Federal Bank leverages CRM
Scouting for an integrated solution
that would take care of customer satisfaction, retention
and service, Federal Bank found the perfect match in
CDC Pivotal CRM. By Jasmine Desai
scope and responsibility of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution
has spread out beyond retaining customers to acquiring them, trying to come
up with new solutions from the feedback provided by customers and much more.
Federal Bank's IT maturity growth plan saw the inclusion of a CRM solution.
There were many challenges and reasons involved that led the bank to zero in
on CRM. The bank needed the solution to look at customer acquisition and retention.
Rajagopalan Nair, Head- IT, Federal Bank, commented, We were looking for
process changes and we needed an IT solution to support that. Apart from
the customer relationship front, the bank relied on several disparate solutions.
These standalone solutions catered to bank's business needs only and working
in standalone mode they were unable to supplement business needs in the right
mode. Federal Bank was looking for an integrated solution for handling customer
satisfaction, retention and service.
Going the CRM way
After acquiring a customer, managing the relationship is always a challenge.
Earlier, this was taken care of by branch managers at the branch level. However,
after centralization, it was found that branch managers were unable to focus
on customers. On the other hand, the bank was increasingly going in for SMB
and retail lending. This is a murky area and, if customers are retained and
guided in time, they do not default. Therefore, an organized system was required
for collection. It was time to evaluate CRM solutions.
Deciding on CDC Pivotal CRM was an
easy choice for the bank. Three to four solutions were
evaluated and CDC Pivotal CRM was found to be apt and
aligned to Federal Bank's needs. It fitted with bank's
other needs as well including integration with the banks
core system. Other solutions that were evaluated were
Microsoft, CRMnext, as well as a few freeware solutions.
The bank even conducted a trial run of Sugar CRM for
a couple of months but it required a lot of effort in
terms of customization and implementation.
Nair of Federal Bank said, For other solutions, support
in India would have been a problem. If support was not a problem then the API
would not integrate with our core system. Although, CDC aligned really well,
a certain level of customization was required on the collection mode.
On the collection side, the bank wanted an integral solution wherein a list
of defaulters or likely defaulters could be sent out. The collection forecast
needed to be prepared and there needed to be a proper workflow to send these
numbers to the call center so that calls could be managed by an external agency.
A workflow that was suitable for the bank's working environment was arrived
at with the aid of customization.
customer has certain expectations from banks and these organizations should
be prepared to cater to such demands."
Head - IT, Federal Bank
CDC was involved in the implementation. The implementation
was not without roadblocks as this sort of concept was new to the bank and,
for this reason, there was a plethora of challenges to be handled. The bank
was making the transition from a branch-centric to a centralized environment.
In spite of having implemented CBS five years back, most of the business activities
were conducted at the branch level. Internally, the bank lacked a lead management
system when it started with the implementation. Process changes inevitably meant
changes in mindset as well. Federal Bank's Nair commented, Till we implemented
the solution, branch managers or branches were the only people who were getting
in touch with the customers. The customer had to be approached with a single
view across channels. That needed process change and availability across the
The bank had to be able to answer the customer in the same language as if he
were approaching a branch officer. Secondly, prioritization was needed, particularly
on the retail side. Segmentation was another issue for which the right type
of data was required and there were data security issues. In case a customer
was to change the residence phone number, this would seldom be updated in the
bank's record. They had to start several campaigns to get this data collected.
Even currently, a campaign is going on for insurance policies so that, in this
way, the majority of customer data can be collected.
The CDC Pivotal CRM solution is being
run on Intel servers. The bank went live with the solution
in September 2011. The collection module went live in
January 2012. The data center is near Kochi while the
DR center is located at Bangalore. There are four different
types of storage and there is redundancy for all of
the storage systems. The bank has a virtualized environment.
It has taken an enterprise license with CDC Pivotal
CRM. