Successful CRM For Financial Services

By Geoffrey James

To deploy successful CRM strategies, financial institutions must clearly define their objectives for the solution, according to “Financial Services: Is It Finally Profitable?” a report published by IDC.

The financial services industry has invested continuously in CRM solutions, but the profitability of those investments has not always been positive. In the past, many CRM projects failed because of problems with the size and scope of the investment; others failed because of specific applications and business transformation decisions. Financial institutions often invested in CRM with the aim of increasing the quality of customer service, but ignored the question of how effective those customer interactions were in practice.

Recently, however, CRM applications in the financial services industry have evolved from providing useful marketing tools to a means for effectively managing organizational processes within a financial institution. This shift has made CRM more significant to the financial institution’s success.

Here are some guidelines for financial institutions wanting to make a successful CRM investment:

  • Avoid viewing a CRM investment as a simple way to increase the number of customers handled.
  • Remember that tools and training emphasize speed instead of the quality of the interaction. Yet it is the quality of the interaction that can increase cross-selling opportunities, so be careful that training to improve customer interactions remains a priority.
  • Motivate employees who can effectively use the CRM solution to address customers’ real-time needs.
  • Consider that call centers are becoming increasingly important contact points and that their function goes far beyond simply answering customer queries.

IDC identifies the following key steps for financial institutions seeking to implement a successful CRM strategy:

  • Because CRM means different things to different people, provide employees with a common direction so they are able to drive the customer relationship strategy.
  • After building a culture able to sustain business and technological changes, clarify the purpose of the CRM solution. In particular, split high-level aims into detailed, relevant and concrete goals.
  • Perform detailed measurements and continual reviews to analyze facts and implement changes before extending the CRM system.