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Effective data analytics can shape online banking strategies

Richard Jones Archive

The online banking industry is an increasingly volatile one, with a heavy volume of financial institutions competing for customers in a crowded marketplace. Consumers are more than willing to switch banks if they're not satisfied for any reason - high interest rates, lack of banking options or, most notably, trouble with customer service.

According to NBC News, many of the biggest banks in the United States are still struggling to provide the level of service necessary to keep their customers happy. The news source reported on a survey from Javelin Strategy and Research which found that a large portion of bank account holders are so unhappy that they're willing to consider pulling their money and starting over with a new financial institution in charge.

Javelin's data shows that 11 percent of people as of 2012 were "likely or very likely" to switch banks in the next 12 months. These people are known in the industry as "vulnerable customers," and the battle to retain control of these consumers is a key endeavor for financial executives - especially at Citibank and Bank of America, two financial institutions that have had an especially hard time in the current business climate.

"Those two banks have double the vulnerability of banks overall," Javelin senior analyst Mark Schwanhausser told NBC, specifying that 25 percent of Citibank customers and 21 percent of Bank of America customers are likely to jump ship before the year is done.

Data can help, though
The good news for the financial industry is that shrewd use of big data can help banks retain their customers. As CNBC explains, finance executives can use data to better understand customer feelings, measuring their opinions on different methods of customer service and using that information to inform future decisions.

"There are new technologies now available that allow us to leverage that data," John Ahrendt, Wells Fargo's senior vice president of enterprise data and analytics, told CNBC. "And the price point for working with large sets of data has come down substantially."

By collecting data rapidly, using the proper tools to maintain data quality and then accessing that information in real time, banks can make quick decisions about serving their customers. In a competitive business environment like finance, it's important to give consumers what they want, when they want it, and data can make that possible.

Customer service is the key to ensuring people's loyalty over time. Data has become a fundamental part of giving people the attention they deserve.