A well-planned CRM strategy will increase any company’s likelihood of success in meeting marketing, sales and customer experience objectives. However, if you’re a financial services firm, here are a few special considerations to take into account when implementing a CRM. Today, in the banking and financial services industry, the customer is empowered with choice. Brand loyalty is rare and likely linked to a mortgage, loan or some other contractual obligation. It’s common for many customers to maintain financial services relationships with more than one bank or financial service company. Financial services, like other business sectors, must consider performance enhancement initiatives that drive customer retention and lead conversion to their brand and services. Performance is fueled by relevant and accessible information that can be quickly acted upon from systems that provide and support excellent customer service with the ability to track, measure and analyze customer interactions. This describes what CRM systems are today. Benefits of CRM for Banking A CRM system is a sound business strategy for banks to help create brand value and identify and understand their customers’ needs by providing targeted, timely and relevant information that can add value to their customers. CRM systems provide tools that can segment, and deliver the right service, at the right time, by acting on dynamic customer information. This allows the ability to track and build strong relationships with profitable customers and identify specific products and services that can benefit customers. Outcomes of all activities can be tracked and measured; CRM dashboards acting as business decision support systems are the perfect place to present measurements and outcomes. The Challenges CRM Solves In a recent CRM project with a financial services company, a CRM was implemented as the front end to their information systems. Like many major financial services firms, this company has unique and separate lines of business that complement each other, and allows the company to provide their customers with a full range of financial and related services. In this situation, CRM information acts as the master record with other integrated information systems being used to process data and provide relevant and timely information to the CRM system for customer facing activities such as marketing, sales and customer support. There are 3 challenges that a CRM can help banks and financial services companies solve: Evolving Customer Profiles – customers are not loyal to specific banks and their circumstances are dynamic Connecting the Dots – customer profiles, customer service and marketing initiatives can be combined to identify opportunities and drive up conversion rates Responding Appropriately – create, assign and track action items, measure outcomes The following are examples of how CRM capabilities help banks and financial service companies provide excellent customer value, retention, as well as prospect/lead management and conversion. Challenge 1: Evolving Customer Profiles With a CRM, new lead records can be automated, sorted and assigned for further action by employees and resources. Strategies and processes for managing web landing pages and site visitors can be easily implemented. The CRM can also score, track, update customer profiles and generate new lead records for further action by bank staff or other CRM processes and modules. Challenge 2: Connecting the Dots CRM-based customer service modules can provide traditional customer service capabilities that are further enhanced by providing a complete picture of all customer interactions. The creation and management of individualized or service-all marketing initiatives and pricing strategies are also streamlined and organized. Most CRM systems also include social media listening tools that allow you to track and respond to social media sentiment in real-time. Challenge 3: Responding Appropriately Dealing and troubleshooting customer problems is a high priority for any service industry. A CRM can help by providing timely and discretionary decision support information for management, front line staff and other resources. By providing enhanced levels of customer service, new opportunities for conversions can be realized. A CRM is a great enterprise tool for addressing these 3 customer-centered challenges that financial institutions face. When implementing a CRM system at financial services firms, there are also two common challenges that need to be addressed: security requirements and integration with other banking systems. Security Considerations for Banks Information security and access control is critical for the banking and financial sectors, who, in some cases, also have enhanced sensitivity to geographic location of information in some cases. Some CRM systems are cloud-based only, which may create issues with data storage locations. Other options such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, offers the choice of on premise, hosted (also known as “private cloud”), or hybrid solutions. See my past blog Microsoft CRM: 5 Benefits of Going Online vs. On-Premise for more on this. Modern CRM systems provide very granular role-based security and access control. Many CRM’s, Microsoft for example, can be aligned to the Active Directory providing convenient and user friendly single sign-on. CRM security role(s) and field level security control access and abilities can also be set in the CRM system. Integration With Other Banking Systems Integrating a CRM with other banking systems is a complex task. Luckily, this is fully supported by a variety of robust and mature tools that provide standardized tools and methodologies. Scribe Software is very CRM aware and provides the platform and tools to build custom, embedded integration experiences for SaaS, cloud, premise or hybrid scenarios. Scribe provides native support for a variety of CRM products such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ExactTarget, Marketo, SilverPop, Oracle and SAP. Today, CRM’s are quickly becoming the hub of customer data focusing on the dynamic customer profile, enhanced marketing, integration capabilities, and measurement. Banks and financial service companies can increase customer engagement and conversions from a well-aligned CRM system. To learn more about how a CRM can improve your financial institution’s bottom line and convert more customers, contact me at email@example.com.