What heads of consumer lending need to know about personalization | Blend
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April 13, 2022 in Thought leadership

4 minutes

What consumer lending leaders need to know: Key findings for personalization

Leverage personalization capabilities to win customers for life.

Tablet phone screen with persona on it

Not a head of consumer lending? Check out our posts for CDOs and CTOs.

Recently, Blend commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the state of personalization in the financial services sector. For many, personalization is a tech industry buzzword with strong ties to the retail industry and digital marketing. In reality, it is a strategic approach that, once turned into a core business practice, can help companies across the board provide relevant, interesting, and valuable interactions.

The results are in.

How banks can unlock quick wins and lasting value reveals that financial services customers have come to expect experiential engagement across all touchpoints — an expectation whose importance is predicted to increase exponentially.

But what steps can heads of consumer lending and their teams take on their journey to deliver these innovative, personalized experiences? By first enacting a phased approach, your financial institutions can see tangible benefits and use these learnings to chart a path and build a case for deeper deployment.

A path to personalization: Putting principles into practice where they matter most

Banking decision-makers believe that over the next two years, personalization will play an even bigger role in the success of customer acquisition, onboarding, and service. Let’s examine how you can apply personalization capabilities when and where it matters.

Nail the first impression with personalization

It is one of the first lessons we ever learn, usually from our parents, teachers, or other mentor figures: “You never get another chance to make a good first impression.”

What is true in your personal and professional life is just as true for your financial institution and its personalization program. Personalization has the potential to play a huge role in the customer acquisition phase, so this is a natural and smart place to start.

“Respondents from banks were most likely to say that personalization is an important driver for their organizations’ customer acquisition strategies (68%), but they also nodded to its role in more effective customer service (65%) and onboarding (62%).”¹

While most banks know that personalization is an important driver for their customer acquisition strategies, financial institutions typically focus on personalized marketing, particularly email marketing.

There is more that can be done to improve acquisition success with personalization, including making the application processes easier for customers and speeding up underwriting approvals and access to funds. These improvements can aid in achieving quick wins and building a business case for future personalization investment.

Implement personalization across interactions

You’ve nailed the first “hello”…now what? As every consumer lending leader knows, successfully onboarding a customer is just the start. Growing the customer relationship requires applying the principles of personalization across your full suite of products and services — at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

According to Forrester’s personalization maturity model, financial institutions that implement personalization across the board are said to have “mature” approaches. Banks with mature personalization practices see tremendous short- and long-term benefits in engaging and retaining customers.

“Banks with more mature personalization programs have higher business performance than lower maturity banks.”¹

In addition to applying personalization capabilities across all products and services, banks with more mature approaches also leverage more customer data, personalize across channels, serve consumers more proactively, and empower employees to personalize experiences. By tailoring a greater number of experiences, banks can provide consistent value.

Almost three-quarters of banking customers want product offers to be contextually relevant, and these capabilities make that possible.

¹A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Blend

What should heads of consumer lending do next?

The demand for personalized, contextualized, and dynamic engagement in financial services isn’t off on the horizon. It is already here. The world has already assimilated technology into our quotidian routines. And with that, companies are perfectly poised to leverage those innovative capabilities to deliver what customers are asking for: meaningful human experiences.

Staying competitive and achieving growth demands applying personalization across acquisition, onboarding, and relationship deepening. Putting these puzzle pieces together in a way that makes sense for your organization can be complex.

Read the report to dive deeper into how you can develop your personalization capabilities and meet customers where they are.

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