Consumer Data Rights (CDR) are looming for the Australian banking sector. CDR is comparable to GDPR in Europe. At a high level, three key challenges come to mind when contemplating the path forward for Australian banks in how to create confidence and trust in working with consumer data.

The first challenge is technical, since most banks have a myriad of systems containing customer data. A key challenge lies in orchestrating customer data across these disparate systems, reconciling datasets to ensure accuracy across the organisation and enabling customers with self-service controls. Imagine the overhead of customers contacting a call centre to execute CDR requests. Furthermore, data insights cannot be actionable if they’re unreliable, so financial service providers need to take a most holistic approach to how they orchestrate and govern consumer data.

The second key challenge comes from an institution’s own staff and their confidence in how their day-to-day roles comply with consumer data rights – particularly with marketers. Customer-facing teams that aren’t confident about the compliancy of their consumer data will fear the implications of misusing customer data, which impacts their ability to connect with and service customers.

The third challenge is to be prepared for the future. As technology evolves, expect continuous changes in data usage, data sources, and data rights. These evolutions are frightening because however any bank solves for today’s requirements, ideally the same capability must also be agile enough to support the removal and addition of data sources, features, and connectivity over time.

As consumer data rights evolve – potentially with updates to legislation and further scrutiny – banks will need to respond to customer expectations, compliance requirements, and market-service levels. The agenda will be forced by legacy free nimble neo-banks, fintechs, and potentially digitally savvy market leaders, so consumer data confidence solutions must be mindful of how to respond to future change.

Financial industry shortcomings
Financial services organisations are generally highly regulated, highly visible, and often reactive to the changes and trends of customer experience and legislation. I’ve yet to observe any visionary industry innovation. Most banks are investing in digital and there is some added convenience, but mostly it is just traditional banking via a digital channel. Professionals from outside the industry could easily observe the barriers between banks and customers in terms of relationship building, potentially offering straight-forward solutions the financial sector is yet to see.

For example, have you tried to subscribe to product updates, or a bank’s blog, or even a simple and informative market update? You can’t do it unless you do a full application and identity check to actually open an account.

For example, download an app for any bank that you do not have a product with. Can you sign up for the app without opening a product? No. It’s quite uncommon and begs the question, ‘why would you want to download a banking app if you weren’t a customer’. If the app were a useful source of information, such as being able to easily find out their home loan interest rates, or had good articles on how to manage my money that I could share with my friends, then why not download the app.

Banks launch new products regularly, a recent common example being home-loan offers with cash back. Since I’ve just re-financed – now might not be the right time for me, but I’d sure be interested in a regular update and would happily to give my consent to a forward-thinking bank to keep me alerted of their rate changes or product changes. First-mover advantage, anyone? Alas, at this time, a bank won’t let you start a relationship with them unless you open an account. I imagine many must be the same, but I’d also guess most people don’t want to have bank accounts all over the place.

It just takes a little rethinking in terms of how banks utilise customer data to demonstrate value, add convenience, remove friction, and create new benefits for customer and employees alike.

Learning from Other Industries
From my perspective, the media industry is a leader in this kind of customer-centric approach that creates value from customer relationships. If you think about a typical media company, they often have multiple brands with unique brand identities across the market. Customers want to engage with those brands, so media companies give customers the opportunity to have micro-level control over their relationship in terms of how often they will hear from the company and the kind of content they’ll receive.

A potential customer may not purchase anything initially, but the media company welcomes the opportunity to connect and establish a relationship to remain in the potential customer’s mind, so one day the potential customer willingly converts their relationship into a paying customer.

NewsLifeMedia implemented SAP Customer Identity solution in the SAP Customer Data Cloud to build detailed customer profiles and create personalised user experiences based on segmented data, such as demographics, interests, and onsite behaviours. The media company saved up to 12 months’ development time on tasks such as managing social networks, APIS, and maintaining privacy relationships while switching from its internally built customer data platform.

This digital transformation resulted in NewsLifeMedia utilising customer data to send personalised emails and relevant content directly to users who’d already given explicit consent, while also giving customers low-friction authentication options, such as re-using social media credentials. Intelligent use of data not only streamlined various backend processes but put the user experience at the heart of improvement. Banks must do the same.

Offering transparency and value
I opened an account with a mobile only neo-bank recently. This particular neo-bank does a good job of engaging their customers to crowdsource improvements to their digital experience. There is so much value for financial services providers to pilot changes that make customers’ lives easier. One of the real benefits of modern cloud-based digital tools is that it’s much easier to take a hypothesis, test it, measure the results, and then either expand, iterate, or pivot.

It’s a commonly held understanding that customers are happy to share more data with brands if they can see the value they’ll get from sharing, such as removing friction from a process. For example, hands up if you were initially hesitant to share your personal details, payment information, and location with ride-sharing platforms such as Uber? However, most of us soon realised how this capability removed so much friction from the experience of ordering and paying for rides, that we willingly shared our data with them.

I believe the ultimate solution for consumer data confidence comes back to truly solving all the friction points and blind spots in a customer’s journey. To alleviate friction points and illuminate blind spots, banks must build trusted personal relationships with their customers. If banks can find ways to remove friction from the banking experience while being transparent and explicit on how data shared by customers will improve a customer’s knowledge or experience, then banks will begin to earn that trust and see the benefits of customer loyalty that comes with increased trust.

Furthermore, when employees have confidence in the quality and compliance of consumer data, they feel more empowered to do their jobs and deliver great experiences for your customers.

Learn more about the trust equation and how Financial Services providers can take the next steps here.