Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
A whole-of-business project to replace disparate CRM and customer data instances with a unified CRM platform has finally given staff at Beyond Bank a single customer view.
Beyond Bank CIO, Robert Aitken, told CMO that as a small mutual bank within the crowded financial industry, customer interaction experience is a competitive differentiator. The group evolved from credit union, Community CPS Australia, into a customer-owned bank in mid-2013.
However, legacy adhoc systems saw staff having to go in and out of 15 different screens and a couple of applications in order to piece together a clear picture of a customer’s portfolio with the bank during interactions.
“If we are trying to transform the way we interact with customers, we need to give staff the best possible tools and streamlined processes and presentation of that information to enable that change,” Aitken said.
Beyond Bank has rolled out two major technology platforms to customer-facing staff: Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 CRM offering, and Office 365. The organisation partnered with IT integrator, UXC Eclipse, on customised development and project management, a task Aitken said involved rewriting business processes and building out a single customer view.
The first iteration went live in August across branches in the Riverina region in NSW, and as of November, was rolled out nationally across branches, support and contact centre staff, ensuring all customer transactions go through the CRM platform.
“We had big challenges as it’s a big change project; we were essentially turning the world upside down for staff, and we needed to rework processes, improve systems performance, then roll out region by region,” Aitken explained.
What was obvious from the get go was that CRM had to be business and customer-led project. “CRM traverses almost every business unit and channel,” Aitken commented. “We had big stakeholder groups that played a key role in terms of design thinking and decision making, and were an important part of the engagement process as we went along.
“This wasn’t a systems upgrade, this required process mapping, looking at our future state, identifying key customer pain points, and undertaking customer journey mapping. We’re by no means perfect, but staff now have a good grasp on where we are taking things.”
Aitken claimed one wise decision was to go live and iterate, rather than try and perfect the platform before launch. “We listened, responded and acted quickly on the feedback, and that continued our staff engagement, ensuring they remained positive,” he said.
Customer journey mapping, meanwhile, gave teams a much more comprehensive feel for where quick wins could be made and what key pain points the technology could resolve, Aitken said.
The biggest outcome from the technology exercise has been achieving a simplified, centralised customer view. Beyond Bank staff have a crisp view of a customer’s unique product portfolio, all methods of communications and correspondence between the customer and the bank, address details, and relationships with other customers. All customer-facing processes are also done out of CRM, such as opening an account or applying for a loan.
“We had wanted to transform the way we dealt with customers, but what we found was that our staff were stuck in process mode,” Aitken said. “We wanted them to have meaningful conversations with customers, understand their needs and tailor financial solutions accordingly, but we hadn’t given them the best opportunity to do so.
ROI will come from providing staff with tools and information that help them have better customer conversations, Aitken said. He highlighted the integration between the CRM platform and office productivity tools such as Outlook and SharePoint as another big win.
“The business case wasn’t just about financials, it was more about providing rich data about customers,” he said.
“Now we have unshackled our staff, and based on what we have observed, we fully expect to increase sales opportunities. And with more meaningful conversations, we expect to increase customer satisfaction. The sustainability piece and sales opportunities will take care of themselves after that.”
Aitken said work is already underway on better leveraging and adding to the platform. One current project is around voice of the customer and will see the organisation tap sentiment analysis across multiple touchpoints, including social, to gain real-time insights that staff can then action against. The team is also investigating marketing automation to drive opportunities through the data now being collected in its CRM system, he said.
And with CRM collecting more data than ever before, Aitken said it’s looking to use analytics and propensity modelling to surface opportunities and next best offer through CRM and other channels. This could also include personalising digital experiences.
What the CRM project has also done is bring cross-functional teams together. “In project mode, we saw a lot more collaboration across the business, and while we’ve not changed structure, I expect that collaboration to become a normal part of our business,” Aitken said.
“CRM has its tentacles around everything, and you do need a whole-of-business view. That requires cross-functional thinking in order to ensure everyone is aligned and pulling in the same direction.”