A Brief Guide to Supercharging a Bank CRM Solution

Consumers expect their banks to know them. For some consumers in tight-knit communities, that expectation is quite literal – that frontline staff recognizes their faces and perhaps even knows their families. Far more often, they expect their institution to know details that make serving them more seamless, such as their banking preferences, basic information about them and past purchases.

For this reason, well-implemented Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) should form the backbone of building customer relationships. Used effectively, banks can understand, engage and manage interactions with current and potential customers with greater success.

However, with so much data available, the features and functionality of CRM can feel overwhelming to newcomers. Below are some tips to unravel the intricacies of CRM solutions and leverage this technology to its fullest potential.

For a more holistic view of core banking technology, refer to our Definitive Guide.

Unlocking the Value of CRM

Across industries, a well-implemented CRM solution is a game-changer for customer service. When a customer or prospect calls with an issue or question, it should be second nature for a service representative to record relevant notes and attributes that help create a holistic profile. This practice equips customer service reps with a documented view of customer journeys, paving the way for turning prospects into customers and customers into advocates.

Bank tellers and employees can use CRM solutions to build customer profiles with data like contact information, employment, credit scores, products used, marketing preferences and interaction records. Regular documentation throughout their lifecycle helps eliminate data loss, redundant efforts and information silos. It also opens the door to building personal connections, cross-sales and a better customer experience that saves everyone time. If the CRM is fully integrated or automated, those details can immediately carry over to the core.

Effective CRM should link sales, marketing, operations, branch, digital and call center interactions for a holistic customer view. From there, one can schedule appointments, send notifications, release targeted emails or marketing campaigns and more. These qualities are now table stakes, regardless of whether the solution is bundled with a core or integrated from a third party.

Bankers regularly use CRM to record and analyze interactions and add preferred communication methods and essential notes. Most banks use these tools to set up appointments and send email blasts. However, some features often go underutilized or overlooked. We explore them below.

Well-implemented CRM should form the backbone of modern customer relationships.

Customize CRM According to Business Needs

Flexibility and scalability are vital considerations in CRM selection, as institutions adapt to future changes in technology, regulations and customer expectations. As a result, the first step to getting the most out of a CRM solution is tailoring it to specific needs as much as possible.

Banks can tailor their CRM systems by identifying their unique requirements, whether it be enhancing customer engagement, streamlining internal processes or gaining a comprehensive view of customer interactions. If not already integrated, customization may involve integrating the CRM with existing banking systems, such as core banking and transaction processing platforms, to ensure seamless data flow.

Establishing workflows is another common customization approach that happens early in implementation. Automated workflows could include auto-generated reminders for salespeople in charge of an account or automatic notifications about status changes or issues directed to relevant support staff. Personalization features can also cater to individual customer preferences, creating a more personalized and satisfying banking experience (more on that later).

Enter More Customer Data Than Contact Information

One may be able to include such details as customer sentiment scores, social media links, shared interests and affiliated organizations. These pieces of data may seem miniscule or even irrelevant at first glance. Still, they can give one a serious leg up when getting to know customers and developing genuine relationships.

Having things to talk about in common could improve the customer service experience for both parties. Customer sentiment scores can also help one’s approach and let bankers know when a customer needs more assistance. Beyond this, one may note whether a particular resource or educational material may benefit them, for instance, financial literacy or taking out a loan. Changes to contact information could also signal potential opportunities. For example, a change of last name paired with increased savings might suggest that a customer will be interested in taking out a mortgage soon.

Knowing a customer’s social media preferences can help an institution with targeted marketing campaigns on those same platforms or at least build a business case for an institution having a presence there. Likewise, some customers prefer emails, some prefer the phone, and others prefer to be left alone aside from essential updates and what they find on their digital banking app. Marketers should incorporate all these considerations into their overall strategy.

Make Full Use of Relationship Management Throughout the Lifecycle

Relationship management is a pivotal tool throughout the customer lifecycle, enabling the recording and tracking of customer inquiries, complaint resolution and real-time notifications. This functionality empowers banks to categorize contacts, convert prospects into customers and establish links between customers to provide a comprehensive view of their relationships within the bank.

In addition to streamlining onboarding, some systems incorporate lead probability indicators to aid sales teams in predicting customer behavior. Simultaneously, capturing relational data, such as social media links and interests, can prove invaluable for effective marketing and cross-sale endeavors. CRM tools also often include an assessment of an overall nurture period, assisting bank staff in determining the optimal timeframe for engaging with customers and prospects.

During the onboarding phase, setting notifications is also deeply valuable. For instance, opening a specific type of account may trigger a task through the CRM system, suggesting the banker to follow up appropriately. These notifications extend their utility into ongoing service and marketing efforts, prompting alerts like bank-defined check-ins with customers to assess their well-being and explore additional ways the bank can help.

Knowing your customer gives bankers a serious boost to forging genuine relationships.

Streamline Operations with Case Management and Workflows

Case management and workflow modules are instrumental in recording and tracking customer inquiries or resolving complaints. Success stories abound, showcasing innovative applications of these modules.

