2018 promises to be a year of both new opportunities and new competitive threats for community banks. In response to the ongoing emergence of FinTechs and digital banks, and the increasing expectations of tech-savvy customers, community bank leaders are seeking practical ways to improve their go-to-market strategies and their customer experience across all channels (including in-branch, phone, website, and mobile banking).
By Paul Abdool
Why are they doing this? Well, for the last five years, 54% of bank marketers have reported that cross selling and growing share of wallet is their number one priority, according to the 2017 Digital Banking Report. But despite this focus:
- 32% struggle with delivering personalized, targeted messages
- 28% struggle with audience segmentation
- 30% struggle with understanding customer needs
So, while the intent to grow is there, community bank marketers are being held back by a lack of actionable customer data and insights. And similar roadblocks are being experienced across the board by employees in customer services, sales – even finance.
This situation has sparked a resurgence of interest in customer relationship management (CRM). Today’s CRM solutions offer substantial benefits for everyone from executives down to front-line staff, and most importantly, for valued customers.
Here are four of the ways CRM can help any community bank become a more nimble, data-driven organization.
1. Streamlining sales and service processes
Cultivating strong relationships with your customer base is job #1 at every community bank. But if CSRs don’t have immediate access to the customer’s past information and history, it becomes very difficult for them provide a consistent, efficient customer experience and personalized financial advice.
Implement CRM though, and your CSRs will be equipped with the tools and information they need to interact with customers in valuable ways. They’ll resolve complaints faster, serve customers and fulfill their needs faster, and enjoy their day-to-day jobs more when they aren’t rooting for customer information across multiple disconnected systems.
2. Insight into activities and what it takes to engage with customers
Community bank Customer Experience teams are trying to keep up with the changing needs of customers, and it’s a complicated job. Just ten years ago, most customers weren’t even using smartphones, and now they do more online than anyone could have imagined. As futurist Brett King indicates, “…banking is no longer somewhere you go, but something you do.”
A CRM system can be used to track responses to customer engagement initiatives, serving as a springboard to test new ideas and determine what resonates with customers across both traditional and emerging channels. It’s a vital source of information to help Customer Experience professionals monitor behavioral and demographic shifts in the customer base, and adjust accordingly.
3. Granular reporting on targeted marketing campaigns
Modern marketers love data, which means a CRM solution that gives the CMO insights into in-flight campaigns is imperative. With access to CRM, marketing can pick exactly the right audience for each campaign, boosting response rates. And they’ll be able to track efficacy by instantly accessing rich data about opportunities and their lifecycle stages.
CRM takes the guesswork out of marketing. Once it is in place, marketers will know who buys what, how many interactions it takes to sell a given product, what types of interactions (phone calls, in person, in branch) are most effective for selling, and what percentage of marketing opportunities are actually in progress and which haven’t been touched yet.
4. Understanding potential pipeline for financial forecasting
For a community bank CFO, instant access to company data is essential. However, disparate legacy back office systems isolate information. Since the information can’t be easily accessed, it frustrates business units and slows their time to market, which in turn leads to the ineffective use of resources. A CRM solution acts as a central data source for activities like accurate financial forecasting, which rely on a complete understanding of the sales pipeline.
CRM puts data at the CFO’s fingertips, so they can understand changes in the market to allow them to respond quickly. And many CRM solutions today even make this critical data available in real time through executive dashboards, so the CFO, and other customers of the leadership team can make informed decisions that steer the community bank in the right direction.
The Future is Customer-Centric
By 2020, PWC analysts project that ““Customer intelligence” will be the most important predictor of revenue growth and profitability” at financial institutions. Community banks that build the technological capabilities to understand and meet customer needs will be ahead of the game, offering seamless and personal omnichannel experiences that help grow customer relationships. By implementing the right technology now, community bank leaders can ensure a bright future for their organizations, by meeting the trend towards increased customer-centricity head on.
CRM = substantial operational benefits + ROI.
To learn more about how CRM pays its own way for community banks, check our free eBook “CRM in Community Financial Institutions: the Undiscovered Revenue Source”