13 ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND Using Big Data To Make Customer Service More Personal


Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) were at one point the largest bank in the world. When their exposure to the subprime mortgage market threatened to collapse the business, the UK Government stepped in, at one time holding 84% of the company’s shares.

Currently undergoing a process of re-privatization, the bank have chosen improving customer service as their strategy to fight for their share of the retail banking market.

Big Data analysis has a key part to play in this plan. The bank have recently announced a £100 million investment in data analytics tech-nology, and has named one of their first initiatives “personology” – emphasizing a focus on customers rather than financial products.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

During the 1970s and 1980s, says RBS head of analytics Christian Nelissen, banks became detached from their customers. The focus was on pushing products and hitting sales targets, without regard as to whether they were providing their customers with the services they needed.

“In the Seventies,” says Nelissen, “banks, through the agency of their branch staff and managers, knew their customers individually. They knew who they were and how they fitted in – who their family were and what they were trying to do.”

At some point in the Eighties, he says, this personal relationship was lost as retail banking transitioned from helping customers ...

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