How Financial Institutions Can Take Amazon’s Approach to Website Personalization

Credit Union of Texas harnessed data to personalize its website CX and, in turn, increase revenue. They followed a three-step process involving site redesign, a streamlined conversion process and a predictive experience. Leads more than tripled within one month.

It takes a seamless organization to deliver a seamless user experience. As an increasing number of financial institutions focus on speed to market, creativity, deep learning and 1:1 personalization, teams must understand how best to facilitate cross-departmental collaboration, coordinate organization-wide workflows and organize internal team structures to ensure they can always focus on business unit priorities.

True digital transformation requires an organizational shift for most, moving from a structure involving separate departments, units and silos to a structure that creates synergy among them all.

Salesforce recently reported that in 2020, consumers expect brands to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact. And with Amazon reporting 35% of its purchases are the result of product recommendations, it’s no mystery why this caliber of personalized customer experience (CX) is the ideal state for most brands.

What does a financial institution roadmap look like for achieving Amazon-like personalization? One credit union’s experience shows what can be done.

Credit Union of Texas, took a crawl, walk, run approach to transforming its website from functional to highly personalized for both returning and anonymous visitors.

Not only have they seen measurable improvements including an increase in the total website leads from 649 to 3,003 just in the first month, the institution now has a strong foundation for what’s coming next in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Functional Is Not Enough for Today’s Consumers

Imagine for a moment, that your house has a cramped, 1980s style kitchen. You know you can rely on its basic functionality, but your family cannot fit comfortably even though it’s a central area. After a remodel creating an open and inviting space, your new kitchen is now drawing your family together more often. How is this relevant? Because the remodeled kitchen was designed with a purpose in mind.

“Websites are no different,” says Derek Barka, CTO of SilverTech. “When Credit Union of Texas came to us, their corporate site was a little bit like that first kitchen. It wasn’t designed in a way that could maximize its revenue-driving potential.”

Credit Union of Texas provides a full range of financial services with more than 140,000 members, 14 branches, and $1.4 billion in assets. And although its website was generating traffic, the organization was missing its loan conversion goals by about 30%. There was a desire for more conversions, plus the wish to create a more robust attribution or ROI model.

“They knew, in order to grow, they needed to invest some money both in their customer experience and their technology stack,” Barka states.

A Personalization Roadmap – Crawl, Walk, Run

SilverTech worked with the Texas institution to develop its roadmap in three key steps to reach Amazon-like, data-driven personalization. The credit union’s game plan was to leverage Salesforce for lead tracking and ROI attribution, Salesforce Audience Studio for segmentation and Sitecore for creating the personalized website experiences using all the data.

Step 1: Be modern and relevant
The first step of the journey for the credit union was to undergo a website redesign to upgrade from functional to purpose-driven. The updates to the pages more clearly established what the next steps in the customer journey were for the visitors coming to the site.

“It’s built on Sitecore, so it’s easy for marketers to get in there and change those calls to action to make sure you’re furthering that person’s journey,” says Barka.

Step 2: Be engaging and frictionless
The next step was to create a simple, streamlined conversion process. This is where Salesforce comes in, Barka explains. All forms were created in Sitecore with an integration to do quick credit checks. Then, all the data gets pushed into Salesforce.

The Sitecore and Salesforce integration allows for quick loan approvals, plus the institution can see which forms and channels are working and make adjustments as needed.

“It’s a consistent digital experience across every touchpoint because we’re leveraging Salesforce to share that data,” Barka explains.

Step 3: Be predictive and personalized
For Credit Union of Texas, the website’s “hero banner” was the key area of focus for personalization because most visitors go to the corporate site to log in, creating a limited window of time to grab their attention. The credit union personalized the experience on the page using the banner based on data — both returning visitor data and lookalike data.

As Barka explains it, the institution was taking the contextualized information they have and creating the personalized experience they want.

How to Get Highly Personalized with Sitecore and Salesforce

Credit Union of Texas integrated Salesforce Audience Studio to incorporate third-party data, revealing more information about their site visitors and enhancing lookalike audience personalization. With Audience Studio, the institution can buy segment-specific data that is helpful for creating rules for both returning and lookalike personalization.

When a user visits the website, Audience Studio matches information based on its segment data. In turn, Sitecore creates an audience profile based on this overall information, and then drives the experience the visitor sees on the page. To take it a step further, Salesforce Marketing Cloud enables further campaign automation to nurture the customer through the purchase journey.

In addition to the increase in website leads, home equity and mortgage applications increased 300%, auto loan leads increased 20%, and total submitted loan leads grew from 15 million to 58 million in the first month.

“These are the quick wins that prove emulating Amazon’s success can be a game changer for any organization,” says Barka.

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