According to a report by global public relations firm Edelman, financial services and banking are the two least trusted industries in the United States. According to the survey, called the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer: U.S. Financial Services and Banking Industries,” only 46 percent of the American general public has trust in financial services, just 1% higher than the global average of 45 percent. And the numbers are even worse among respondents in the 35 to 64 age group.
While these statistics improved over last year’s report when only 25% of Americans trusted the financial and banking sectors, they are still extraordinarily high. High, but not necessarily surprising, considering the eroding public perceptions brought about by the economic crisis that began in 2008, as well as by the many major data breaches over the last 5 years. Clearly, financial institutions have a long way to go to regain the trust factor.
What I did find interesting in that same study, however, is that the technology sector tops the list of the most trusted industries, at 83%. I believe there is tremendous opportunity in that statistic.
Since “ethical business practices”, “privacy”, and “listening to customer needs and feedback” were cited in the Edelman survey as the most important actions financial organizations can take to improve trust, then every banker needs to be asking themselves how they can make use of data analysis and data discovery tools to better understand their customers so they can turn that deeper insight into products and services they truly want and need. When customers feel that a financial services firm acts in their best interest—what the industry refers to as “customer advocacy”—they are willing to invest more, borrow more, and buy more products and services. They are also far less likely to seek out another financial institution.
By leveraging today’s advanced Big Data technologies—particularly analytics and artificial intelligence—financial institutions have a tremendous opportunity to rebuild and regain the publics’ trust in tangible ways, from better protecting sensitive data and reducing cybercrime, to providing individually- customized products and services.
Using the right data discovery and analytic tools, a banker can not only secure the total privacy of sensitive information ,retain and grow the revenue of an existing customer, but can determine which products and services are a match for a very particular and finite demographic group. Development of such fine-tuned security and marketing is very difficult—if not impossible—with traditional forensic-based security and data discovery methods. Instead, banks can use analytics and artificial intelligence in many ways, from identifying micro-targeted groups or individuals for marketing programs, to ensuring their most valued, high net worth customers are being served and fully secured.
Today’s financial institutions should look to deploy Big data technologies that will enable them to fully exploit the data they already possesses in order to capture new business opportunities, increase profits and drive innovation. By doing so, financial institutions would go a long way toward renewing their once vaulted reputation as a trusted partner.