7 Questions to Improve Customer Relationship Management and Boost Organic Growth

Banks and credit unions need to focus on onboarding programs that build long-term organic growth, High Definition BankingBanks and credit unions need to focus on key questions for customer loyalty and long-term organic growth

When beginning a project to help a new client transition beyond transactions to a relationship culture or improve their onboarding program, we often see common pitfalls that many banks and credit unions run into. If your organization is evaluating either type of these initiatives to build more profitable relationships, customer loyalty and a differentiated experience, here are seven questions we recommend you discuss with your leadership team and staff beforehand to get the most out of your efforts.

#1 Do we focus on transactional, short-term sales or customer relationship management that creates loyalty and organic growth?

Do our customers or members think of us first when a need arises, or do they consider us “just another errand”? Just going after transactional sales is like being on a never-ending treadmill. People who feel they have a banking relationship built on trust tend to be advocates for their credit union and are more profitable over the long term. Consider which approach is best for your organization.

#2 Is our onboarding program nothing more than product-focused courtesy calls rather than a vehicle to building a relationship and trust?

We recommend your view your onboarding program like courtship: take it slow at first to learn about the customer or member, listen carefully and earn the right to provide a solution at the appropriate time. The first kiss may come during the first 90 days or months later. Your onboarding program should be the beginning of a long-term relationship.

Relationship managers understand the importance of building customer loyalty to create advocates, High Definition Banking

#3 With so much apprehension and uncertainty about their financial future, are we truly learning about our clients’ goals, pains and dreams?

When staff is trained to think like a relationship manager and ask questions that uncover this kind of information, it’s highly likely they will find opportunities to recommend other services such as financial planning, debt consolidation, life insurance, etc. This is customer relationship management at its best.

#4 What are we doing to reach out and reboard existing clients who no longer visit a branch?

Your customers or members may be “satisfied” with your service but not feel they have a relationship with you. This means you’re not likely to be top-of-mind when a need arises. Not having an outreach and “reboarding” process for these “outliers” is a lost opportunity for increased customer loyalty along with additional revenue and organic growth.

#5 Does staff understand the importance of entering notes to build profiles in our CRM system?

How can you deliver a “wow” service experience and truly help a customer or member if valuable information discovered about them is not recorded? This can include their financial anxieties and goals, life stage, key life events and more. Also, think about the lost sales opportunities because one front-line department doesn’t know what another is doing! Whether you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) or not, it is essential to create a customer profile form and expect all customer contact staff to update it regularly.

Effective use of CRM (customer relationship management) boosts customer loyalty and organic growth, High Definition People

#6 Do our managers truly embrace their role as coaches and people builders?

Reporting month-end goals and results is important, but these are lagging indicators, meaning it’s too late to impact results. Your leaders need to be skilled in working on leading indicators, activities that can actually impact future results such as observing staff interaction with customer and members, reviewing their prospect lists, pre-call planning with them, etc. This is about developing a high-performing team for enhanced organic growth.

#7 Does staff know how to manage and build a relationship rather than just cross-sell?

Of course staff needs sales skills; however, it’s far more important to give them customer relationship management skills. In today’s banking environment, it’s essential to have staff that can confidently reach out, manage and deepen relationships with disengaged folks who no longer visit your branches.

If you are committed and making progress on these seven key areas you will have the key assets to increase customer loyalty, boost organic growth and develop a team of highly-engaged and professional relationship managers.

Thanks for reading,
Barbara Sanfilippo

Take Action

We are happy to answer any questions you may have on any of these points, building a customer relationship management culture or turning your onboarding or reboarding program into a vehicle to build long-term relationships to generate profitable revenue and organic growth. Call Barb at (858) 674-5500, ext 101 or use our Contact Us form.

We are interested in your feedback. www.HighDefinitionBanking.comYour Thoughts?

We are interested in your feedback. In the comments section below, please tell us whether you agree or disagree with the ideas in this post. Also, what challenges or questions do you have that we can answer in this post?


Your structured and sustainable training, coaching and consulting process is the catalyst that moved us from transactional selling focused on pitching product to relationship selling in which we engage customers in deeper conversations, uncover financial anxieties, goals and dreams and offer tailored financial solutions. Results we’ve seen include:
— One outreach call by a relationship banker alone generated $1.1 million in total customer relations
— Referral activity to our wealth and mortgage areas has risen by approximately 21.5% annually
— New account production has increased by an average of 25% from 2014
Your ability to add inspiration and heart to your message and process is your unique differentiator. It empowers our staff to make an emotional connection with our customers and want to make a difference in their lives. — President & CEO, Town and Country Bank

Our staff is more confident and skilled at engaging members in deeper conversations, tapping into their emotive drivers and uncovering their life events. By my estimate, you’ve improved our member experience by 300%! Your emphasis on building trust first and avoiding product pitching is resulting in more new business, referrals and increased loyalty. In fact one member said, “Nobody has ever helped me like this.” Our office VP’s and supervisors are observing, developing and coaching their team to excel at member engagement and relationship management. Not a week goes by when people don’t mention High Definition Banking®. We’re blown away by how far we’ve come in such a short time. Thank you for being a valued partner and we look forward to continuing our journey with you! — COO, WESTconsin Credit Union


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