Poor CRM spells lost revenue for banks, survey says

Canadian banks are losing revenue opportunities because of poor integrated channel capability, a recent Datamonitor report indicated.

In a survey of the world’s top 300 retail banks, UK-based market research firm Datamonitor found that banks are missing business opportunities because of inadequate CRM systems.

According to the report, all Canadian banks surveyed did not have integrated channels to cross-reference customer interactions across e-mail, the Web, or the phone system. This leaves the client feeling less like a customer, and more like an unknown entity so far as the bank is concerned, the report added.

“Integration of channels is imperative for banks to attract and retain customers,” the Datamonitor report said.

The report also found that nearly half of Canadian banks surveyed were either unwilling or unable to capture basic customer data during interactions, failing to leverage existing investments in CRM systems.

“The ability to gather such customer data and store it in appropriate systems of record provides core customer and prospect data that can be used for future marketing and sales endeavours,” the Datamonitor report said.

This data, the report added, should be accessible to all agents and channels within the bank for continuous and consistent interaction with the customer.

The Datamonitor survey was commissioned by Armonk, New York-based IBM Corp. and San Mateo, Calif.-based Siebel Systems Inc. It sought to evaluate the banks’ customer service effectiveness in areas such as product enquiries, capturing basic information for identification and follow-up, and visible integration of related communication channels.

Edsel Shreve, regional manager for Toronto-based Siebel Systems Canada Inc., said the Datamonitor report highlighted the retail banking sector’s inability to capture opportunities arising from customer management.

He explained that most banks have product-focused systems where different channels use specific technologies that are not interconnected.

“Banks are constantly challenged with finding ways to increase customer loyalty and penetration, to run more efficiently, grow revenue and remain profitable,” Shreve said.

The challenge, according to Shreve, is to have a consistent customer experience regardless of which channel is used especially when it comes to potential business opportunities.

For most banks, the biggest area of investment is changing the way they manage customers and refocusing their systems to recognize opportunities, with technology acting as enablers to help them meet their goals, Shreve said.

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