​Westpac's Wonder to deliver personalisation using customer data

Westpac has launched Wonder, a platform that uses customer information to deliver tailored information in real-time to home buying customers.

Westpac has launched its Wonder platform on its Westpac Live desktop and mobile banking to deliver tailored information to its home buying customers.

Westpac will use basic information it collects about its customers when they open their account with the bank, and couple it with supplementary information from third parties such as Corelogic RP Data, as well as other information customers supply to the bank, including details about holdings they keep with other financial institutions. The bank will then use this information to deliver in real-time personalised details around their buying power, an understanding of existing equity, as well as help them search for properties.

Mike Wood, Westpac Group consumer bank chief information officer, said the launch of Wonder aligns with the bank's ongoing efforts to improve its customers' experience.

"We are absolutely taking a customer centric view on everything that we do. This Wonder offering is absolutely part of our overall strategy in that regard. It's about understanding our customers really well, and making offerings to them that are personalised and help them achieve their goals, whatever that may be.

"From a technology point of view, we're leveraging the same technology tools and platforms we already use today to deliver our current online offerings, and it's an extension of that but doing that for an innovative way for Wonder," he said.

Wood added that as a result of the process of launching Wonder, it has brought the business closer to working with IT

"The partnership with IT and business ... has grown enormously over the year and a half. It's one of the most pleasing pieces because we've been able to work in that agile way, modifying the solution as we understand more and more of the customer journey, and that's why we're really confident what we have now is something that will absolutely hit the target."

Wonder will be progressively rolled out to eligible customers, and is expected to be completed by January 2016.

Wood said he expects Wonder will be the banner of several other services the bank is looking to launch.

"This is just the first stage of what we expect we would develop into other ways for customers to benefit from Westpac's experience," he said.

Wood attributed the company's ability to deliver such services to the bank's efforts towards overhauling its own infrastructure.

In September, the company committed to investing another AU$1.3 billion as part of plans to use technology to grow its business.

During its half year results, Westpac reported that total investment spend reached AU$458 million, with technology programs accounting for 25 percent of the spend and productivity programs making up 51 percent.

"Our stability has vastly increased; I think this is our best year, probably in living memory in terms of stability, and that all helps because the front end applications delivered directly to the customer are absolutely underpinned by our core banking system, and all the security in place to ensure that all the information is safe and sound," he said.

Despite the fact that the company has seen a strong uptake of mobile and online banking, Wood reiterated that the bank's branches are still a key avenue. In March, Westpac had announced it was investing AU$40 million on top of the AU$23 million it has invested into upgrading its regional and rural branches in Australia.

"We're replenishing our branches, and changing the look and feel to match the new customer needs, putting a lot more offering for the customer to manage their own affairs where they choose to, but not losing that customer interaction with our bankers, which is critical to us," he said.

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