HOT PROJECTS: Retail Banking

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When the two-person research department at Chicago's BankFinancial wanted to streamline its marketing efforts, it turned to SPSS Inc.'s Clementine. "We want to predict how our customers will respond to direct mail campaigns, and increase our efficiency in buying lists so we'll get better returns," says Bill Connerty, BankFinancial's assistant vice president of research. Before Clementine, Connerty used the in-house customer database to try to cull the right demographic information. With Clementine he can make distinctions in his customer base and create targeted lists in less time with more accuracy. The results speak for themselves: Connerty garners the same response rate by sending 80 percent fewer mailings. And he's cut costs by 79 percent. "We're ecstatic," says Matt Jacobs, BankFinancial's research analyst. "I can't imagine doing direct mail without it. With the time and money saved, we can now address bigger issues, such as customer retention and product development." Customer-friendly policies that include seven-day-a-week branch banking is what Commerce Bank, headquartered in Cherry Hill, NJ, is nationally recognized for. So when managers learned that it took several days to respond to customer requests, the IT team responded by creating the Wow Answer Guide, using Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino. Now employees search a comprehensive, indexed knowledge base to immediately answer customer questions or print bank and government forms. If an employee can't find requested information, she submits an instant feedback form. This application was so successful that the IT team extended it to customers, who can now access the Wow Answer Guide online. "To date the Wow Answer Guide has saved the bank nearly $1 million per year, or $20,000 per week, including labor costs and the time spent driving transactions to completion," says Jack Allison, vice president of systems development for Commerce Bank. "The return on our investment was achieved within 30 days of deployment, and we're looking forward to further savings in the future."
David Frady went through two sales force automation systems before finding one that worked for Hibernia National Bank. Frady is executive vice president and manager of treasury and knowledge management for Hibernia, with branches in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. His goal was to focus on account management and allow everyone who interacts with customers to share information properly. Brady chose YOUcentric (now J.D. Edwards) CRM for its customizability. "I didn't want to make our people change the way they work," says Frady, whose salespeople were involved in the design and screen layout. Now, instead of confusion, being left out of the loop, and relying on anecdotal evidence to show where the problems are, employees log on and look up client information in fewer than 10 seconds. For the first time Hibernia has a knowledge base that tells what service issues clients are experiencing, so they can be addressed. "I expect our ROI will be off the charts," Frady says. "We aim for fifteen to twenty percent ROI, but it'll be more than that. All we have to do is book one piece of business and the system is paid for."
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