Year after year, we hear from financial institutions, “We aren’t ready for CRM.” It leads me to wonder, “How can we not be ready? Aren’t we in the business of maintaining and cultivating relationships with our customers? Aren’t we expected to know the interactions our customers and prospects have with our team?”
It’s no secret that winning and retaining customers is the key to business growth and success. But, given the dynamic and ever-increasing customer demands that financial institutions face today, that’s easier said than done — especially when it comes to implementing and enforcing processes that effectively support your interactions with prospects and customers.
A CRM system is absolutely essential to making that culture shift throughout your financial institution. Here are a few reasons why you should make CRM part of your strategic plan:
1. Remain Cutting-Edge & Competitive
Were we ever really “ready” for ATMs or mobile banking? We couldn’t have anticipated their value or importance before we started using them, but they have become essential — and not offering them would mean losing customers. Now more than ever, banks need to get on board with implementing technology solutions or risk being left in the dust by competitors who are embracing innovation. Opting out is not an option.
Technology will be the differentiator more and more in whether a business succeeds or fails. To thrive, financial institutions must focus on customers and identify CRM strategies for managing those relationships. And your CRM processes and technologies must keep pace with — or ideally stay ahead of — changes in your market in order to differentiate your financial institution.
2. Enhance Customer Experience
Embracing technology isn’t just about staying on the cutting edge. It’s also about enhancing customer experience through proactive follow-ups, customer-specific cross-sells, personalized interactions, a holistic experience, improved customer service levels, and more. By using a CRM, you can communicate with customers utilizing the method that they prefer, whether that is email, phone, etc. CRM will allow you to personalize your interactions with customers and prospects by making essential relationship information readily available when your employees are engaged with customers—whether that is face-to-face, call center or chat sessions.
Keeping everyone in the loop about what your customers need creates a holistic experience across all of their touch points with your financial institution. By implementing a CRM strategy, you are developing the infrastructure that allows for knowledge sharing and smarter communication across all business lines which will improve collaboration and efficiencies throughout your organization and enhance the customer experience.
3. Increase Efficiencies & Revenue
CRM can help improve close rate of prospect activity by establishing a clear process, getting your entire team up to speed, creating a central repository of information, and creating accountability for follow-up. Ability to track production leads, activities, and service requests enables you to sell and service more effectively to existing clients or prospects. Take advantage of automating referrals, marketing campaigns and compensation programs so opportunities are not lost and watch your revenue increase. You can create segmented groups and push out customer-specific pop-up messages to be used by universal bankers, traditional tellers, customer service, or anyone within the organization engaged with the customer.
Understanding and segmenting customers helps retain top customers and grow less profitable ones, all while accelerating the sales and service cycle. Having a tool to automate Customer Engagement Programs has been proven to be very successful in strengthening relationships, building customer loyalty and revitalizing business development.
4. Make Your Sales Team Mobile
It’s clear that consumers are fully embracing mobile technology in their everyday lives. For the same reasons consumers are drawn to smartphones and tablets for personal use – portability, usability and accessibility – financial institutions are seeing the value of these devices as a sales and service tool. By putting the information at the employee’s fingertips, your staff is able to quickly identify customer needs and provide relevant suggestions.
By expanding your mobile capabilities to your team, they will have immediate access to important information that will streamline customer and prospect Interactions and increase overall productivity, not to mention, improve the customer experience. If you don’t start thinking about this technology your competitors will!
5. Maximize Customer Information
Too often, frontline sales, customer service, operations, marketing, and other customer-facing lines of business use disparate systems, so no one has a complete picture of the customer. With a CRM solution, customer information and activities are easily unified and shared so that every business line has a 360-degree view of the customer and can provide quicker, better service.
Well-qualified leads go directly to the right sales team or individual rep. Marketing gets real-time visibility into lead sources that drive the most revenue and the status of every lead, allowing them to plan appropriate and timely marketing campaigns. Service and support team members can see which products or services the customer is using and can alert the sales team to potential cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. In sales, reps get insight into any outstanding customer service issues so that there are no unpleasant surprises when they make sales calls. The ability to share information and knowledge about the customer allows for all business lines to be empowered to make the right decisions on customer needs and requests.
A CRM gives you the ability to have one view of the customer by centralizing customer data and providing visibility across your business lines so that all your teams can work together.
We as bankers are in the business of maintaining and cultivating a relationship with our customers, so we are expected to be an expert regarding their financial needs and know the best products and services to meet their needs. Likewise, our employees are expected to provide the best possible service.
After all, being in the service industry means that the most important thing is your customer’s relationship with your financial institution. It’s time to take the next step and embrace the technology that can help you do your job better than before — and better than the competition.