Hong Kong banks are doing a poor job turning customer data into useful sales tools, according to a leading financial services consultant. 'Hong Kong's situation is very funny,' said Alex Lau, country managing director at consulting firm Accenture. 'On one hand, the banks here have too much data, while on the other hand they don't have enough.' A common problem has been their inability to update the data of existing customers. While pushing for sales, bank staffs at call centres and branches have often overlooked the importance of obtaining new information. 'This is something we believe major banks in Hong Kong are not very good at doing,' said Mr Lau, adding that sales staff should not be blamed for the problem as banks rarely allocate enough resources to train employees. But even if they are able to gather enough client data, Hong Kong lenders often make the mistake of committing too much time and money on upgrading technology and analysing profiles, while neglecting the essential steps of customer information management. 'Technology-wise you don't have to be very sophisticated. It's the outcome that's important,' Mr Lau said. 'The most important thing is to make the data simple so it can be usable, and to make sure that all the customer segmentation and classification are shared by the sales force,' he said. 'A lot of banks ... try to do it too scientifically. If you need to know customers' income level in order to market to them the appropriate products, once you know their address you'll likely have an idea of which income group they're in.' But instead time and resources are often spent on excessive analysing when the information should be in use for marketing activities. One of the most conventional data collecting methods, according to Piercarlo Gera, a partner at Accenture, is credit card promotional campaigns at bank branches. 'The old way is that whichever customer comes in they ask if they want a credit card,' Mr Gera said. 'But in that case if you already have a credit card then the bank missed an opportunity with you.'