The Necessity for Transformation in Customer Data Management

In the 21st year of the 21st century, consumers expect financial institutions to deliver instant, detailed answers about their accounts. Banks and credit unions that can't provide such service need to overhaul their operations for a better customer experience.

“Change is the only constant in life.” Although these words from Heraclitus are over 2,500 years old, they still ring true. 2020 set fire to the curtain of “precedented times” and emphasized the importance of adaptability.

For years, financial institutions have been dragging their feet when it comes to embracing technological innovation. This is understandable, what with the potential challenges associated with migrating data or tying yet another solution into the precarious web of systems teetering on the balance.

If nothing else, 2020 served as a catalyst for change. Work as we know it changed, human interactions changed and the way financial institutions transacted was quickly forced to change — like it or not. (Many did embrace the challenge, quickly learning and deploying new technologies to keep things running.)

The “new normal” is here to stay. While we’re still determining what that’s going to look like, one thing is clear: Digital transformation is no longer a “nice to have,” but a mandate for staying in business.

But you don’t have to “go it alone.”

Our calling at CRMNEXT is to help transform how your financial institution operates with one platform to simplify work, drive growth and improve both employee and customer experiences across every corner of the business. We partner with you every step of the way, working with your current core to modify your operational model and workflows — allowing for adjustments as business and consumer needs evolve.

Welcome to 2021 — The Year of Transformation.

Transforming Technology

Is it time for a technology tune-up?

Reflecting back to March 2020, when financial institutions became remote nearly overnight, how did your organization fare? Were workflows or information sharing disrupted? And back to the present, have you regained efficiencies or is additional development planned for 2021?

In a 2020 Deloitte study, nearly four in five respondents agreed that COVID-19 has uncovered shortcomings in their institution’s digital capabilities.

Wherever you’re at, it’s important to remember:

  • You’re not alone in working through these challenges.
  • It’s not too late to get started now and leapfrog over competitors.

As the banking CRM, we often hear stories about employees becoming complacent and accepting disjointed, manual workflows as part of the job. It doesn’t have to be this way. Seriously.

It’s time for a quick self-evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for digital transformation in 2021.

Have you or somebody you know ever:

  • Forgotten to stop ACH drafts after the death of a member or customer?
  • Missed a field while setting up a complicated business account and had to call all the signers back in?
  • Accidentally changed the Social Security number on an account and found out through an audit?
  • Been fined or cited for redlining (even accidentally)?
  • Had a customer visit a branch to ask about the status of their loan application — and the branch couldn’t provide an answer?

It’s the 21st year of the 21st century — time to act like it!

With automated workflows connecting every part of your business, CRMNEXT can help reduce the mental load on employees trying to remember the minutia of every process. Guardrails are built-in to ensure documentation is complete and nothing is overlooked or unaccounted for.

Having efficient and effective information sharing raises employee satisfaction and improves customer experience.

Transforming Experiences

Much like their banks and credit unions, historically people hesitated to adopt digital solutions for banking and needed a bit of a push.

A study by J.D. Power [PDF download] noted that through the pandemic, 44% of retail banking customers said they are using their primary financial institution’s mobile app more often.

Intuitively, you might assume that increased digital engagement would automatically translate to increased satisfaction. However, the data indicate the opposite — that overall customer satisfaction tends to decline as customers transition away from branches to digital-only relationships.

In a contactless world, what can be done?

Even with most interactions happening remotely, there are still ways to personalize experiences — adding a bit of the human side back into digital banking.

With an organization-wide platform such as CRMNEXT, all employees can have a 360 view of every customer with their product, communication, and case histories to answer questions anytime, anyplace.

In addition, machine learning can assist with next-best offers, specifically catered to an individual or customize communications for events like milestones, anniversaries and birthdays.

Financial institutions can also offer education aligned with people’s needs. Whether it’s credit, debt management or collections, this is a fantastic opportunity to treat consumers with kindness — building trust and value, while increasing retention and loyalty in the future.

Transforming Mindset

One thing is certain — the pandemic made way for a paradigm shift, leaving its mark on the world. For leaders of financial institutions, this evolution extends beyond the reaches of digital transformation alone. A fresh and open evaluation of organizational operations and values are warranted as well.

When looking toward 2021, Deloitte emphasized, “Societies around the world now expect banks to help address income inequality, racial and gender inequity, and climate change.”

The way forward is through sustainable finance and the expectation is that banking institutions will focus on economic activities that benefit society and the communities they serve.

A report from the World Economic Forum, in partnership with accounting’s “Big Four,” sets standards for measuring and reporting sustainable value creation. It emphasizes the growing importance of economic, environmental and social factors on long-term value creation.

The pillars from this report include:

  • Holding accountability and stewardship at the center of a principled government.
  • Protecting the planet through sustainable consumption and production.
  • Taking care of people by ending poverty and hunger, and ensuring human dignity and equality.
  • Ensuring all human beings can enjoy prosperity and fulfilling lives.

These are historically areas that financial institutions, and many industries, have shied away from out of concern of being “too political.” But the tables are turning and the risk of staying apolitical is growing.

Younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z in particular, are prioritizing their support for organizations that share their values — holding them accountable for having a point of view.

Taking a stance will create trust and customer loyalty long term, as the importance of transparency in societal change continues to grow.

Tying It All Together

We really weren’t kidding about 2021 being The Year of Transformation.

Gone are the days of sitting back, relaxing and settling for the status quo of “good enough.”

As technology continues to advance, expectations for employee and customer experience rise along with it.

With information more accessible than it ever was before, customers will do their research and stay informed on topics and issues that are important to them before making decisions on who to give their business to.

Change can be intimidating when you don’t even know where to start.

Let CRMNEXT help. Get a bite-size demo today.

Author’s Note
Victoria Weber is a manager of marketing enablement at CRMNEXT, a leading CRM solution for financial institutions.

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