Customer Experience Featured Article

Westpac Out for the Best in Customer Experience

October 16, 2014

It's the goal of nearly every organization around to deliver a top-notch customer experience. Really, just ask any set of decision makers around and it will likely come up somewhere near the top of the list. But sometimes the plan to actually deliver this top-notch customer experience isn't quite so fully fleshed out. Westpac—one of the four biggest banks in Australia—doesn't suffer such a malady, and instead has quite a plan ready to bring that customer experience that will help drive its very future.

So what does Westpac plan to do to deliver that experience it so craves? It's continuing on earlier work with Teradata (News - Alert), which brings in an array of marketing applications and analytic data platforms to help drive a data-focused effort toward finding out just what the customer base wants, and providing it. A combination of big data and advanced analytics will hopefully help yield the information desired, and help provide offers and services that are specifically geared toward individual customers.

Teradata won't just be helping Westpac focus on the customer experience, however, as it will also be working to help reduce loss and fraud within the bank's operations. This in turn should help free up resources that can be put to work providing those offers and services geared toward the individual customers, and provide a better overall experience for Westpac customers, as well as Westpac itself.

Westpac's executive manager for CRM capability, CRM&D, and AFS Strategic Marketing, Rachel Rohrlach, offered up some commentary into the operation, saying, “We realized early that this should focus on business outcomes, not solely on technology. Working alongside the Teradata team, we created a vision of the outcomes, quickly proved them and by engaging IT, defined the processes and architecture to ensure the technology swiftly delivered on the business promise. We’ve been able to combine these new data sources with our existing ones and test new technology such as Hadoop.”

Moreover, word about the overall level of customer insight generated from just three weeks of operation between Westpac and Teradata—according to Westpac's general manager of customer relationship marketing and digital Karen Ganschow—was dubbed “amazing” overall.

That's the key differential, right in what Rohrlach said: a focus on business outcomes. This can't just be about bringing in new technology; it has to be brought in with a specific purpose in mind. Here, that purpose was to augment the customer experience and drive return business to Westpac. Given that Westpac is the fourth largest bank in Australia, there are clearly at least three other competitors to bear in mind here, along with who knows how many competitors farther down the food chain, so to speak. Proper thinking for any business is not only a matter of how to maintain a current position, but how to advance on the competitors. Here, Westpac has competitors above and likely below as well, so it's focusing on the customer experience to improve its own position, a strategy that should work out well for all concerned.

Making a great customer experience can often breed improvements in customer loyalty, as well as that great unsolicited word-of-mouth advertising that so often helps a business thanks to its sheer sincerity. Only time will tell, really, just how well Westpac's plan works out, but judging by what we know so far, it should be the kind of thing that ends well for not only Westpac, but also Westpac's customers.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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