BT Financial's analytics chief: Deep customer knowledge a "hygiene factor"

Head of customer insights and analytics, Greg Nichelsen, says big data is vital in meeting customer expectations but without engagement, it's useless

Having deep customer knowledge has become the new hygiene factor for brands looking to stay in business and meet consumer expectations, according to BT Financial Group’s head of customer insight and analytics.

Speaking at the AB+F Retail Financial Services event in Sydney this week, the wealth management group’s Greg Nichelsen said customers now expect all brands, regardless of industry, to create stellar customer experiences by personalising and anticipating their needs.

While big data is providing organisations with the tools to gain such knowledge, it’s useless without also building customer engagement, he said.

“Customers are overwhelmed with choice; they also know that we’re vying for their attention all the time,” Nichelsen said. “As financial services brands, we’re competing with every brand, and we’re also competing for time on the train or bus on the way home. Engagement is a competition for time and no one has enough of it.

“We have to deeply know our customers, more than we ever have before, because it’s the only way we’re going to do what is now just hygiene: Meeting customer needs.”

For Nichelsen, the key objective is to be emotionally rewarding. In the financial services space, this could be as simple as removing some of the “scare factor” and taking away discomfort for customers, he said.

“Anticipation is also quickly becoming a base need so we don’t waste people’s time on things that aren’t of interest to them,” he said.

Nichelsen also stressed the importance of balancing data analytics with more traditional market research if brands hope to get a full view of their customers.

“Market research is how consumers like to think they act, while data is how they are really acting,” he commented. “We do a lot of work to make sure all our market research is bridgeable and can be tied back into the data.”

Like many brands today, BT Financial Group is looking at how it can become a more customer-centric organisation. One recent example of how it is striving to do this is a leadership program in Asia-Pacific, designed to help leadership teams better understand customer engagement and expectations.

The 12-week program saw leaders taking on personas of the group’s customers, walking through the buyer journey, and included meetings with customers to help executives walk in their shoes.

Data also lies at the heart of BT’s customer engagement efforts. Nichelsen described big data as an “attitude” towards better understanding customers and driving strategies, rather a technological activity, and detailed a range of ways other organisations could fine-tune their data-driven efforts.

These included removing impediments to data access, taking a more agile and integrated approach to data discovery and utilisation, embracing the idea of failure, and ensuring that all data is used to tell a story.

While technical knowledge is vital in tapping into data assets, Nichelsen said business acumen was equally critical.

“We all talk about the data science skills required, and yes there is a technology side to this… but there’s absolutely a business acumen side to analytics and if you don’t get the right balance, you either get a very R&D approach, or a very non-technical approach. You need something in between.”

Data-driven insight is also about leverage everything you can, Nichelsen said. “This can be hard, but you have to find a way to push these programs forward and get some stuff to happen,” he added.

Also from the AB+F Retail Financial Services conference: Westpac head of customer relationship marketing talks about why social is a great conversation starter

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Social purpose: Oxygen for your brand health vitals

If trust is the new currency, then we’re in deep trouble. Here's why.

Carolyn Butler-Madden

Founder and CEO, Sunday Lunch

Customer experience disruption: Healthcare faces a bitter pill

Over the past decade, disruptors such as Amazon, Apple and Australia’s Atlassian have delivered technology enhanced customer experiences, which for the most part, have improved customers’ lives and delivered unparalleled growth. Can they do the same for healthcare?

Alex Allwood

Principal, All Work Together

How can a brand remain human in a digital world?

Some commentators estimate that by 2020, 85 per cent of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video*. That’s only two years away, and pertinent for any marketer.

James Kyd

Global head of brand strategy and marketing, Xero

https://bit.ly/2qLgzmR Transform your life a proven digital blueprint

Okitoi Steven

How this banking group tackled a digital marketing transformation

Read more

Its great to hear that companies including JCDecaux, oOh!media, Omnicom and Posterscope Australia have all partnered with Seedooh inorder...

Blue Mushroom Infozone Pvt Ltd

Out of home advertising companies strive for greater metrics and transparency

Read more

Much ado about nothingAnother fluff piece around what it could possibly do rather than what it is doing

gve

How AMP is using AI to create effortless ‘experiences’

Read more

is it true that Consumer expectations are also changing as a result. If we trust someone with our data there is also an expectation that ...

Sunita Madan

Society will decide where digital marketing takes us next: Oracle

Read more

This Blog is Very interesting to read and thank you for sharing the valuable information about Machine Learning. The information you prov...

johny blaze

What machine learning has done for the Virgin Velocity program

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in