For many, an equally frustrating memory is of the remnants of the first attempts at CRM years ago that resulted in the equivalent of an electronic paperweight. How is it possible that an exciting idea with unanimous support year after year never materializes?
According to CEOs of community-based financial institutions surveyed for Cornerstone’s What’s Going On in Banking 2018 report, 61% of FIs of plan to add, replace or improve CRM capabilities. That number might look familiar because it’s the exact same as in our 2017 study. The investment into CRM has been easy to pass over year after year because there are easier problems to address with much less risk at a fraction of the price tag. But ever-increasing customer experience expectations are forcing the hands of financial institutions – whether they have the organizational maturity or not.
Competing with the Big Banks
Meanwhile, the big banks have experienced tremendous success in recent years due to their massive investments in digital banking. These enhancements have virtually closed the customer satisfaction gap that used to represent a key competitive advantage for community and regional banks.
To be blunt, the diminished gap in satisfaction should be downright terrifying for mid-size and regional banks. The planned system investments for 2018 according What’s Going On in Banking are intended to keep smaller players competitive.
While the focus on account opening and digital banking in particular is absolutely warranted, the sad truth is that big banks will always be ahead of the curve. CRM is arguably the only platform on the list that enables enough configurable creativity to offer any hope of differentiated experience.
Exploring the CRM Graveyard
Looking back on a slew of unsuccessful CRM attempts, I commonly find some combination of the same problems:
Why are these problems so persistent? My conversations consistently come back to gaps at the earliest stages of planning. It’s common for a team to jump directly into selecting a system – or just calling the first Salesforce number they can find – without establishing effective (albeit boring) CRM goals, core capabilities based on use cases, or a thoughtful timeline. The development of core capabilities is an especially critical step that is too often left in the hands of external implementation partners. In hindsight, it seems obvious: who would build a downtown skyscraper without providing the construction crew with a blueprint?
A Boring Approach Leads to Exciting Success
The relatively simple solution of hosting a CRM planning session may sound boring, but if it works, who freakin’ cares? The agenda should be focused on accomplishing three tasks:
The broad internal scope, meaningful customer impact, and huge costs of a CRM should easily warrant one day of executive discussion. With the help of a defined plan, post-session use case development and execution discipline, GonzoBankers will find themselves on the road to enjoying the industry’s long overdue CRM-style family vacation.