The volatility of global equity markets over the past few years has turned the tables on institutional finance firms in the capital markets, wealth management, and commercial banking sectors. Wealth management clients, tired of looking at dwindling account balances, are demanding from financial advisors long-term strategies to boost their assets. In the commercial banking sector, rock-bottom interest rates have made corporate lending a low-revenue business, prompting banks to look for additional noninterest-related income streams. In addition, consolidation in the market has increased the need for these firms to ensure they build and retain close relationships with their most profitable customers--not only to prevent them from taking their business elsewhere, but also to ensure that they are offered the products and services that are the most appropriate and the most likely to result in new revenue for the bank.
Financial institutions are increasingly using customer management solutions with sophisticated front-office analytics capabilities that allow them to better slice and dice their customer data and use this insight to segment their clientele for better targeted selling opportunities. Gone are the days when each advisor alone had access to her individual schedules and client preferences and objectives. Today's investment firms and commercial banks need to employ a customer management solution that consolidates information from all customer interactions, whether they are in-person meetings with advisors or inquiries to the call center or the Internet. Moving forward, it will be imperative that every banking representative has the ability to access a 360-degree view of any customer in real time to enhance customer retention and competitive advantage.
Quick & Reilly, which offers financial services to more than 1 million clients as part of FleetBoston Corp., has recognized measurable gains in productivity and competitive advantage thanks to a customer management platform that serves as the cornerstone of advisors' daily activities. The Quick & Reilly solution allows the investment firm to synchronize all customer information from first point of contact, and makes it available to all channels simultaneously. As a result, Quick & Reilly has experienced a dramatic increase in both employee productivity and customer retention. Additionally, its financial consultants have become more successful in the targeted cross-selling of products and services.
Initial successes like this have prompted new interest among financial institutions in using analytical information to drive targeted selling. The idea of cross-selling or up-selling existing customers is not new. For years institutions have broadcast credit card offers, for example, to customers who fit a specific minimum profile. Today's institutions, however, increasingly use analytics to determine which clients are more apt to sign up for a home equity line of credit instead--increasing not only the institution's top-line revenue, but also increasing wallet share and loyalty within the institution's existing customer base.
Analytical insight into customer relationships and activities also can provide institutions with a clearer picture of the profitability of specific customers to guide the level of service offered. Commercial banks looking to upsell recurring, fee-based cash management services to their lower income-generating lending customers can quickly determine which customers are not migrating to these other products and then offer differentiated service based on customer profitability to the commercial bank.
So, what lies ahead for financial institutions looking to maximize their customer relationships? Some forward-thinking institutions are beginning to turn their analytics systems inward, looking at their customer interactions to determine which advisors or products and services are doing well in specific branches or regions--and why--and then creating programs to replicate that success elsewhere. As markets begin to rebound, financial institutions that use analytical tools to ensure that targeted selling campaigns are presented to the appropriate prospects can ensure product and services adoption by customers and increase their revenue and profitability.
About the Author
Richard Campione is group vice president and general manager, Siebel Financial Services and Public Sector, at Siebel Systems, a provider of multichannel business applications software. With 20 years of experience in the high-technology industry, Campione is responsible for Siebel Systems' worldwide business in the financial sector, including institutional finance and retail banking, as well as for homeland security, nonprofit, social services, and tax and revenues. Contact him through Shelley Knowlton at firstname.lastname@example.org