Sunday, 1 November 2009

Don't Manage Me!


The nice young man across the table was trying to help my wife and I renew our mortgage.  He had access to all of the transactions we had done at the bank, whether online, through the call center or through the branch.  It was clear that he was using a well designed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package.   He had everything at his fingertips.  The problem is that CRM is no substitute for an actual relationship.

CRM started life as a Rolodex, a listing of the names and addresses of a salesperson's contacts.  Good salespeople knew they needed more than "tombstone" information about their customers, so they started taking notes on their customers.  When computers systems to replace Rolodex cards were created, they were called Contact Management systems.  Later on, it became clear that the sales team could benefit from knowing all of the ways customers interact with the company and Contact Management software morphed into CRM.  The problem is, CRM was built to support existing relationships, not replace them.

The nice young man we were talking about our mortgage a few years ago to was not actually a banker.  He was actually a high school teacher by day, working at the bank in the evenings.  His advice to us was to lock in the mortgage because, after all, how could rates go any lower?  (If you're smiling right now, you know where I'm headed.)  Well, rates did go lower.

Now, as my wife and I are planning our financial future, one source of information we will no longer use is our bank.  I have no relationship with anyone at the bank that I can trust.  I have nobody that I can go to who knows me well enough to advise me.  Each bank looks pretty much the same to me right now.  I feel no loyalty to the one I'm using.  This means it would be pretty easy for another bank to take my business by offering me a better rate.

But hey, my bank still has a good CRM system.

5 comments:

Kelkel said...

Technology can help us do so much stuff by handling all the information for us, but it's still hard to increase the number of people you can serve on a personal level. Someday we'll figure that part out though :)

Bill Kennedy, CA said...

Hi Kelkel,

Thank you for your comment. I agree. It may not seem like I'm a CRM fan from this post, but I am. CRM is designed to enhance the customer relationship, not replace it though.

Bill

Geoff said...

I think, in this case, it's less about the relationship and more about the "McJob" retail banking has become. I wouldn't trust a lot of these kids to not burn my toast, let alone provide financial instruments. The only thing they need to be experts at is selling you credit card insurance.

angel said...

Great post… Great info on bounce rates… I’ll have to write an entry about the same topic some day soon… Bounce rates can tell you alot…
I tend to look at the bounce rate and then look at the keywords that brought people to the site. Does the page answer the keyword question? If No then there is some work to do on that or a new more focused post.


part time money making ideas

Jr Deputy Accountant said...

First of all, BILL WHERE DID YOU GO?! I miss your insight and hope you are not missing in action FOREVER...

now that that's out of the way... you are so right on. But isn't this an advantage for CPAs and other financial professionals? The community banker of yore is dead but financial professionals can take advantage of that reality and truly meet the need in their clients to feel as though they have someone trustworthy to count on when it comes to their financial future.

Just my $0.02. I never trusted the bankers anyway :P