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Social Listening Helps Banks Find Value in Information

Bank Marketing Buzzword of the Year – Big Data

One of the hottest terms in IT circles during the past 2 years has been “big data”.  While many pundits will tell you that big data is all about processing data that has a combination of Volume, Velocity and Variety for everything from log file management to a replacement for data warehouses, big data’s practical uses for customer segmentation are much less nebulous. 

Big data has become a critical tool in enabling organizations to gain customer insights and in turn, create segmentation models to better create service offerings, product feature enhancements, and customer loyalty and reward opportunities.  The ability to leverage big data offerings can enable any size financial services organization to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Gaining Customer Insight

In today’s competitive banking environment, using customer segmentation to gain social insight is fast becoming a critical part of staying relevant and attracting new customers.  Using big data sounds like a daunting, expensive task for many Financial Institutions, but it doesn’t have to take a large investment and specialized skillsets to start leveraging customer insight data in short order.

Getting Started

Gaining customer social insight and then using those insights to create customer segmentation models can be quickly enabled through established third party providers.   Companies such as via Radian6 and  Micro Strategy (through the “Wisdom” product offering), can provide Cloud based or turn-key “out of the box” solutions that let an enterprise wade into the social listening space without large investments in people and technology.

Measure Brand Impact

Using these tools to start monitoring brand impressions on social media (quantity and frequency of a brand being viewed or discussed) is a very straightforward activity that can yield immediate insight.  Leveraged with geographic and other social data elements this one activity can expose areas where brand recognition is lacking as well as provide insight into the efficacy of advertising and marketing in geographic locations. The outcome of this activity can allow your organization to segment advertising and marketing spend to more clearly align with brand impression management opportunities.

Measure Customer Service

Using social listening to measure customer service and satisfaction is another “quick” win that can be realized by any size organization.  Using social media data to find “Voice of Customer” is a very powerful gauge for measuring organizational effectiveness in handling customer service.  By designing a simple sentiment model and aggregating comments from social media channels, an organization can monitor customer’s feeling towards the organization, products, and customer service in near real-time.  Insights from this activity can provide a powerful tool to design and offer enhanced or tailored customer service offerings to certain clients based on the insights gained.

Next Steps

When your organization has gotten comfortable with incorporating social listening as a means of understanding customer segmentation opportunities, the next step is to merge your internal customer insights from data warehouses and online datastores with social listening data.  This also can be done incrementally, but allows the organization to create a centralized view of external customer behavior and how it aligns with internal customer knowledge.  This step of embracing big data allows the organization to align external messaging feedback with internally observed behaviors.  By merging these data inputs, the organization will be provided a more defined view of customer’s real needs and wants versus their perceived needs and wants. When this activity can be realized, the organization can become more focused on actual customer behaviors, and as a result become more agile and competitive in reacting in the marketplace.

Lessons Learned

Social listening doesn’t have to be an insurmountable problem to solve for any size financial services organization.  By using proven technology partners and service providers, customer segmentation and social insight can be enabled with low impact to the organization. Taking incremental steps and building upon proven social measurements like brand impressions and customer service sentiment can open the door for further conversation across the company as well as help define future direction in using big data in your enterprise.

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