Most Effective Use of Information

Winner: Barclays

Project: Choices

Business goal: To develop an application to generate individually tailored services for customers, and increase sales for its retail banking staff, using existing customers information.

The retail banking division of Barclays boasts a customer base of 14 million customers, a foundation that should provide a wealth of opportunities for the 300-year-old bank to cross-sell additional products and services to its current, savings or mortgages account-holders.

But like many other banks in the UK, Barclays has struggled to match the information it has about existing customers’ activities with their on-going requirements. Without access to a decision-making tool that helps them make that match, sales staff at Barclays had no easy way of recommending appropriate additional products and services to customers.

Seizing upon this opportunity and working closely with Concept Labs, its rapid application development team, Barclays created ‘Choices’, a customer-centric application that generates a tailored service based on customers’ needs. The system offers detailed information of Barclays’ own products, and allows staff to compare and contrast similar products offered by its rivals by drawing in external market data from the information portal Moneyfacts.

The first Choices application was developed in 16 weeks and, after extensive user feedback and a further six-month expansion period, it was rolled out to 350 of its branches across the country.

The system uses an IBM WebSphere application server and IBM DB2 database, as well as a Java application framework, to harness information from multiple data sources. These include customer details held on the bank’s mainframe systems and inside its vast data warehouse system.

The return on investment for Barclays has been significant. It has witnessed a 42% increase in sales compared to branches using existing systems, and the likelihood of a lead converting into a sale increases to 80% if Choices is used.

“It’s providing frontline staff in branches with a tool that enables them to interact confidently with the customer,” says Stuart Gilmour, head of Concept Labs at Barclays. “And it puts the whole dialogue with the customer on a much more positive footing, instead of the traditional stance offered by other businesses of ‘this is the product I think you should have’ and not the product that you actually need.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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