Thought Leadership

Data, Netflix and the Banking Customer Experience

August 14, 2018
Data, Netflix and the Banking Customer Experience
By Bryan Adler

The conversation around the benefits of data analytics, AI and machine learning always centers on how it will improve the quality of service and lead to a better customer experience.

Financial institutions have been talking about this for years, but how many can honestly say they’ve revolutionized their customers’ banking experience? The answer lies in your culture. Research by McKinsey & Company found that getting the organizational culture right first is key to success in a digital service-oriented world.


Eliminate silos, both departmental and functional, in order to achieve a trust customer-centric culture. As the term implies, silos create too narrow a view of your customers. The result is an inability to respond effectively to evolving customer needs because information was sent to the wrong department and key signals were missed.


Consumers’ experiences with Amazon, Zappos and Netflix have raised their expectations of service – and yes, your bank is competing with them at a service level. They expect financial institutions to respond immediately to inquiries, offer seamless customized products and services and provide easy access to the information they need when they need it. The promise of a consistent experience across every touchpoint is why consumers are willing to share their buying and browsing behaviors.


The only way that ideal scenario plays out at your bank or credit union is if your institutions attains a 360-degree view and draws insights from that to understand the customer, so the right data is connected to the right decisions.


According to McKinsey, to anticipate emerging patterns in customer behavior and tailor relevant interactions, customer-centricity has to be what drives all core decisions across all areas of your organization. Banks and credit unions can’t afford to just play lip service anymore. Consumers won’t settle for anything less than Activation at the Point of Excitement, and neither can your financial institution.


Netflix understands this. With 130 million subscribers in 190 countries and an original programming budget of $8 billion, Netflix has changed the video viewing experience. The company’s mission revolves around “access, personalization and choice.”

Members don’t feel boxed-in. Forget waiting one week to get the latest installment of your favorite show. You can binge watch an entire new season over the weekend and get instant gratification.


Netflix has infused personalization at every level, from program development to the images displayed when you open the app. How do they do it? Instead of looking at data based on typical demographics or genres, Netflix instead groups its data into what it calls taste communities.

They’ve identified 2,000 taste communities that share nuanced connections. Netflix even hires people from around the world to watch all their content and create tags regarding tone or storylines, as a way to better understand how different people relate to their programming. Some people may find “Stranger Things” to be along the lines of 80s nostalgia, while others think of it as a sci-fi thriller, so it is discoverable under both tags.


Once like-minded fan communities are identified the data drills down to the individual member level of personalized interaction. Every member’s Netflix display screen is unique. The images that accompany your recommendations are also tailored to cater to your tastes and interests. That seamless attention to detail exemplifies Activation at the Point of Excitement – grab your customers’ interest while you’ve got them with personalized messaging and images. Netflix found success because its culture is built around the customer, not just developing algorithms.

Netflix also recently updated its interface to include a scroll bar, so members could spend less time browsing and more time discovering stories they will love. The company’s research revealed members felt overwhelmed by the choices and needed help figuring out where to start. Netflix delivered a familiar tool to help members quickly find whatever they are in the mood to watch. A scroll bar is not a new algorithm or technology but something practical that improves the user experience.


Now if consumers can get that degree of customization and delight from a subscription video service, why would they settle for less from the financial institutions that support their families’ hopes and dreams?




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