Paul White, Head of Customer Experience & Delivery at Post Office Money looks at how a personalised customer experience has been developed with data and digital at the heart.

Consumers are subject to a massive amount of marketing and communications these days. They are marketed to travelling on the way to work, while they’re relaxing at home and even when they are actively engaging with a brand. To cut through this, it is more important than ever to personalise marketing with the right offer, over the right channel and at the right time.

Channels need to work together and complement each other in order to create an integrated customer journey. As a result each channel should be treated as a part of the bigger picture and should be tuned to better serve its role within a more personalised customer experience.

To do this though, you first need to get the basics right. At Post Office Money the process started by mapping all of our customer journeys, identifying all of the ‘Moments of Pain’, seeking internal, external and user experiences. Once this was done, customer sentiment measurement tools were put in place and embedded including Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Effort Scores (CES). This enabled us to measure by product, channel and customer type, how any improvements affect customer sentiment and how we can ensure experiences are continuously enhanced as we move forward. Finally our entire customer database was profiled and segmented using CACI Fresco to help Post Office Money to understand each customer segment’s financial needs, as well as their channel and media preferences.

The next stage, now underway at Post Office money, is to create a truly personalised customer experience, with data and digital at the heart of it.

As technology advances, marketers are being exposed to more information. We are becoming walking data generators generating and capturing vast amounts of data that we couldn’t think of five years ago – with 90% of all data ever created being produced during the last 2 years alone.

So how can marketers and advertisers derive value from this wealth of information and monetise their customers’ information – without adversely affecting the overall customer experience? One way of doing this is to deliver a truly personalised experience that services your customers’ needs.

Personalisation in marketing is about identifying the differences between individuals in your customer base and delivering unique, relevant, convenient, consistent and tailor-made experiences that develop and enhance a mutually beneficial relationship.

When marketers talk about personalisation what they usually mean is online personalisation. Offline personalisation can often become an afterthought, due to the relative ease of personalising a consumer’s online experience. However, it is essential to integrate the two.

Online personalisation usually appears in areas such as aggregator sites, eCRM, geo-targeted content, login areas of service websites, personalised offers and targeted digital campaigns. This personalisation is based on data collected from past online customer behaviours, high level demographic data and geo-location data.

There are also many other elements that can inform online personalisation including: offline customer behaviours; transactional data; Social media sphere; linking customer behaviours on external partner sites; and mobile activity. Data from all these sources can be fed back to the ‘personalisation engine’ – allowing a more joined-up, personalised experience.

Then we need to consider and integrate offline. Personalisation can be difficult to deliver in the offline world, where processes require more effort and can be costly to change. The key to this is in identifying the customer. While this may be possible in some channels, e.g., a call centre, it is usually much more difficult, for example, when a customer walks into a store.

Personalisation does exist in the offline world but it is expressed in a different manner. For example, the shop ‘greeter’ welcomes the customers and offers different experiences to new and old customers, directing them appropriately; products can be bundled for existing customers in order to retain them; and call centre systems can allow agents to identify customers’ history, requirements and value to business – tailoring the conversation accordingly.

Customers generally don’t understand why they have to deal with the same company differently, depending on if they are buying online or offline. Financial services brands that fully merge online and offline first are likely to have a distinct advantage over their competitors – both in terms of the overall customer experience and the commercial success that this will almost certainly bring.

paul whitePaul White
Paul White is Head of Customer Experience & Delivery at Post Office Money. He has been at the Post Office, in a series of senior roles, for nine years. Most recently he’s developed and implemented a holistic Customer Experience and Delivery Strategy – involving the creation and introduction of an innovative NPS and Customer Effort tool, to enable product and branch teams to take ownership of their scores; the mapping all end-to-end product journeys, across all channels, identifying and fixing points of pain and delivering a multi-channel experience; introducing a micro segmentation modelling tool for the organisation’s database and using this to drive the direct marketing strategy; and the creation of a new brand proposition and sub-brand launch – in the shape of Post Office Money. In 2014 Paul led his team to win the UK Customer Experience Awards for Business Change and Transformation, and was also a finalist for the best team award. Prior to the Post Office, Paul has worked for a number of banks and insurance companies, including 14 years with Santander, with his final role there as Head of Advice Delivery.

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