PNC's John DeMarchis believes he's found a way to remove static from his bank's interactions with customers. The Pittsburgh-based bank is using new flexible and automated work processes to create a world in which customers contact the institution and immediately receive the proper message in the right channel, free of the kind of out-of-date, stagnant content that's inhibited cross-selling and true one-to-one marketing at financial institutions for years.
"It's extremely exciting," says DeMarchis, senior vice president of customer management for PNC. "We view it as having huge possibilities in terms of how we interact with our customers. The performance of mail and telemarketing is deteriorating and those channels are actually irritating consumers. This [new initiative] enables us to deliver interactions the way customers want to see a message, when they want to see it. It's a big part of the future way that we're going to be interacting with customers."
Banks have long spoken about the need to properly match cross sales and marketing to inbound customer service queries without annoying the customer with unwanted products, or even worse, pitching products the customer already has. By using business process management software in conjunction with data management, business intelligence and web services, PNC is automating the mix of manual, paper and data entry-heavy processes that were previously used to retrieve customer and transaction information, analyze it, make a decision on the next move, and deliver that "next move" as a cross-selling addendum to a service query.
The bank's goal is to enable a real-time experience for each consumer at each inbound point of contact. It's a new kind of business process management project (BPM) in which not only labor and slower electronic steps are being automated or streamlined to remove manual processes, but a new layer of web-enabled agility is also being added to the retrieval and delivery of data and tailored content. PNC is not alone - banks all over the world are embracing these new BPM tools and techniques to tackle a variety of challenges, both for customer facing initiatives and back office tasks.
"The more exciting things around business process management right now are the ability to couple customer analytics with things like customer profitability or customer lifetime value measurements, delivering outcomes that are a function of real-time analytics," says Bob Meara, a senior analyst at Celent. "Not long ago, real time analytics was a pipedream."
At PNC, process automation is being used to handle inbound queries and the bank is developing similar capabilities for outbound interaction. DeMarchis says the value is in comprehensive customer service - the new process coordinates all actions from a customer and uses data analysis and business rules to determine "the next best action."
PNC is accessing customer data on a real-time or near-real-time basis and is integrating it into three channels: online, ATM and call center. A decisioning engine examines inbound customer activity, and based on data analytics, automatically makes a decision on a course of action or a message to that customer.
Instead of handing all of the steps in this process manually, which would likely not allow for real time action and info, the different work steps in the customer service process have been automated for speed and accuracy. "We call them customer treatments. It could be a cross sale, a purchase of a new product, or a service, such as 'we've been informed by a merchant that your credit card has been compromised, and we're shutting it down and issuing a new one,'" says DeMarchis.