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The problem of fragmentation 

It’s a change that’s been taking place in the finance sector for some time, and it can’t be ignored: the physical branch is no longer exclusively at the centre of banking interactions and transactions. A proliferation of digital channels has provided customers with the ability to find information and complete tasks whenever and wherever they want, contributing to a decline of 30% in branch visits over the last three years according to industry association BBA.  

While the majority of financial institutions are responding to this trend by investing in the usability and usefulness of their digital touchpoints, joining these together remains a challenge.  

Creating a holistic and unified ecosystem is vital to gain a full picture of user behaviours, journeys and preferences - which in its turn is critical to establishing where improvements may need to be made to ensure a seamless experience. Armed with this information you can also deliver a much more targeted service, to positively impact customer satisfaction as well as business results.  

But how exactly you go about connecting the dots?  

Enter customer relationship management…

As financial institutions rely on a growing range of front- and back-end systems to run their operations effectively, solutions that enable data to be shared across the technology stack have become increasingly valuable. And when it comes to gaining a picture of your audience across your online and offline channels, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can provide the central information store you need.  

Integrating your digital experience platform with a best-of-breed CRM system enables details of online interactions - from users downloading product information to the activation of new accounts - to be collected automatically. This information joins data from other digital channels such as your email service provider as well as offline feedback from your sales team, account managers and customer service representatives to complete the picture. Then it’s time to reap the rewards...  

Smoothly does it

Digital technologies have given the customer ever greater control and power - so it’s vital that they are kept at the centre of your strategy. To support this, many organisations are focusing on the customer experience, which requires the consolidation of all platforms, channels and campaigns for success. CRM integration helps facilitate this, by revealing those key user journeys that may need to be reviewed and streamlined to enable users to complete their goals as quickly and easily as possible. You may even discover that communication tools you hadn’t prioritised are proving popular, and increase your efforts to optimise these.  

Keep it consistent  

The real power of CRM integration, though, lies in its ability to provide a detailed view of user activity and preferences at an individual level. With the latest user information from all your channels at your fingertips, you can be sure of a consistent experience at every turn.  

For example, your call center and branch staff will be able to see the product literature a customer’s downloaded or the emails they’ve received, and tailor the service they deliver accordingly - helping build closer, more personal relationships.  

And your marketing team don’t need to worry whether customers are self-serving their details directly into your website, or if the sales team is entering new contacts into the CRM, because an intelligent queuing system will pick this up and automatically protect against the duplication of records. This instantly minimises the risk of information being delivered to the same person twice (unless they specifically request it), saving you unnecessary effort while ensuring you don’t end up with confused and frustrated users.  

Targeting value  

If you want to take the idea of personalised service even further then you can, with the help of a sophisticated customer experience platform such as Sitecore. These platforms support the creation of rules that dynamically tailor the content presented to a user, based on analytical insight; and when your CRM system is integrated too these rules become even more accurate and all-encompassing. As a result, you can specify certain products, rates or even offers to be displayed according a number of factors such as:  

  • A user’s actions on and off your site  
  • Their portfolio of products  
  • The device they’re using  
  • When and where they’re interacting with you  

Such a targeted approach can greatly increase the power of any up-selling and cross-selling opportunities, without compromising relevance and value for your users. Personalisation can even occur in real-time to reflect on-going customer interactions. For example, if someone has been offered a special discount rate over the phone or in-store this information can be entered into the CRM there and then, triggering a customised email and landing page that reflects the deal. 

CRM power in practice 

At Box UK we have extensive experience working with clients in the financial services sector, from retail banks to lending platforms, and we’ve seen the benefits of CRM integration first-hand. 

Take long-term Box UK client Investec Asset Management for instance: by connecting their CRM system Salesforce with the self-service area of their site they gained an enhanced understanding of client behaviour along with improved customer service capabilities, and can now instantly react to preference updates and send relevant information as and when it’s required. 

We’re also helping leading Georgian financial institution TBC Bank introduce greater CRM capabilities into their retail internet banking platform as part of their award-winning multi-channel strategy, to enable targeted cross-selling opportunities that are tied to activity such as savings goals. 

(If you’re interested in learning more about our work with these organisations, then please take a look at our Investec Asset Management and TBC Bank case studies.) 

In summary 

There’s no denying that the increasing range of communication channels and money management tools available to banking customers has introduced challenges for financial institutions of all sizes and sectors. However, with these challenges come exciting opportunities - but only for those organisations properly equipped to manage a diverse technological ecosystem and numerous cross-channel customer journeys. Therefore, when you’re planning your digital strategy, make sure you carefully consider the role your CRM strategy will play, and get the greatest possible value out of your precious data assets. 

Want to find out more about how financial institutions can continue to thrive in the digital age? Download our guide to “Digital Transformation in Finance”, and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list for future notifications about relevant content.

About the author

Andy Franks

Andy Franks

Focused on helping clients transform their business services and customer experiences to differentiate from competitors, Andy uses a consultative approach in his work with senior client stakeholders to build valuable, long-term relationships. In his 17-year career, Andy has worked with top-tier brands including Land Rover, Kia, Volvo, The Royal Navy, Canon, Clarks, Orange, Vodafone, Go Compare, AXA, Principality Building Society, London Legacy Development Corporation and the National Trust.

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