by Shanda Purcell
Without a doubt, community banks have a dilemma. Under significant market pressure to boost profitability, they need growth. To grow, they must increase their wallet share with existing customers while also attracting new customers, all in an environment of increasing competition and decreasing resources. That problem is old news—but fortunately, there’s an answer that’s anything but.
The financial industry’s latest customer relationship management (CRM) solutions instinctively pinpoint individual customers’ channel preferences and proactively anticipate their product and service needs. They do so by capturing and analyzing each customer relationship and its behavioral patterns, in real-time, by integrating with a bank’s core processing platform. In that way, everyone within the bank can see the data and use it to create a truly exceptional customer experience, leading to higher wallet share, increased loan growth, greater customer acquisition and healthier deposits.
And an exceptional customer experience has never been more important. Case in point: in an effort to identify consumers’ top drivers for choosing and retaining a relationship with a financial institution, CSI recently engaged the Harris Poll to conduct an independent survey of 2,084 randomly selected consumers, age 18 and above, nationwide. These consumers responded to six questions about what matters most to them when it comes to banking.
Among other findings, the results revealed that a staggering 79 percent of consumers surveyed cited customer service as the most important aspect of their relationship with their bank. Although this percentage increased slightly with age (74 percent for respondents under age 35; 87 percent for respondents over age 65), service was the great equalizer when it comes to retention.
Clearly, consumers value a banking relationship that is personal and tailored to their specific needs—whether they’re banking online or calling customer care.
To that end, an innovative, integrated CRM vastly improves the overall customer experience. Blind spots are removed, allowing any employee within the bank to speak intelligently about the customer’s accounts, assist them with questions, refer them to the appropriate party or present them with a personalized offer—all in real-time through the channel of their choice. This boosts profitability because:
- Existing customer relationships, the easiest and biggest opportunity for growth, are naturally promoted because customer needs are proactively anticipated via their preferred channel.
- Lead generation is smoothly facilitated, ensuring the conversion of profitable prospects since the Sales team can easily view, manage and hand off prospects and customers through one system.
- Familial, employment and advisory affiliations are captured, creating new leads with profitability potential that also strengthen the sticking power of the original relationship.
In addition, an integrated CRM provides the agility and mobility that allows today’s institutions to satisfy the demands of busy consumers:
- Any user can access the CRM wherever they need it, i.e. a salesperson meeting with a prospect at their place of business, a branch manager following up with a customer while on the road, even a marketing associate creating a targeted direct mail offer while working from home. This improves work productivity and efficiency, as well as employee satisfaction because they have the tools to be successful right at their fingertips.
- This universal access also increases customer satisfaction. The integrated CRM’s real-time profile identifies high-impact offers and solutions to be presented at the very moment of customer interaction through the customer’s preferred channel.
- Banks can immediately identify and prioritize the most profitable products for the most profitable customers, yielding the greatest possible return.
Integration also facilitates and streamlines communication and collaboration between all business lines, functional groups and banking channels by:
- Generating “smart” dialogue with customers and prospects. They never have to repeat their story because it’s visible and shareable by all within the core system, so they always feel valued.
- Breaking down barriers between business lines, which ensures no opportunities are lost because of a lack of communication.
- Increasing work productivity because no two employees are inadvertently working on the same task for a customer.
- Supporting and protecting the brand image by ensuring a consistent voice, no matter how or with whom the customer is interacting with the bank.
Finally, core integration vastly improves CRM adoption rates among bank employees, because the solutions are easy to use and eliminate duplication of effort.
Let’s face it, bank commerce has evolved dramatically. Consumers now require both a personalized relationship with their bank as well as a wide product and technology range. Banks that meet those two crucial demands will grow their business and rise above the competition. For more information on how an integrated CRM can benefit your institution, download our free white paper, Latest Generation CRM Helps Community Banks Recapture their Competitive Advantage.
Shanda Purcell leads CSI’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) initiative, providing leadership for the overall design and functionality of the platform. With more than 20 years of business and software development experience, Shanda brings proven leadership to all aspects of the CRM solution, from research to implementation.