Why data is key to delighting customers across industries


Lee Clarke, CEO and co-founder of Bink, on why data can – and should – lead to happy customers. 

Data underpins virtually every decision that organisations make. Yet, too many fail to use data to add real value and increase customer satisfaction. There is an opportunity for banks, retailers and FinTech businesses to work together to create positive customer experiences across industries.

Consumers rightly expect great experiences but, unfortunately, they often find themselves falling through the cracks as they move across industry sectors and brands. It needn’t be like this. When retailers and banks work together, something magical can happen. By sharing data in a responsible way, and with permission, retailers and banks can delight customers and also identify threats and opportunities.

Spotify, the music streaming subscription service, is well known for using data to surprise and delight customers, as well as to create engaging marketing and advertising campaigns.

By learning what their customers listen to, Spotify can provide personalised recommendations and suggestions on new releases. It’s an excellent example of a company taking existing data and using it to improve the customer experience.

Consumers have come to expect a personalised experience when they interact with any brand. However, many of the retailers and banks that have access to relevant data are either not using it, or not doing so in the most effective way.

The consumer loyalty opportunity

Like Spotify, retailers and banks should rely on data to improve the customer experience. Personalised offers based on past purchasing behaviours and AI-led chatbots are just two examples of data-led initiatives that consumers have come to appreciate.

Positive customer experiences drive loyalty, and the combination of customer information and purchasing data has become the Holy Grail in retailers’ quest to delight customers.

It’s no coincidence that Sainsbury’s recently acquired the company behind Nectar, the loyalty programme in which it’s been a member since launch. With a wealth of data on customer spend now at its fingertips, the supermarket is more strongly positioned in the battle for customer loyalty.

Despite the twists and turns, retailers have thus far held the winning cards in the customer loyalty game. Isn’t it time that banks claim their seats at the table?

Banking offers

Given that bank accounts are ubiquitous, it stands to reason that they are the most logical avenue for retailers to access customers. It also gives banks a wealth of data that retailers don’t have.

Thanks to partnerships with retailers, most banks already present their customers with ‘everyday offers’. Yet, all too often, these offers are too generic. When a customer is issued irrelevant offers time and time again, they will soon begin to ignore them. This isn’t a good experience for the customer, and there is little gain for banks and retailers. In the age of personalisation, it isn’t good enough.

Cross-industry digital loyalty schemes

Banks should learn from retailers that their customer base is made up of individuals with likes and dislikes. Better still, banks should work more closely with retailers to deliver the best possible customer experience.

Loyalty schemes already help retailers identify customers and tailor offers to them. But the relationship can be enhanced further by switching to a digital loyalty scheme, whereby customers are identified through their payment card instead of a physical loyalty card. This creates richer insights for the bank and the retailer, and allows them to deliver better customer experiences through personalised offers and promotions. Of course, in the post-GDPR world, customers need to give their consent. But research shows that, with the right level of clarity and incentives, customers will part with their data if it brings them benefits.

The data and technology exist for the banking and retail sector to create better customer experiences – now is the time to take a joined-up approach.