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How Data is Transforming the Customer Experience at Ally Bank

Meena Thanikachalam, Head of Data Architecture at Ally Bank explains how building a world-class data platform in the cloud will transform the customer experience and build loyalty

Traditional high-street banks were not at the forefront of the digital revolution. However, customers today demand instant access to high-quality digital experiences – a trend that has only been accelerated by the pandemic.

Banks must use their data to develop a better understanding of their customers’ needs, argues Meena Thanikachalam, Head of Data Architecture at online bank Ally in this week’s episode of the Business of Data podcast.

Thanikachalam heads up the team responsible for creating an innovative cloud-based data and analytics platform for the bank that is designed specifically with the customer experience in mind.

“We are building a world-class data platform that will help improve our customer experience,” says Thanikachalam. “And will also help deepen our customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.”

A core element of this customer relationship is to create an experience for the customer which feels bespoke. That is why Ally Bank have done the work to understand what their customers need and when they need it.

“This platform is also looking at integrating omni-channel data and also data that we have collected about customer preferences,” she says. “Based on that we would provide a targeted and personalized experience for them.”

Ally Bank is also using AI initiatives like cognitive computing and conversational AI to further enrich the customer experience and enable customers to do more without needing to speak to an agent.

“In banking specifically, cognitive computing is used predominantly to have human-like conversations,” Thanikachalam says. “That is one area [in banking] where I see AI penetrating a lot.”

Key Takeaways

  • Develop a 360-degree view of the customer. Understanding what your customer needs and when they need it will help you shape your strategy.
  • Write the data strategy to inform the customer experience. Identify what data is needed and which metrics will most effectively influence the customer.
  • Don’t forget the guiding principles. Scalability, reliability, performance efficiency, and operational excellence should guide your architectural work.