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Digital Experience

IBM Amplify: DBS Bank Uses Analytics To Improve Customer Journeys

Sameer Gupta lead a session at IBM Amplify where he explained DBS Bank’s journey in using signals of intent, in real time, from multiple sources for developing one-on-one contextual communications with customers. They use a variety of sources like deposits, transaction history, credit card transactions, web behavior, location, etc to detect patterns and interest for a focused and relevant offer to customers.

What is DBS

DBS is ranked as the world’s best digital bank and is one of Asia’s largest banks. DBS focuses on mobile and customer interaction. Mobile is their biggest channel. Transactions have grown from 25 million in 2013 to about 65 million today.

Focus: Making banking joyful. Make the experience easier and simpler.

Embedding DBS into the Customer Journey

This is about customers everyday life and goals. This is less about selling a mortgage product.

  1. Customer life needs
  2. Understand the customer journey.
  3. Create iterative campaigns

When buying a drill, does the customer want the perfect 1/4″ drill or the perfect 1/4″ hole. DBS’ goal is to take the concept of jobs to be done and interact with them.

Walking the Talk

Mortgage is big to a bank.  The bank focuses on selling you a mortgage.  But the customer really wants to find a home. They search, compare, purchase, and enjoy.  DBS’ view is to help the customer find a home. To so so, they create Home Connect app to help them find a home. This focus helped DBS improve their market share.

Walking in the Customers Shoes

  1. Customer personals and needs
  2. Understand the journey
  3. Understand the experiences of the customer
  4. Find the triggers you can leverage to reach out and engage with the customer

Banking data is very rich. You have a lot of context. Where did they shop, what did they buy, etc.

Think of a travel experience. You have a planner type of traveler. You have the tourist who is more passive and let’s the planner take the lead. Now think of the travel experience.

  1. Pre-travel
  2. Travel
  3. Post-travel

This translates into key activities

  1. Air ticket purchase (DBS involved in helping find deals for customers by partnering
  2. Research and inspire
  3. Secure bookings (DBS can help)
  4. Post-booking
  5. Pre-departure
  6. Trip Proper (DBS help here with concierge services)
  7. Post trip

To engage, you need a propensity model. DBS sees a booked ticket but doesn’t know when travel occurs. The propensity model helps to figure that out.

Getting the Data

Banks have aggregated data from multiple sources

  • Where do you access ATM
  • Where do you buy
  • What big transactions occur
  • When does the customer interact with DBS
  • On what channel do they use
  • What products they use

Personalizing at Scale

To do this, you take the large amounts of data like dining brands, other retail band, 2 million customer, 394 Million data points. This has created three times better customer engagement.

Traditionally the answer to scale was to add more ATM to a location. But the problem was that adding one ATM increased demand by 31%. Singaporans love their ATM.

Instead they looked at the ATM transactions. 6,000,000 times per month customer just wanted to know their balance. That meant 57,000 hours of time in line. So DBS launched a quick balance feature with a swipe instead of a login. It’s called “Peek Balance”

Then they found that many users were not on smart phones so they launched SMS banking.

Key: DBS only communicated new features to those who used the feature.  Peak Balance to those who asked about balance. SMS banking notification to those with a non-smart hpone.

DBS Learnings in This Process

  • This is a significant transformation that has to start from the top.  You need senior management support.
  • Be ready to fail fast
  • Create a center of excellence on data science and customer experience
  • Change Management – they put significant effort into this.  Getting them to change how they think required focus and effort.
  • Tech investment – this is about technology. They invested in IBM Marketing Suite and analytical tools.

What’s Next?

DBS is implementing over 250 customer journeys. They are about 5% done with their transformation.


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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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