Brian Stone
Brian Stone Mar 23, 2018

Cross-selling, without crossing the line: The powerful value proposition for smart, compliant banks

Cross-selling does not have to imply bankers conducting surreptitious behavior with their customers’ financial accounts. In fact, knowledgeable, timely outreach to consumers and small businesses—backed with intelligent insights and sound financial recommendations—can have a significant, measurable impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty and on the improvement of customers’ financial lives.

This article cites a Barlow Research Associates Flash Panel of 132 small business owners of companies with annual revenue from $100,000 to roughly $10 million.  Anonymous respondent quotes are included below.

The primary takeaway is this: Providing your bankers with a single view of the customer with timely events and insights for next best conversations delivers a powerful return on investment. This comes through:

  • higher share of wallet
  • greater loyalty
  • increased referrals

Voice of the customer research: Answers about solutions

Voice of the customer research illustrates the positive impact that proactive, intelligent and relevant outreach has on customer loyalty, Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and subsequent purchase decisions.

A banker’s understanding of a customer’s banking relationship is critical. In our recent panel of small business decision-makers, more than 90 percent agree that their bank representative should know the specifics of their bank relationship. However, only 39 percent feel that their bank is superior at delivering this experience.

“The more my primary contact knows about my business, the more I feel my bank would be in a supportive and guidance role to help me make better decisions. I would be very much more likely to use their products and services exclusively.”

More than 80 percent of panelists agree that they want their primary banker to proactively offer solutions and insights; 86 percent agree that a banker who understands their relationship and contacts them with timely meaningful, recommendations would increase their confidence in that bank.

“If my primary banker showed he/she knows my business well enough to tailor solutions specific to my business, it would dramatically influence our decisions to maintain a relationship with the bank.”

Noticing atypical activity or trigger events such as unexpected fees or large deposits or withdrawals—and reaching out for a conversation with recommended solutions—can have a powerful effect on a customer’s banking decisions.

“Having a strong relationship with your bank gives you that extra security of knowing they are watching if something unusual happens, and if they can make suggestions for avoiding fees or taking advantage of offers, all the better. It makes you feel they are working for you.”

“It is extremely important that my banker anticipates and addresses my banking needs. Sometimes he has come up with ideas that I have not considered and those ideas have blossomed into new ventures.”

And more than three in four (just above 75 percent) agree that their bank’s understanding of their entire relationship (and again reaching out, in this instance with timely recommendations) would lead to the purchase of other products and services from that bank.

“If my primary bank reached out to me about programs or accounts that may benefit my business, it would show they are proactive and care about our account. I would definitely do all business if possible through them and refer others because of the service.“

Banker’s understanding of their customers and insightful, timely outreach can lead to referrals to other businesses.

A bank’s best practices, made perfect

What constitutes the best practices to ensure a successful, compliant and cost-effective cross-selling initiative?

Here are five key components for success regional and community banks and credit unions should consider:

  1. Easy Access to Data: Utilize routine data from your bank’s core systems, data warehouse and/or other customer or marketing systems. Mask or hash any personally identifiable information (PII) data. Time-consuming, expensive systems integration is not needed.
  2. Banking-specific data model: Leverage a banking party model, purpose built solely for banking data that includes financial accounts, household and professional relationships, credit data, assets and products serviced by third parties.
  3. Intuitive, simple user interface: Display the single view of a customer with a simple, responsive user experience. Make it easy for your bankers to scan a quick customer overview, key customer details and relationships, timely events, and intelligent customer insights. Ensure it is enabled for email, text and mobile.
  4. Next best conversations: Utilize machine learning to personalize next best actions and recommendations for each business or individual customer. Automatically learn from the results to continuously improve future recommendations.
  5. Actionable Reporting: Display the results of your banker outreach and customer expression of interest in a simple customer insights dashboard that helps managers coach their relationship bankers on how to best engage with their customers.

Your solutions need not be cost-prohibitive; work with a solutions provider that is most interested in your bank’s and your customers’ success, and not their own software sale.

Putting it all together: Bridge expectations with performance

It is important and strategic to invest in improvements in customer understanding and effective outreach. The gap in customer expectations versus current banker performance leaves under-performing banks vulnerable.

The key is to choose a banking-specific partner with a solution that can be deployed cost-effectively, in a timely manner and that is developed specifically for your needs and industry.

Customers and businesses are speaking out about the banking solutions they need—and clearly there is room for cross-sell that doesn’t cross the line. Banks and credit unions that listen properly and act accordingly, in fact, will cross over into a richer, deeper banking relationship.

Brian Stone is the co-founder and CEO of intelligent banking/customer relationship management solution provider BankSight Systems, Inc. Brian’s career spans 25 years developing, marketing and implementing industry-specific CRM and Analytics solutions for customer-centric industries.


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