Case management can handle both customer-facing solutions and internal processes or requests. Banks can utilize workflows to ensure a bank’s procedural processes have been followed and track progress for process improvement. For example, an institution may consider using case management to carry out established procedures for power of attorney documentation.

Some banks find atypical ways to implement CRM workflows in areas like loan operations. Some have even streamlined the loan process by incorporating notifications for customers like a tickler, reducing exceptions and increasing efficiency. Assigning multi-step functions and setting up real-time notifications ensures adherence to bank policies and timely resolution of issues.

Another workflow customization is routing to the right banker for follow-up. Let’s say a customer has been working with a staff member and knows them, or a call center representative wants to escalate an issue to a particular staff member. In either instance, they could include notes, attach documents and pass that request along for resolution on the customer’s core profile.

Manage Dynamic Marketing Campaigns

Campaign management within a CRM system enables one to plan, execute and analyze marketing initiatives strategically. Targeted lists, diverse delivery methods and performance monitoring make this module a powerhouse for marketing initiatives. By leveraging this feature effectively, a bank can enhance its customer engagement, drive targeted communication and ultimately boost its bottom line.

To begin, banks can utilize campaign management to segment their customer base using criteria like demographics, transaction history and communication preferences. Segmentation of customer lists by career, region or other qualifier allows for tailoring marketing campaigns that resonate. So, segmentation is essential, whether promoting a particular type of loan (for instance, Ag or CRE) or communicating an exciting community event.

Typically, CRM solutions give an institution the autonomy to customize campaigns, including images and logos. Many banks take a more minimalist approach in their marketing campaigns so that expanded conversations and relationship-building interactions take place in a branch setting.

In addition to monitoring performance, CRM-driven campaign management facilitates personalized customer communication. Banks can automate communication workflows, sending customized messages, offers and updates based on customer interactions and behaviors. This level of personalization enhances customer satisfaction, fosters loyalty and positions the bank as a trusted financial partner.

Capitalize on Opportunities with Sales and Referral Tracking

Aligning marketing efforts with revenue generation, sales and referral tracking enables banks to connect opportunities and referrals directly to the appropriate staff. Tracking and managing activities through the sales pipeline provides valuable insight for decision-making. This module ensures that the right individual or group responds to referrals, maximizing revenue and customer loyalty.

The caveat is that effecitive use requires diligent recording. One advantage of a bank CRM is that it can simplify making product offers based on customer demographics, existing products used and other circumstances. If a customer is qualified as a lead on a particular product or service, bankers can quickly examine that customer’s profile and make beneficial product recommendations.

When a banker receives a referral, that information can be recorded within the core platform, coupled with notifications that help ensure that the banker always sees every sales opportunity. The proper individual banker or group can respond to a referral or open an opportunity for revenue generation, creating customer stickiness and growing wallet share. Better still, with sufficient note-taking all prospect information can become customer information the moment they convert.

Leverage the Power of Data Analytics

In addition to qualitative data, CRM offers a wide variety of quantitative data to add to a bank’s data analytics strategy. For instance, banks can measure the success of campaigns through key metrics like conversion rates, customer response and overall return on investment. This allows for refinement and informs future marketing strategies.

Sales analytics and reporting dashboards display which goals the institution is meeting while sales forecasting based on current performance can be helpful from a strategic standpoint. CRM can also predict when a customer is about to switch to a different bank using a combination of data points.

In practice, CRM reporting tracks customer engagement, account information and many other data points to better understand a customer’s financial health. If data trends show signs of disengagement, such as fewer transactions, the customer may be conducting financial activities elsewhere. By monitoring these shifts, the retention team will have sufficient time to reach out to the customer and provide them with better, more alluring options.

CRM can utilize existing core data from many areas within a financial institution or from file data fed from a third party. Although CRM is a tremendous tool on its own, it has been and will foreseeably be enhanced in the future, either through existing or proposed integrations with other technologies.

Pairing CRM data with other analytics metrics are essential for strategic investments.

Stay Ahead with Continuous Learning

Learning with CRM is no different than any other process or procedure. Everyone favors a unique approach. Nevertheless, investing in continuous learning and onboarding for CRM software is always worthwhile, whether through hands on training or e-learning. It can also be helpful for banks to engage with their technology provider for additional training and look out for any updates or resources they provide.

Whatever the strategy, witnessing the functionality and capabilities firsthand, either in person or via video chat, is crucial for maximizing the benefits of CRM. Since there can often be overlooked features, many banks also choose to have a dedicated “CRM guru” who offers insight into the tips and tricks they’ve learned at the institution.

Implementing Effective Customer Relationship Management

The successful implementation of a CRM has significant potential to propel customer relationship endeavors to the next level. In the foreseeable future, CRM will continue to play a central role in marketing, performance assessment and customer service.

Those who can dig into the many features and functionalities and find innovative ways to use them stand a better chance of enhancing their overall performance and differentiating themselves from competitors.

For an overview of how CRM fits into a core banking technology investment, don’t miss our Definitive Guide to a Modern Core Banking Solution.


Angel Vega is a strategic product manager at CSI.

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