Banco Espirito Santo Focuses on Personalized Marketing

A 360-degree view of customers is allowing the Portuguese bank to market to individual clients with very targeted offers.
Silver: Integrated Marketing

Business Boost: Breaking data silos allows for more personalized communications.

Today's customers are interacting with organizations over multiple channels and expect a seamless experience across each touchpoint. However, brands are often challenged with connecting traditionally siloed channels to create an integrated omnichannel experience.

Banco Espirito Santo was facing such a challenge. Until 2010, the Lisbon-based bank had five scattered CRM systems, making it impossible for the 643 branches to have a clear single view of customers' interaction histories. As Jo?Mana?, the bank's CRM manager, explains, there was no link between the different channels, including the branches, contact center, and Internet banking.

Further, increases in self-serve options mean that less people go to branches for their banking needs. "There were fewer opportunities to speak with them," Mana? explains. The bank recognized the need to proactively reach out to customers with relevant offers.

However, the scattered systems meant that the bank was unable to tailor campaigns to individuals. "We didn't have good information about previous interactions with customers," Mana? says. This led to poor marketing results since there was no continuity or coordination when it came to campaigns, making it impossible to introduce timely outreaches, for example if a customer withdrew a large amount of money indicating he might be changing banks.

This reality led to high inefficiency and poor performance across the organization. For example, leads were regarded as low quality and Mana? says it was estimated that only 50 percent of these customers were being contacted by commercial staff since they didn't trust the information they were getting. Conversion rates were as low as 3 percent.

Customer satisfaction was suffering and Banco Espirito Santo was 4th among the top five Portuguese banks. Recognizing the need for change, in 2009 business leaders decided to invest in a fully integrated marketing and CRM system that would help improve customer satisfaction and boost conversion rates while improving brand presence and engaging commercial staff. "We started from scratch," Mana? explains. After talking to the IT department, the bank purchased Oracle's Siebel and scrapped the previous systems, except SAS, which it kept using for analytics purposes.

Mana? notes that all conversations with a customer, across all channels, are inputted in the new CRM system, creating a 360-degree view of individual clients and allowing the bank to market directly to their needs. With information shared across the organization, clients don't have to repeat information if they speak to a new person. Further, a client will not be proposed a product that he'd already declined.

More robust data means that bank staff has a higher trust in leads. "There's more confidence in information," Mana? notes. As a result, outbound contacts to CRM leads have gone up from less than half to 85 percent. Further, while in 2010 only up to 50 percent of leads were being contacted by branch staff, this went up to almost 90 percent in 2013.

Campaigns are also being customized to events. Mana? explains that if a customer makes a large withdrawal, he'll be contacted to verify the transaction and also asked whether he's satisfied with the service.

Better customer information allows the bank to make more tailored offers. In fact, 15 percent of customers are proposed a next-best offer and the relevance of these campaigns means that conversion rates are in the 35 percent range.

An added bonus was that the marketing team can spend more time on analysis and development rather than execution, which was previously taking up 75 percent of their time. Campaigns are also set up more efficiently and are up and running within a couple of weeks, tested, and quickly rolled out to all branches.

The bank also introduced a real-time decision engine on its Internet banking portal, allowing it to present the right offers to each customer based on historical data from similar customers. Click-through rates are three times higher than a control group.

Part of the strategy was to invest in a marketing automation engine, which is now allowing the bank to orchestrate multichannel campaigns. Mana? notes that if a customer responds to an Internet campaign, starts the buying process but doesn't make the purchase, he will receive a call from the branch, asking whether he needs help completing the purchase, leading to high conversion rates.

The new system has gone over well with customers, with an email survey the day after a branch contact showing that 89 percent of customers rank their interaction as highly satisfactory. More importantly, the bank has seen positive sales results, and specific products marketed in a campaign have seen a success rate from under 3 percent in 2010 to more than 13 percent last year.

Finally, the new system has helped Banco Espirito Santo weather the economic storm. Mana? explains that at a time when it was impossible for banks to get outside funding, the bank was able to fund its activity from deposits.