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Client Commentary: Retail Banking in a Code Halo World


By leveraging data and analytics, Key Bank can better understand customer preferences and behaviors and deliver tailored offers, services and solutions. Retail bankers are redefining convenience in high-stakes bids for customers. Let's face it — customer expectations have changed dramatically in just the past decade. It's no longer enough to offer banking via the Web, mobile device or app. Such services are mere table stakes.

Above all, customers value clear and simple solutions to their personal financial challenges. Customers want banking to be easy. They expect—in fact, demand—an engaging, intuitive and consistent experience across all channels, including when they visit the branch, dial a support center or engage in an instant chat session.

There is no way to deliver this experience without fully digitizing critical internal and external processes across the front-to-back office. And from where I sit, Code Halo thinking is critical to transforming today's loose assortment of digitized assets into a coherent, interconnected ecosystem that provides true value to banking customers by offering expertise that stems from anticipating customer needs, wants and desires before a single request is articulated, input or even swiped.

Decoding and applying meaning from the data swirling around people, processes, organizations and devices is something we are seriously applying to our digital business transformation. Getting there requires a strong IT foundation built on social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies—the SMAC Stack™. Digitization 1.0 entailed moving existing banking capabilities to the Internet to streamline and enable customer interactions, 24x7. The impact to banking processes was minimal. Social, mobile, analytics and cloud have the potential to change things, from customer interactions all the way to the end of the business process.

As we continue our journey with data and analytics—and leveraging Code Halos—we are developing different ways to discern our customers' unique needs and preference so we can offer services that we believe our customers value. As we develop these data capabilities, we can better understand customer preferences and sentiments by capturing and analyzing their social media interactions and their previous transactions/interactions with us. And we can marry these insights with third-party demographic data to understand what people like them need and want from a bank like ours. At that point, we can make offers and deliver services as if they were a market of one rather than a number in a large demographic.

How will we do this? By seeing customer Code Halos and distilling meaning from intersections with our processes and people. We can create customer profiles that can be used across channels to ensure that we do not ask customers time-consuming and frustrating questions for which we already have the answers (like home address, account numbers, preferred language and channels). We reward them with offers that fit their preferences and requirements, not ours. We proactively alert them on unauthorized or unrecognized behavior, helping to keep them secure, confident and loyal.

Consider this simple scenario: We see out-of-state credit card transactions for a customer who typically transacts in Ohio, perhaps in another region of the country or the world. An integrated ecosystem that leverages SMAC capabilities enables us to see this in real time. We then alert the customer to verify whether the transaction is valid. As our call center staff solidifies and protects the relationship, they can also share advice on credit card protection online, or offer an incentive to procure additional safeguards from us.

Beyond protecting customer assets, we find relevant and timely reasons to reach out and engage with customers by offering targeted deals based on our "data-enabled" understanding of their needs. This helps us to provide tailored solutions and remain top-of-mind. In retail banking, mindshare translates into market share as measured in terms of share of wallet.

The challenge in all of this is to make sure we apply predictive analytics and data insights in ways that create customer intimacy while maintaining customer privacy and avoiding the perception of being invasive.

Digital Empowerment

Code Halo thinking and digital business transformation also benefit customers by empowering them to work with us when, where and how they want. Increased digitization will connect our customers to our online support, branches and call centers as if those banking channels were one channel. This interconnection will enable customers to seamlessly move among the channels as they choose—allowing them to easily interact with us and to see and resolve issues for themselves.

SMAC technologies are not only increasing our ability to digitize our business; they are allowing us to increase speed and agility. In fact, actions that typically take hours or days to complete pre-SMAC (a question on a credit or debit issue, loan status or a product offer) will be handled by customers themselves, across channels, in real time. We believe this will provide significant value to our customers, as well as enable operational efficiency and cost savings for Key.

While SMAC technologies are core to enhancing the client experience, these capabilities also enable true end-to-end transaction processing. This process transformation requires not only technology change, but also an evolution in our approach to business processes, as well.

I see Code Halo thinking as a way to drive transformative change across the retail banking landscape. By embracing a digital architecture end-to-end, banks can work proactively and unlock insights and foresights contained in data intersections. These insights and foresights can help banks provide services that banking customers truly value.

Such a capability is critical in our business, where rival services are a click, swipe, phone call or instant chat away. Therefore, we must become omniscient, internally and externally and proactively deliver offers and services by reading our customers' minds. Code Halo thinking is integral to knowing, rewarding, protecting and empowering our customers. We are convinced that connecting and making meaning from Code Halos is a critical component to solidifying and extending our standing among the country's major regional banks.


Amy Brady is the Chief Information Officer at Key Bank, a unit of Cleveland-based KeyCorp and one of the largest bank-based financial services companies in the U.S., with assets of approximately $91.8 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail, commercial banking and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the U.S. and for certain businesses internationally.

Code Halo™ is a pending trademark of Cognizant Technology Solutions.

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