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Purpose-built CRM can provide banks instant CX value

Banking institutions have never had much time to customize generic platforms, and in today’s competitive environment, they have even less.


Banking institutions are wise to make improved customer experience a top priority. A mere 2% increase in customer retention delivers the same financial benefit as a 10% cost reduction and acquiring new customers can cost five times more than retaining existing ones. Leadership teams are realizing that those who improve CX first have a significant head start and will continue to benefit.

While time-to-return on customer relationship management platforms has been emphasized by banking’s CX push, it has always been a pain point for financial institutions. Even five years ago, the latest and greatest CRM and engagement platforms were “raw” or “customer-builder” platforms – they provided the already coded infrastructure within the software for users to customize their customer relationship management.

The key phrase here is “customer-builder.” Generic CRMs are made for any company to use; they enable customization. But to use them, banks and credit unions must first customize them to banking, and then further customize them to their specific institution.

As anyone who’s launched a generic CRM can tell you, customization has downsides that can impede achieving the desired results. Improving CX takes years of successful planning, defining and building in a generic platform. If you encounter software idiosyncrasies that disrupt your progress, it’s your job to fix the problem or pay a consultant to customize around the roadblock.

Institutions have never had time for extra platform customization, and today, they have even less. This has created an opportunity for new CRM-engagement platforms that take aim at the time-to-return pain point by making technology that is purpose-built for banking.

Most financial institutions have two big challenges when upgrading CX with tech. First is the practicality of building out a platform. Second, and perhaps more daunting, is figuring out the specifics of what they want to do with their platform. Generic platforms don’t solve either problem, but purpose-built platforms can address bank and credit union challenges when it comes to customizing to retail banking.

What is the baseline for CX in retail banking? What best practices have other banks and credit unions discovered? Platforms that focus on banking learn from the marketing directors and leaders of retail banking, along with experience officers and digital officers. This learning isn’t about sharing proprietary strategies; it’s about retaining functionality from all banks and credit unions that upgrade CX.

Similar to a trail where many feet have beaten down a path, purpose-built technology retains a general memory of how a banking organization has used it. It does not share the specific steps taken by each individual user, but it does remember where many have gone.

This allow banking marketers to focus on defining unique experiences for onboarding or loan retention, rather than on reinventing the wheel. They also can focus on strategic initiatives that set the marketing and retail banking departments up for success, especially as these initiatives support growth and revenue goals of the overall institution.


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Defining when a banker engages a new depositor is a good example of a unique flourish in customer experience. As a depositor works through onboarding, the institution can decide if the end goal of the onboarding journey is a meeting with retail bankers or fully self-service unless the depositor’s progress stalls. Depending on the product and on the service culture of the institution, banking organizations are set up to reach their desired version of member or customer experience.

Competition puts a finer point on the need for industry-tailored tech. Your institution can’t be stuck defining the basics of your business while your competitor offers a sophisticated CX. If a bank notices new competition for consumer loans, for example, CX customization is a dial it can turn to win loans—thus mitigating competitive pressures on rates.

When it comes to choosing CRM and engagement platforms, financial institutions have two options: an engine ready to run or a set of engine parts requiring assembly. While starting with just parts has its appeal—you can build the platform out as you go—it requires significant cost and time, which raises the risk that you’ll fail to reach your desired ROI.

Most institutions that set out to improve customer experience need both a playbook for great CX and the right technology. Without a vision for what CX should look like, there is no schematic for assembling a custom engine. A purpose-built platform for retail banking can get you farther down the road than a pile of parts.

Rebecca Martin is chief marketing officer at Total Expert.