How To Get Staff to Engage Customers and Members and Use CRM Software, Part 2

Many Banks and Credit Unions Do a Poor Job With Customer Engagement

Stop selling - start engagingTwo weeks ago we published Part 1 of this two part blog post. If you missed Part 1, please read it here, How To Get Staff to Engage Customers and Members and Use CRM Software.

In that post we stated that most employees don’t engage customers or members well enough to build a relationship nor do they embrace CRM as a relationship building tool. As a result, many are not getting the best ROI on their investment in CRM software and are not growing organically like they should. We then offered these two umbrella solutions:

  1. Get your organization ready to take advantage of CRM
  2. Get your staff ready to deepen member or customer relationships

Specific Things You Can Do

Following are three things you can do to implement the above two solutions.

#1 Move Beyond Basic Sales Training and Cross Selling to Relationship Banking

While your frontline staff does need to know how to cross-sell, engaging customers or members to build a relationship goes beyond product-focused, transaction-based cross-selling. In relationship banking, they learn how to first diagnose and determine a customer’s financial goals and anxieties rather than asking product-driven questions. This positions them as advisors rather than just sales people. Here are some skills good relationship managers have:

  1. Discern when to cross sell and when to not sell but simply use relationship building skills to advance the relationship (leading to future sales).
  2. Consistently use a profiling form to capture a member’s key facts, hobbies, financial needs, goals and dreams and then enter the information into a CRM.
  3. Confidentially reach out by phone to reboard disengaged customers or members who don’t visit a branch, introduce themselves as a relationship manager and engage the customer or member in a conversation that builds trust (and again update the customer profile).
  4. It's all about relationshipsAdvance the member or customer relationship by tying important life events to specific financial solutions.
  5. Before any call, do pre-call planning to anticipate a the member’s needs, look up current services, review previous conversations, plan an approach and formulate key questions to offer solutions and discover more things they don’t know about the member or customer.
  6. Use transition statements and high-gain, open-ended discovery questions to confidently recommend a service at the appropriate time.
  7. Maintain the relationship with a variety of touch points.

Relationship banking skills go beyond basic cross-selling and customer service training. To increase organic growth in your bank or credit union, offer training in member or customer relationship building skills and boost staff confidence and results!

#2 Change Staff Mindset and Job Expectations

Build the mindset among frontline staff that they are a relationship manager and trusted financial partner advisors rather than just sales people who simply cross sell. Many frontline bankers don’t like “selling” but they DO want to be of service. With a new mindset and a new set of relationship building skills, your staff become viewed as financial partners so customers are more receptive to their questions about the customer’s financial situation.

New-Mindset-New-ResultsWhen your staff sees how easy it is to get the customer or member to volunteer “pains and dreams” they become more confident in offering solutions. That gives them a comfort level and positive reinforcement for engaging the customer further without immediately pitching a product.

As a result, your staff feels proud of their role, the financial well-being of members and customers is improved and your organization enjoys organic growth. That means no longer relying on the hard slog of constantly trying to build revenue through new business alone. (Go to Mindset Change for more on this topic).

#3 Review Behaviors and Key Activities Specific to Relationship Building

Not only are skills in relationship banking different than basic cross-selling but so are the activities that lead to sales. One key indicator of success is seeing staff entering excellent notes into a member or customer profile. When starting out with our new clients, too often we see notes that indicate a lot of product pitching and minimal discovery and relationship building. Actual member profiles should be collected each month and reviewed by managers.

Know your customerExamples of notes indicating product-pitching:

  • “Offered credit card, said no.”
  • “Will consider mobile banking.”
  • “Discussed rewards checking.”

Rather, we want to see comments along these lines:

  • “Life Stage: Married with young children.”
  • “Occupation: University professor. Child starting college in two years”
  • “Goals/Dreams: Reduce debt, save for children’s’ education; Hawaii vacation.”
  • “Pains: Difficulty saving; wants to improve credit.”
  • “Recommendations: Discussed our credit builder solution and a possible HELOC to consolidate debt and save money. Also recommended auto-savings for children’s education and Hawaii vacation.”

In summary, your CRM technology will not build the relationship. You must invest in coaching and training your people to engage members or customers and become relationship managers to get the best ROI on your CRM solution.

Visit our website to find common challenges and solutions that will be helpful in deciding how to move toward a relationship building bank or credit union. Feel free to email your questions to Thanks for reading this month’s post, we welcome your comments below.

Barb and Bob

Want more tips? Download our whitepaper, Best Practices to Increase CRM Buy-In, Adoption and ROI by clicking on Contact Us and entering “CRM Best Practices” in the “Other” box.

Your Thoughts?

Build loyalty in your bank or credit union: www.barbara-sanfilippo.comWe 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?

High Definition Banking® is a national consulting, training and motivational speaking firm that partners with banks and credit unions to increase sales, deepen customer or member relationships, turn them into loyal advocates and maximize our clients’ investment in CRM. Transforming Relationships Into Revenue®

All Staff Training Day – Barbara Sanfilippo is available to deliver a highly engaging presentation or workshop to reinforce your organization’s goals and priorities. Contact Us to inquire about availability on national holidays or your preferred dates.

What Barbara’s Clients Are Saying

“Our Net Promoter Score (NPS) jumped significantly soon after we began working with you. We continue to see a noticeable increase in positive testimonials on our website from members with some being quite effusive. Our staff has embraced the relationship-building approach and feels a sense of achievement, purpose and accomplishment. Their stories are compelling. We’ve worked with several consultants in the past but none have had such a positive impact or been able to sustain implementation like your High Definition Banking® process.” — Credit Union Senior Marketing Executive

“In the short time we’ve been working with you we have seen a major improvement in our staff’s confidence and ability to engage our customers in conversations about their financial goals and dreams. The pre-call plan and profiling tools made a significant difference and our managers are leading the way. The High Definition Banking® consulting, training and relationship building process aligns well with our strategic goal of creating a differentiated customer experience. We’ve seen much more excitement by our customers and an increase in moving their accounts to our bank.” — Community Bank EVP


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Posted in Blog, CRM Software, Cross Selling, Customer Relationship Management, Member Relationship Management, Relationship Banking, Relationship Selling Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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