.
  • Easy access to funds
    One of the challenges of many systems is that they are passive. A bank with passive systems can allow customers to see their funds and even handle simple transactions. But if a transaction is complex or must be “approved” then the customer can’t use their iPhone app or the website but must call or visit a branch. By handling even quite complex approvals, and by integrating analytic predictions of risk and fraud into these approvals, Decision Management Systems can ensure customers really have access to their funds, even if they want to do something complex.
  • Quality customer experience
    As Jim notes, customers expect to be treated well even when the experience is not in person. Decision Management Systems power next best action engines (to ensure offers and non-offer actions are delivered appropriately through every channel) and integrate risk and opportunity predictions to ensure these use everything that is known about a customer is put to work making the best possible treatment decision. Leading companies are using Decision Management Systems to flex their interactive voice response (IVR) systems to make the menus match the customer, to drive custom options in the ATM to streamline interactions and to ensure that the first branch teller or call center representative you speak to can make the right decision without having to refer you to someone else.

As Jim notes, one of the key drivers for banks and other companies in delivering on these consumer demands is segmenting for more than just your standard demographics. Banks and others are working on “new segmentation strategies that look beyond the stage of life, income and family status of specific customer groups” and, equally importantly, are working on applying these more detailed segmentation strategies in every transaction. As my friends at YouSee noted you need to embed this segmentation into rules-based decision-making that drives a unique response in every case. You need to embed this segmentation in a Decision Management System that is agile (so it stays up to date and is clear/consistent), analytic (so it can use all your data to make better decisions) and adaptive (so it  can learn and improve over time).

Decision Management Systems deliver a fundamentally better customer experience.