Salesforce to Banks: Go Digital and Keep Your Customers

October 6, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The notion of a bank that functions entirely online is a notion that leaves users excited and timid by turns. While there’s a certain value in a bank that never closes and will always handle your needs, there’s also a problem in a bank where any human contact is accomplished by easily-disconnected phone call. The last thing most want is to be having a problem and hello? Hello? Whoops, gone! That’s why Salesforce recently took a look at the field and offered some advice to make the digital-only bank a possibility without losing a bundle of customers in protest.

Word from Salesforce’s senior vice president and general manager of financial services Rohit Mahna revealed the ticking time bomb beneath the seats of the banking bus: as many as a third of current customers are “hidden defectors,” ready to jump ship at a moment’s notice. Mahna cited a “gap in the expectation a customer has and what they’re being given from the bank” as the main reason.

One big way to help on this front is to better communicate with the customer. Don’t just tell customers what you have, banks, ask the customer what it is he or she wants. Then set up products accordingly. Development in a vacuum is a sure way to get customers looking elsewhere for some other bank that’s managed to blunder on what the customer really wants instead.

Banks can also improve by taking a page from retailers’ books and bringing out better customer relationship management (CRM) tools. It’s handy that Salesforce specializes in CRM tools here, so its new offering being part of the recommendation list is probably something we should have seen coming. Yet here, CRM tools could indeed be helpful; being able to see transactions at a glance and draw conclusions about what the customer wants could be a good way to develop products accordingly.

In the end, whether the bank is brick-and-mortar only or all digital, it needs to be consumer-focused. If banks aren’t providing what customers want, then customers will go elsewhere, as they have with retail operations for decades now. Focusing on the customer is really the only way to keep that customer, and the cash that’s involved accordingly.