So many decisions are founded on gut instinct, and these instincts can often prove correct. But what about when your assumptions are incorrect? The cost of such assumptions can be profound.

Our experts pushed a little further and uncovered the real questions: Are we creating a valued customer experience? Do we offer a consistent experience to our customers across all touch points? Is there a way to better communicate to our customers? Can we better promote our products so that each product is promoted to the right customer at the right time so that it feels like a personalized message?

Market research insight and predictive analytics allow leadership to make decisions based on facts. There is no need to stare blindly at the next decision. Listen to the market, listen to your customers, and learn from the data already possessed.

This insight was provided to STAR Financial, an Indiana-based community bank, to better match products to the customers.


Although the initial question was targeted at building a better product for customers, SMARI designed the research that would not only build a better product, but would optimize the approach and align with the brand core values.

The best way to understand where we need to go as a company to jump on the pathway to profitability is to understand where we are today. How well are we currently meeting customers’ needs and is that a consistent experience? Financial institutions have multiple points of interaction and it is important to know how well our brand is perceived across these channels.

Further, it is important to understand who our customer is and how well we are providing an experience across multiple customer types. This also helps understand any points of missed opportunities. Are we getting our fair share of the target market? Is there low-hanging fruit that we are missing out on?

With the knowledge of who are our customer is and how well we are meeting their needs, we can take the next step in designing a product for the targeted customer.

1) Customer Research

To understand how well the brand is meeting customer needs, SMARI conducted an on-going customer satisfaction assessment to track multiple touchpoints over time. Customers coming in through the phone, branch, and online experiences were asked to evaluate their experience. Results from this research revealed areas of brand inconsistencies that warranted improvement to enhance the customer experience.

An attitudinal segmentation was conducted so that STAR Financial can more readily classify their customer to better meet their needs. This allowed for a more informed marketing strategy to set the platform of greater product development.

Touchpoint Analysis

Touchpoint Analysis

Is your customer experience consistent across all touch points? Evaluating each point of customer contact is vital to ensure high customer satisfaction and a consistent brand message.

Continuous Loop Feedback

Continuous Loop Feedback

A bad experience can be an opportunity to grow a relationship and enhance loyalty. Our system allows passes dissatisfied customer “alerts” directly to clients so that the problem can be resolved and relationship salvaged.

2) Market Assessment

This endeavor started with synthesizing customer records to understand what potential existed in leveraging data already in the hands of STAR Financial. The goal of such efforts was to better understand and serve its client base.

Using both current and past customer information, customer churn could be understood and predicted. Given the behavior of past customers prior to attrition, it could be predicted which customers were likely to exhibit similar traits, enabling a recourse strategy to be implemented.

In identifying trends in the product selection process, it was also found that we could predict the next best type of product for each customer given their profile and current account holdings.

Consumer Segmentation

Consumer Segmentation

Going after the entire consumer market can be a drain on resources. Segmentation begins to break down the market into more digestible segments – each with their own propensity towards purchasing from your brand, demographical composition, and attitudinal disposition toward the category. This can not only help size the market, but develop the best approach to go after those that mean most to your company.

Findings from the customer research which segmented each customer based on attitudinal characteristics were appended to the database to enrich the communication process, bringing it full circle.

As a last piece of the puzzle, a conjoint analysis was conducted with the purpose of understand the viability of new products to developed in the pipeline. This process attaches a utility to product features and aligns with how much customers are will to pay for each product.

STAR Financial now had the data to take the next step to better serving their customers by:

  • Creating a consistent brand offering across all touchpoints
  • Improving areas that were driving dissatisfaction
  • Knowing the type of product to promote to each customers based on predictive analytics
  • Creating a new portfolio of products that consumers want
  • Knowing how to communicate to customers given their segmentation profiles