Feel good banking. Those words don’t look right together, do they? Today’s bankers are painted with the broad strokes of Lehman Brothers and other mega bank failures, making it a tough time to carry the label “banker” no matter the size of your institution. Add in a vast decline in branch foot traffic, excessive regulatory burdens and banking exams that make root canals sound like a summer picnic, and you are left with bankers lacking the energy and resources needed for exceptional customer management.
However, feel good banking created by a well-implemented customer relationship management (CRM) solution can be exactly what community banks need to escape the mega bank stigma and re-create the relationship-building intangibles that have set them apart for decades. Whether you are integrating a new CRM solution or are simply looking to recharge your current program, here is what you need to get the most out of your CRM program.
Adoption and Accountability
The biggest deterrent to a successful CRM program is lack of buy-in at the executive level, which results in inconsistencies in the way bank employees leverage the technology. CRM technology is not a panacea; it is a tool to help you successfully build customer relationships. However, simply purchasing CRM software does not solve any problems. To get the most out the program, every employee from the top down needs to be committed to it.
The best way to ensure employee participation is by setting universal goals for your CRM program. Both top management and the bankers implementing the program must understand these aspects:
-- What is driving adoption?
-- How does your bank’s culture support CRM?
-- What processes are going to change?
-- How will your bank measure success?
There are a number of tactics that can be used to make CRM usage a top priority for bank staff. Leverage coaching, annual reviews, or a points system to give out monetary rewards or other incentives to those employees that consistently use the CRM system. Even if you are unable to reward employees, it is crucial to make the adoption process a measurable, accountable activity.
Our DVRs know what programs we watch and record them for us. Search engines predict what we’re going to ask by only typing two characters. Facebook knows what we ‘like’ before we do. Shouldn’t banks know what services and account preferences would be most useful to customers? A CRM system that integrates targeted marketing allows bankers to eliminate the shotgun approach to promotional campaigns and begin selling the right thing to the right customer.
Along with the ability to target specific products to the right customer, make sure your CRM program also lets you segment demographic information and manage service-related interactions. This intelligent marketing will position your banker as a trusted advisor, and provide the customer with a better level of service than your competitors.
We all want to believe we can give equal service to everyone, but with limited resources, customer segmenting is actually very important. In many cases, the top 10 percent of your customers account for almost all of your earnings, making it essential to quickly recognize who those customers are. A CRM tool that gets profit information in the hands of your bankers helps you better manage relationships by understanding who is profitable, how they are profitable, and how to replicate this in other circumstances. It will help your bank maximize resources by driving down attrition rates and driving up profit and wallet share.
Statistically, banks are seeing a year-over-year decline in branch foot traffic of approximately 10 percent. A well-adopted CRM program will help your bankers build strong relationships during the few face-to-face interactions they actually get with a customer. By empowering bankers to resolve service and sales issues at the point of contact, your customers will avoid the ”fast food” bank lobby environment down the street and keep coming back for the concierge-like service they receive at your bank.
To make sure you are properly managing long-lasting customer relationships, you should adopt processes that will help quantify and recognize the efforts of your bankers. Studies show that recognition is an even greater motivator than compensation. If bank employees feel good about using the CRM program, they will provide a feel good banking experience to your customers.
Tammy Bangs is an account specialist at Jack Henry & Associates