In some places, "family values" isn't just an election-year catchphrase. Indeed, the most profitable customer relationship at Security National Bank (Laurel, Neb.; $98 million in assets) is a father-and-son team. The bank discovered this by using customer profitability software from IPS-Sendero, a unit of Fiserv (Brookfield, Wis.), which it deployed at the start of 2003.
Before installing the software, the bank had seen the father-son relationship as five disconnected entities. "There was a corporation, a partnership, a couple of individuals and then a separate farming operation," says Keith Knudsen, EVP at Security National Bank. "With this customer profitability system, we're able to link those relationships together."
Bank executives have started to use that type of profitability information to craft pricing strategies. Also, the bank has linked its IPS-Sendero data to its teller and platform software from Information Technology Inc. (ITI, also a Fiserv business), so that profitability information can be made available to employees in the front office as well.
As a result, the fact that both father and son are extremely profitable to the bank can be discovered by employees as they work. "We've taken the data and have been able to move it to the front-end, to our tellers and the bookkeepers," says Knudsen. "If one of those top 10 percent customers comes in, and they're complaining about a fee that they were charged, the teller doesn't have to go through a process. They can waive it and say, 'We really appreciate your business. I'll take care of that.'"
"The idea is to provide good service to everybody, and step it up for these top 10 percent," adds Knudsen.
But even though such an initiative allows the bank to gain strategic clarity about the drivers of its overall profitability, it's difficult to pin down an exact return on investment for the technology involved. "It's really hard to do," admits Knudsen. "We know what the system cost, we know that there's quite a bit of time and effort tied into getting a system like that set up and done right, but the best way we're going to be able to measure results is over time."
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