MADISON, Wis. (12/20/10)--Data have become essential raw material for American business, almost on a par with capital and labor, according to “CRM Strategies,” a white paper sponsored by CUNA’s Operations, Sales and Service Council. It is hard to pinpoint precisely when the digital transformation took place, but it had its tipping point in Y2K when organizations rebuilt technology architectures and prepared for a meltdown that failed to materialize. The preparation for Y2K underscored the notion that financial institutions have more information on their customers than does any other industry. This data wealth is a tremendous advantage for those organizations that use and analyze information wisely. Those institutions--typically large credit unions and banks--that use data wisely often succeed in besting their competitors and will likely continue to do so in the near future, the paper said. “CRM Strategies” examines the elements credit union can consider in developing a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. Credit unions that have achieved a high degree of competence in this process are profiled as well. CRM is a sales and service culture enabled by technology, according to the paper. The operative phrase is “enabled by technology.” CRM is not a technology solution but a cultural and a people transformation; it is in its true essence a state of mind--held by management and staff--that puts the member first in all interactions, the paper added. The benefit for tellers and other end users is when a member’s entire relationship with the organization is displayed on one screen or is one or two clicks away. However, most financial institutions do not use it efficiently. Marketing decisions are based on looking backwards to past behaviors and placing consumers into demographic groups or subgroups. Demographic data has its place and worth, but it doesn’t provide insight into the frequency of use by the member of their channel and product preferences, and it does not use these or other variables to ascribe value to its consumers. To the member, the CRM process is invisible and seamless but the effect can be profound. Members need only tell their story once, instead of in each new call. This is part of an evolution that the financial services industry is undergoing where a marriage of data, financial relationships and predictive analytics are making assumptions of potential buyers and their future behaviors, the paper concludes. For more information, use the link.