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Enhance customer service through a CRM built for banks

Joseph Lowe
August 22, 2018
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When it comes to customer service, innovations in technology have changed the landscape. Banks and credit unions can engage with customers anywhere on any device across multiple platforms. This transition toward technology has redefined customer behavior and led to greater client expectations of superior customer experience – even in the lender-borrower relationship.

Despite this general transition, it’s important to remember that expected customer service is different for each borrower. Borrowers expect personalized service that fits their unique preferences, whether it’s as simple as favoring personal emails over phone calls. If prompt, personalized customer service isn’t provided or the borrower feels mistreated, it’s easy to research the competition down the road and switch banks. In fact, 68 percent of the time customer retention problems are caused by customers’ feelings of poor treatment according to a Salesforce report, and 70 percent of customers state technology has made it much easier to take their business elsewhere (often times with just a few extra clicks). businessmen-high-five

Relationship building through customer service is an important facet of any business, and as customers’ demand for a better experience grows, so does your bank’s necessity to meet those expectations. The good news for small financial institutions that might have a limited number of lenders and a growing loan portfolio is that technology is helping to meet these demands, just as it is driving increased borrower demands for better service. A customer relationship manager (CRM) built especially for community banks and credit unions is the ultimate tool to make sure lenders are organized and accountable while keeping borrowers engaged and satisfied.

A CRM personalizes the customer experience

A CRM can centralize information about each borrower in one simple platform, allowing for informed decisions about borrowers’ needs, interests and potential selling opportunities. For example, let’s say you’re working with a commercial borrower who was approved for a $200,000 loan to pay off his framing business. A CRM, in addition to showing this recent transaction, can also retain notes from lenders’ conversations about his plans to open a second shop. This additional information allows the bank’s marketing team to know it’s better to send this client the institution’s small business lending pamphlet rather than its newsletter on personal lending trends.

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Utilizing a CRM that pulls in information from the bank’s core allows strategic targeting of existing and potential relationships with specific materials to promote your financial institution’s expertise and knowledge of the customers’ needs. Customers who experience this will view your financial institution as a leader in the market and trust you with their own continued success. When a bank helps a business build a profitable venture, it boosts the business’s trust in the financial institution, and 95 percent of customers say they are more likely to be loyal to companies they trust, according to another Salesforce report.

Offer prompt customer service

One of the defining traits of superior customer service is speed, and technology used in our everyday, personal lives has increased the expectation of quick service among borrowers. According to Microsoft, a third of banking customers report that poor customer service is the primary reason they would leave their current bank, and over 80 percent said they could have been retained if their issue had been resolved on their first contact with the bank. A superior CRM can generate personalized, automatic responses based on specific actions or triggers. For example, if a business borrower fills out a request for information, the CRM can trigger an email response with information about who will respond, when and how that person can be reached. It can also generate a notification to the lender with a due date for prospect tracking so that the request doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Identify borrowers’ preferred communication

How many times have you emailed a borrower in reference to a loan and received no answer? How many newsletters have you sent that received a low open rate? While your communication methods might be executed well, it might just be the wrong communication method for your particular customer. A CRM provides a platform where all touchpoints are tracked, from emails to phone calls to in-person meetups, and this can help identify the preferred and most effective ways to reach prospects and customers. Today, the borrower expects to be more in control of his or her buyer journey. Furthermore, the excessive communication might be perceived as bothersome or rude. One-third of customers claim they receive rude customer service at least once per month, and 58 percent of them are likely to tell their friends about the experience. Borrowers can be contacted through numerous channels, but it’s important to remember everyone prefers a different form of communication, whether it’s by mobile phone, social media, web messaging or in-person meetings.  single-male-customer-service-representative

Gain positive recommendations

Today’s borrowers’ access to information can be an institution’s best or worst asset. More often than not, potential borrowers don’t skip out on doing their homework on banks they decide to partner with. According to Deloitte, 86 percent of consumers reported conducting online research before buying, which is why first impressions go a long way. Through social media and other online channels, borrowers can connect with potential customers on reviews or personal feeds to publicly state positive – or negative –  experiences. Customers who had their issues resolved often told four to six people about their positive experience, according to Salesforce. However, one bad experience that lands on a review might deter a potential borrower from partnering with a financial institution. A CRM secures long-term borrowers by allowing lenders to offer a superior customer experience, and that value is passed along through positive online reviews and word of mouth to potentially gain new business too.

Whether you’re nurturing a current borrower relationship or you’re starting a new relationship with a potential borrower, it’s essential to provide unrivaled customer service, and a CRM is a great tool to help you do that.

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About the Author

Joseph Lowe

Joseph Lowe is a Digital Marketing Manager at Abrigo.

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About Abrigo

Abrigo enables U.S. financial institutions to support their communities through technology that fights financial crime, grows loans and deposits, and optimizes risk. Abrigo's platform centralizes the institution's data, creates a digital user experience, ensures compliance, and delivers efficiency for scale and profitable growth.

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