Since their inception, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programs have brought much-needed clarity to the relationships between financial institutions and their customers. Through innovations in technology, this understanding has deepened and evolved, granting insight that never before seemed possible from predictive modeling based on branch behavior to familiarizing customers with a product before they even know they need it.
For banks, integrating CRM with their core system has become an essential best practice. An integrated CRM gives your bank the power to instinctively pinpoint channel preferences and proactively anticipate product and service needs for each individual customer.
But what exactly does it mean for a CRM to be integrated? Therein lies the true question—and ultimately, the confusion—surrounding many major CRM providers. And distinguishing “soft” claims of integration from the real deal can be a challenge. So, we’ve provided a list of attributes only truly integrated CRMs possess, which you can literally take to the bank.
- Real-Time Insight
CRMs should provide a holistic view of all the interactions that have built the relationship between bank and customer—starting when they were a prospect—and it’s crucial that this relationship update in real time. Many CRMs will boast of integration, but only truly integrated CRMs allow information from the core system to be available in real time, down to the very second.
Many CRMs transfer your files daily or even weekly, causing important delays in customer information. This is problematic when customers have negative account balances or holds on their account, for example. If that information is dumped into a CRM only at the end of the day, certain banking employees would not possess that information for the customer in real time, essentially operating in a “blind spot.” These blind spots inhibit bank employees from accurately articulating valuable information to their customers.
When blind spots are removed through real-time integration, employees can speak intelligently and confidently about customer accounts, assist them with questions, refer them to the appropriate party or present them with a personalized offer.
- A Holistic View
If your bank uses a CRM system that is not integrated with your core, you are only examining a subset of the complete customer data. A subset is a file or piece of data that you have deemed important enough to examine, such as account information or contact history for a customer. The flaw here is that you can’t be sure which subset of data is relevant until you have a complete view of the customer. In essence: you don’t know what you don’t know.
To compound the issue, this type of data examination requires manual processes from bank staff, who must pull the data from the core system and export it into the CRM themselves. Hardly integrated.
Universal vs. Per Seat
Let’s get down to brass tacks: when initially considering a CRM, it’s all about who is pushing the initiative. For instance, a push from the sales department might yield a program that primarily serves the needs of that department alone. Unfortunately, CRM programs implemented for the needs of a select few departments miss out on the institution-wide benefits that a truly integrated CRM provides.
Pricing models further reinforce this idea of limited access. Certain “integrated” CRM programs will offer a “per seat” pricing structure. This can impel bank management to limit access to the CRM—often segmented to certain departments—ultimately resulting in a disparate customer view.
An integrated CRM provides a universal pricing model, allowing everyone from your sales department to customer-facing tellers direct access to the same information. This creates a seamless customer experience and eases the operational burden of transferring data across the institution.
CRMs have the potential to bring real value to your bank by providing real-time, enterprise wide views of your customers. However, if the solution is not integrated into your core system, you will only garner pieces of the story. Ensure that your bank has a truly integrated CRM system in place, and get the full story.
For more information on the competitive edge of an integrated CRM solution, download CSI’s 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. Her diverse background and professional expertise give her a unique perspective on implementing CRM systems in community banks. Shanda also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Murray State University.