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Strategic Planning for Banks: CRM & Customer Experience

By Pam Hannett 06.15.15

It’s that time again…strategic business plans and budgets for the next fiscal year are plaguing your day to day. Meetings, meetings and more meetings to discuss these plans and budgets occur daily. The proposed projects to include are voted on, prioritized and added to the plan. The questions that float about the boardroom, do we take on an internal intranet project? Instant issue debit cards? Or is it a customer relationship management project? All of these projects and more, have significant importance to the organization and each has a level of impact to the bottom line.

Prioritization of projects is mandatory for successful outcomes. The team should be hyper aware that not all of the projects on the plan are expected to be completed but they will be accomplished in the order of priority to the institution at a pace that will ensure successful outcomes. When setting project priority, it is clear that customer experience must be be weighed heavily and moved to the top of the list.

Recently, I asked the burning question to a community bank, “How many enterprise wide projects are on your strategic plan for this fiscal year?” and the executive paused, smiled and said…”In the plan? well, 127.” Of course, my next question for that management team would have been “how many do you think you will be able to complete?”  Even the most effective management team would be hard pressed to accomplish 127 projects in one year. That undertaking would look similar to moving the Titanic in a small pond.

This is a familiar scenario for banks and credit unions…we, as bankers, are well known for taking on too many projects, without enough bandwidth to properly lead them, a lack of resources to support them and without a roadmap to follow. Starting a fiscal year in a position of defeat does not translate to successful outcomes.

More and more banks are finding themselves considering the impact that Customer Relationship Management can have on their institution and have been moving the priority of these projects to the top of the list. They have become increasingly aware that it no longer matters what products they sell, but how the customer feels about their interaction with them, and whom they tell about it. This reinforces the importance of knowing your customer and the relationship that they have with your institution.

For that reason and many more, a CRM project should be your priority for the upcoming fiscal year. Before you move forward, it is important to review the following:

  • What interactions with your customers and prospects are important to the organization?
  • How would your institution define a 360 degree view of a customer’s relationship?
  • How does the organization currently cross sell to customers?
  • How are referrals made from one business line to another?
  • What does pipeline management mean to each business line and how do they report it?
  • What is the average time to close a commercial loan? consumer loan? investment account? checking account?
  • How do you measure employee sales performance?

This is just a brief list of questions to provide a framework for discussions that will ensue once your project team has been formed and the vendor selection process has begun. It is extremely important for your team to be able to articulate the current process or lack there of, the pitfalls of these processes that can be resolved with the use of a new CRM application and what metrics will provide the institution insight into the successes from implementation and ultimately, the return on the investment of the system.

The meetings have ended, budget has been allocated, the strategic plan has been completed and CRM is at the top of your list of projects. Where do you begin?

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