Website Personalization and Financial Institutions

website personalization for financial institutions Written By Dusty Ellis
I once lived in a small town with a little restaurant just down the street from my home. I visited this diner all too frequently (both for my budget and my weight), but I kept going back because the wait staff all knew my name, knew my favorite table and knew exactly what I wanted to eat as soon as I walked through the door. 

After sitting down, one of them would come by the table with my favorite beverage and ask about my day – not just weather talk, but specifically inquiring how a particular meeting went or how a family member was doing. 

My meal would arrive without me even having to order it, and I would eat, pay, and go home for the evening, excited to repeat the process the very next chance I could. 

As community bankers, we used to relish our mornings spent with the same customers and members, who drank out of the coffee cups they kept on our shelves for their frequent visits. 

The personal relationships created by days like those are becoming more difficult to develop as our customers and members are no longer coming into our branches as often as they once were. 

However, we should not give up that personal touch in our relationship with our clients completely. 

After all, those relationships are really what help us to stand out from mega-banks — and there is no better place to start building more personal-feeling relationships virtually than by adding personalization to your website.

 

Why is Personalization Important for Your Financial Institution? 

 

Your Virtual Branch is Now Your Preferred Branch 

According to an article published by Consumer Affairs, only 20% of our members or customers now prefer to go to a branch rather than using a website and online banking. 

Although this trend may make it seem like personal relationships are unimportant to today’s clientele, I do not believe that this means that the majority do not value a personal relationship in banking. 

However, they do prioritize their time and convenience. Site personalization helps to bridge the gap and provide fast results in a personal way. 

 

You Need to Get to Know Your Audience

The key to offering a personalized experience for your members, customers, and prospects is getting to know them. What do they like? What do they not like? What accounts do they have open with you? Are they looking to purchase a new home or car? 

These questions were once answered during a 10-minute conversation you had with your customer, but with a decrease in members visiting your branch location, getting to know them and their financial needs has become more difficult. 

Although it will not replace the benefits of catching up face –to face, personalization forces you to really know and understand your customer data, since this data from a customer relationship management tool or other business system is used to personalize your website.

 

Your Clients Are Expecting Personalized Experiences 

It wasn’t only the delicious food that kept me going back to that restaurant, it was the personal experience. Everyone wants a wonderful experience, and this is especially true for members of financial institutions. 

CAPCO published a study back in May 2021, highlighting the expectations that bank customers had for personalization and “72% of respondents rated personalization as “highly important,” while just 8% said it was not and 20% of respondents were neutral on the topic.” 

This is because even in the digital space, customers want to be heard and feel like someone is listening to them. 

Financial institutions that adopt personalization are letting their members know that they are listening, they know what you want, and the digital experience they provide you with will reflect that.

 

It Allows You to Meet Your Members Where They Are 

Finances are a big cause of anxiety for many people. Not only is it due to financial instability but also because many feel overwhelmed or confused about how to handle their finances and what service they need to manage them well. 

Personalization allows your financial institution to meet your members where they need you most. Instead of them trying to find or figure out what services are best for them, you can utilize personalization to provide them with the services and products they need right when they visit your website.

 

Helps Maximize Your Investment in a DXP 

The goal of a successful Digital Experience Platform (DXP) all comes down to providing the right content to the right person, in the right place, at the right time.  

Without personalization on your site, you are not getting the most out of your investment in the tools you have purchased.

 


How to Successfully Implement Personalization 


Hire Your Virtual “Branch Manager” 

As bankers, we wouldn’t open a branch without a smiling face whose role was to get to know the customers or members walking in the door and assist them in finding the information they need or in completing their transactions.  

Similarly, we should never leave a website sitting unattended without someone whose job is to understand the audience visiting your site and helping direct them to the right information. 

As a bonus, if you use a DXP like DXFusion Financial, this person does not have to be a developer to fulfill that role. 

 

Define Your Audience 

Without meeting face to face, it is not easy to tell who is visiting your website. 

Modern DXPs like Sitefinity can monitor where a visitor is located and can place them in a persona based on what they view and access on your site. As soon as you personify your site visitor, you can begin to personalize the content that relates specifically to what you have identified as their need.

 

Create Touchpoints 

As mentioned above, Sitefinity can monitor your site visitor’s activity. Imagine that a prospect visits and immediately uses your auto-loan calculator. Based on that interaction alone, you have reason to believe that they are interested in an auto loan and can begin personalizing based on that knowledge. 

Be sure to set yourself up for success by allowing visitors to fall into personas quickly and easily by creating easy-to-attain rules for your touchpoint criteria. 

 

Evaluate Your Success with Personalized Content 

Personalization should not be a “set it and forget it” function. It requires time and energy to ensure that what you are personalizing is contributing to good conversion rates (or “goal” rates). 

Higher conversion rates reveal that you are showing your customers and members that you know who they are and what they need and are making it easy for them to obtain it. 

It is important to monitor and test the effectiveness of your personalization. This can be done by examining how certain touchpoints are contributing to conversion rates and by AB testing to see what content is successful at guiding your site visitor toward applications, forms, and other goals you may have for your visitors. 

 

Ensure Compliance with Site Personalization Efforts

Since personalization involves serving specific information about specific products or services your financial institution offers to a defined group of site users, it is important to follow ECOA and FHA laws and regulations when creating your audience. 

This means that when selecting criteria to narrow down an audience, instead of using protected characteristics like age, race, or national origin, you should define your audiences purely on the actions individuals take on your website.

 

Conclusion 

The days of sitting in branch lobbies and having coffee with your customers and members every day may be a thing of the past, but with modern technology using personalization, your website can help your financial institution stand apart by reflecting the personal touch you strive to offer. 

 

do you love your financial institution website?