Viewpoint: Selfie Generation Demands Personalization

By David Anderson, Enacomm

In 2003, the world’s first phone with a front-facing camera was introduced, and the selfie boom was born. The oldest members of the millennial generation would have been 22 years old at the time, with the youngest clocking just 6 years of age. Millennials, who outnumber the baby boomer population, have grown up with technology, but more specifically, they’ve grown up with technology focused on one’s self.

A major force among the army of consumers, young Americans demand a personalized digital experience, which is of particular importance to prepaid companies. In a recent survey, TD Bank found that a third of Americans 18 to 34 years old have used a reloadable prepaid debit card compared with only a quarter of Americans in total. Additionally, three out of five millennials would consider using one, compared with half of the population overall, according to the survey.

Personalization is a key component of a seamless customer experience. Accenture defines seamlessness as the ability to deliver a consistently personalized, on-brand experience for each individual customer at every touchpoint—anytime and anywhere. Today, advanced customer relationship management (CRM) technology enables prepaid companies to create seamlessness, by automating intelligent customer interactions, predicting future behavior and conducting targeted messaging campaigns.

Conventional wisdom might define “personalization” as using the customer’s name in communications. In this case, however, personalization must include much more: account types, status, transactional latency and other information that will help provide a positive and intelligent customer experience. In essence, the goal of personalization should be to provide a unique experience to every customer.

Beyond Big Data
Prepaid organizations need to truly know and understand their customers’ behavior to increase retention and successfully cross-sell products and services. Collecting big data and using traditional CRM techniques may help prepaid organizations obtain a snapshot of their customers, but that’s not nearly enough. To be most effective, a full panoramic view of every customer is crucial. Beyond utilizing demographics and account information, tracking each customer’s behavior means his or her needs can be anticipated and future behavior predicted in real time.

Technology like Enacomm’s 4Cast enables prepaid organizations to use data to proactively and intelligently interact with each customer in the moment, using any communication channel. According to the Accenture Personalization Survey, nearly 60 percent of consumers want real-time promotions and offers made possible by predictive marketing technology.

Next-generation CRM means customers can enjoy a personalized self-service experience every time they interact with a prepaid organization on the Web, via mobile, SMS text or IVR. No one wants to endure long menus and messages regarding products or services they already use. A traditional IVR call flow could require customers to wait more than two minutes to obtain a card account balance. Now, the same inquiry can be answered in less than 30 seconds. Imagine this typical call flow made possible by the latest CRM technology:

—“Hello Mike! Welcome back. The last time we talked, you wanted to know your card account balance. Would you like me to get that for you now?

—Please enter your PIN or the last four digits of your Social Security number—Thank you. Your balance is $590.44.

—Mike, you can access your money much faster with a direct deposit account— may I text you a link with more information?

—Great. Can I help you with anything else today?”

In this example, the intelligent module knew the name of the customer and played the last transaction he performed. The customer was identified, so no account number was required–just a PIN or other short method of authentication. The platform even knew that the customer did not use direct deposit. It then played the appropriate message regarding direct deposit and offered to send a promotional message using the customer’s chosen method of communication. For an exceptional customer experience and increased retention, each interaction should be unique and tailored to the needs of the individual, as well as the product or service being promoted.

Personalization is a powerful method for prepaid organizations to differentiate from competitors and build customer loyalty. According to the American Express 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer, personalization is important to 89 percent of consumers–millennials and beyond–once core expectations for a great customer experience have been met. Using an advanced real-time decisioning engine, hundreds of data points can be researched and dozens of business policies can be accessed to provide the customized customer self-service experience that consumers crave.

Ready for My Close-Up
Mass, generic messages just won’t do for the selfie generation. And millennials have rubbed off on their elders, who also now insist on being treated as individuals. These days, intelligent interactions are expected. Thanks to new CRM technology, you can have extensive, relevant information about your customers by the time they connect via phone, mobile, Web or SMS text. For a world that loves selfies, personalization is prerequisite.

David Anderson is the chief marketing officer of Enacomm, a provider of technology that brings intelligence to customer self-service with innovative applications and services. He can be reached at

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