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The Banking Tech Stack for 2021: The Next-Gen CRM

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If we ask people about their first association with banks, the majority will think about complex and highly regulated institutions—an image that is hard to connect with the now happening digital-first revolution. Meanwhile, we know we can order a new credit card through a mobile app and engage in a witty exchange with our bank on Twitter. So, are these previously traditional and heavy-footed institutions just accelerating their digitization?

With customers switching banks in the pursuit of better experience, banks face the reality where besides implementing a mobile app and creating social media accounts, they need to direct their digitization efforts towards yet another overarching trend—customer centricity. They need to understand who their customers are, meet them where they are, and personalize their journeys.

Good news is, such a tool as a Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) can serve not only your bank’s needs but help it put customer experience at the center of all activities. Today it goes even further, as customers’ growing expectations make banks recalibrate their tech stack and adopt a banking CRM—a next-gen tool tailored to their industry. It can cover the entire customer journey cycle and create exactly those conditions.

Consistent Omnichannel Experiences

Customers can have multiple touchpoints with their banks, both digital and physical, from visiting branches and requesting services online to seeing ads and communicating with chatbots. As a rule, they treat all their experiences as one connected journey and expect consistency wherever they feel it convenient to communicate. Meanwhile, bankers who operate outside the context can treat each encounter with the same customer as an isolated experience, which usually involves asking the same questions, offering irrelevant services or those the customer already has, etc. Such situations intensify customers’ frustration, make them unwilling to share personal data in exchange for nothing, and discourage them from building strong relationships with such an institution.

A banking CRM can become a hub where all those isolated touchpoints and banking processes can be connected, which makes it easier to register all customer engagements and activities and add new insights to customer profiles. What’s more, the CRM platform creates perfect conditions for connecting functional and process-specific silos and encouraging data sharing between branches, call/service centers, and operations.

As a result, each banking employee from any branch, be it a teller or a loan officer, can have access to the unified customer view and up-to-date information, like seeing that his or her colleague from another branch has already sold a certain service or offered a new package and the customer said a plain ‘no’ or asked for details and promised to think about it. Additionally, the accumulated and unified customer data can be used in an array of activities, like training chatbots to let them engage in more relevant conversations or orchestrating customer journeys throughout a banking service lifecycle.

A tailored and empathetic approach

In addition to relevant offers and fast service, customers crave building relationships with their banks, viewing it as an imperative for their loyalty and trust; and they have no problem switching their banks for those with a more personalized service.

Banking CRMs make sure bankers have everything about customers at their fingertips and can source the most important insights at will, like financial objectives, preferred channels, existing accounts, or household details, which helps them shape communication around the customer in real time. As a result, bankers are able to discuss products and services from the point of view of the customer’s needs rather than of the offer’s general value. It makes customers feel that they talk not just to a banking representative but to a person who cares about their well-being.

What’s more, CRMs also help identify customers who are about to switch banks and provide bankers with the instruments to engage such customers proactively to find out the reasons behind their doubts and try to solve the problem.

Efficient customer support and self-service

Customer service channels are important touchpoints that influence the overall image of a bank brand, and this is where customers expect a caring attitude most. It means that customer service should become a part of a connected experience based on the CRM platform. It will allow support agents to have access to customer data, solve issues from one centralized place without toggling between different systems, and streamline a number of processes, like data entry, case routing, and more.

As a result, agents will be able to act within the context of customers’ banking activities, utilized services, and personal details that can influence the tone and offered options and, of course, eliminate repeated questions.

Using customer data analytics within a CRM, it’s possible to accumulate the most frequent requests and delegate such issues to a chatbot or cover them with a self-help knowledge base in a mobile app, which will save customers from waiting on hold but solve their problems fast, anytime, and in a secure way, authenticating them via biometrics-based technologies. It meets the customers’ growing need to address their problems on their own prior to contacting a bank representative.

Financial literacy and education

To nurture trust even further, banks can foster customers’ financial awareness and help them make smart data-driven decisions on their own. This way, customers will find it easier to understand short- and long-term consequences of their actions and can communicate with bank representatives as partners, without the feeling of being tricked into an unprofitable scheme.

This can be done through a mix of consulting and educational methods. First of all, banks can provide personal consultations once the customer is about to take out a mortgage or another big loan or when they experience financial hardships and are clueless how to act. It’s also possible to connect your banking CRM with a portal where customers can get self-help via a knowledge base, video tutorials, and the community of fellow customers or enroll into a virtual situation-based onboarding. Banks can even partner with local schools to run seminars or include financial literacy into the curriculum.

It’s a good idea to use social media channels where it’s possible to share engaging content regarding financial wellness strategies and positive financial behavior in different scenarios, like building a house, having a baby, planning for retirement, living through the pandemic, etc. You can also accompany your sales offers pushed via ads or mobile apps with short how-to or why-to videos to let customers reflect whether they need it instead of immediately clicking the close button.

Final thoughts

Living in the interesting times of an experience economy and customer centricity peppered with global disruptions, banks have to learn how to care about their customers, improve customers’ well-being, and raise financial awareness. Otherwise, they risk losing those potential customers who might have had a negative experience at one of the touchpoints as well as those customers who find it easy to switch banks because of all the accumulated frustration.

It means that banks should implement different technological instruments, including banking CRMs, to accompany customers along the entire journey, gathering data and strengthening loyalty.

About the author


Roman Davydov

Roman Davydov is a Technology Observer at Itransition. With over four years of experience in the IT industry, Roman follows and analyzes digital transformation trends to guide businesses in making informed software buying choices.