'Using digitisation to personalise the customer experience,' Lisa Claes, Executive Director, Customer Delivery, ING Direct

Receiving junk mail in the post was an unavoidable hazard a couple of decades ago in the age of massmarketing. The hit and miss approach dominated the customer communication landscape, with less than optimal results for businesses and consumers alike.

These days, thanks to digital technology and the ability to ‘opt out’, customers have a greater say in what they receive, and how they receive it. But more than that, from a business perspective, digital technology increasingly allows us to speak to and engage with customers in a more personal way – and get things right first time.

First, digital technology gives us greater access to information than ever before. We can gain insights into customer behaviours consistently and in real time. When we know how our customers are transacting, when they are transacting and so forth, then we can combine this knowledge with demographic indicators to build a complete picture of who our customers are and what they are seeking.

Second, we can leverage this data to present tailored customer solutions. Once we know what our customers are looking for at an individual level, we can tailor the content they receive. For example, when a customer logs onto our website they will be presented only with information that may be relevant to their circumstances. As everyone’s needs are different, everyone will see a different dashboard when they log on.

Finally, digital technology provides us with a platform to engage with, and communicate with, customers expediently and efficiently – we can deliver the right offer, at the right price, at the right time.

We’ve seen ourselves, at ING DIRECT, just how powerful a platform digital can be in enhancing the experience for our customers – and our latest investment across all digital channels aligns closely with a growing customer preference for digital interaction.

While these customer insights, combined with the leverage provided by digital technology, have enormous potential in redefining the customer experience, it’s imperative that organisations use it appropriately.

Trust is the foundation of our operations at ING DIRECT, so we need to ensure that, while we have access to these insights, we use them solely for the benefit of the customer.

While the ability to ‘opt out’ of marketing communications is good fortune for customers who don’t want to be bombarded with junk mail, it’s hopefully only a matter of time before this option becomes redundant. With personalised messaging made possible by digital technology, organisations can optimise communications first time, every time.