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Best Practice vs. Best Practical Performance Approach to CRM

July 15, 2016 (comments: 0)

What is a "best practice" really? By definition, it is the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing a task, based on a repeatable process or set of procedures that have been proven over time.

The clincher is that all too often, banking technology vendors promise that their products provide a best practice solution, especially when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM). Yet all too often, the organization's current day-to-day business realities aren’t taken into consideration when implementing these solutions. As a result, the new technology often fails to gain user acceptance and falls short of the institution's overall expectations for process improvement.

Enter "best practical performance"-the blending of current, day-to-day organizational processes and procedures with the possibilities provided by a new technology. This blending provides the organization with a deeper understanding of how the intended best practice solution truly fits into its current business operations; it leads to user acceptance which ultimately drives a successful transition to a new technology deployment.

Let's take a closer look at how a best practical performance approach can eliminate common barriers associated with deploying best practice solutions and enable institutions to extract the greatest value from new CRM technologies:

  • Tap into organizational knowledge. Every organization has its best performers, the people who are always on top of the sales volume reports, or the team member we count on as the "go-to-person." These folks have a wealth of organizational knowledge and practical experience. Factoring their insight into the set-up of a new technology solution brings relevancy and legitimacy which is critical in gaining user acceptance; again the key to success when implementing any new solution.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • Collaborate with and engage the user community. Create a focus group of users who can provide input into the requirements and the custom design of the solution, accommodating some of the top priorities of the group. Members of this group would also continue working with the project team by participating in the testing and quality assurance efforts as well as leading the communication effort targeting the entire user community specifically aimed at generating excitement, awareness, and user acceptance of the new solution.                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  • Small wins make for a successful project delivery. Achieving best practical performance is about managing change. Introducing new practices at a pace the organization can absorb determines the success of a new technology project. A staggered introduction of functionality and process change, enables a more manageable deployment and allows users to gradually adapt to changes. Getting those small wins first is better than a much larger introduction of new process that never quite gets accepted by the users.

In summary, the important distinction between deploying a best practice or a best practical performance solution is that the latter is essentially best practices through the "eyes of the beholder," It is designed specifically to support a particular institution's day-to-day reality. Somewhere along the way, best practices have failed to deliver the expected value for many institutions. It's only through the best practical performance approach-engaging the user community through partnership, user participation, collaboration and communication-that a new technology can be successfully deployed and begin to add value to the organization.

What defines a great Customer Experience?

April 15, 2016 (comments: 0)

And, what steps can be taken to ensure one?

Perhaps it comes down to the question of what constitutes great service. My favorite answer being “I can’t define great service, but I know it when I see it.” Not long ago, asked a group of call center managers this very question and the popular reply was “treat people the way you like to be treated.” One person piped up and said that was wrong…You should treat people as they wish to be treated. Both are good points, but very conceptual.

Surveys reveal three key elements in the consumer’s judgement of the experience, Speed, Accuracy and Attitude

What works for you? For me, a great experience is made up of a series of basic steps:

For starters, I like a genuine greeting with a smile that says, I am glad you stopped by, it is good to see you. I expect to be recognized if I am a regular customer, and depending on the frequency and length of the relationship, I really appreciate being greeted by name. This says to me that you value my business.

Next, make a genuine effort to help me—and do so with a sense of urgency. Time is valuable. Understand why I am there and consider my need with an intent to find the best resolution for my issue; take immediate steps to fulfill my objective(s).

Then, deliver a great result with a genuine thank you.

Going further, as an integral part of understanding my needs and serving me well, if you think I might benefit from an additional product or service, by all means, present an offer, but be sure that it is relevant to me.

Following the interaction, if and when it is appropriate, follow-up with me to confirm that the outcome met my expectations.

This may all seem like common sense, but the fact of the matter is that organizations seldom put it into practice. Reinforce these steps and measure performance results to encourage your team to do their best work, for the success of the organization and creating loyal customers.

Silos, CEOs and CRM

April 8, 2016 (comments: 0)

Silos are great for storing corn, but not so great for storing data. The term “silos” is commonly used to describe how customer touch points are isolated from each other, meaning that the technologies underlying service delivery channels (branches, call centers, web, IVRs, ATMs, etc.) have evolved within their own space. The silo effect is widely acknowledged throughout the industry, yet the problem remains, and comes at a very high cost—measured not only in hard dollars, but also in customer (dis)satisfaction.

Too often the maintenance of each channel’s infrastructure requires specialized knowledge and skills and institutions have no choice but to run redundant system technology in order to host the respective, disparate databases and multiple application platforms. Inconsistencies between user interfaces and information access leaves both customers and customer Service Reps, uncertain and frustrated. And, as things stand, current initiatives for mobile banking, social networking and more are only going to contribute to the silo effect.

Resolution from a technology perspective is in sight, but there is a fundamental issue at the organization level—silos represent turf ownership and in some cases, job security. If the industry is ever to breakdown the silo effect, change has to come from the executive suite. CEOs that establish and support a strategic initiative to unify the enterprise – by migrating systems to common or at least open technology environments – will position their institutions to drive operational efficiencies, increase revenue and deliver customer experiences that build loyalty and success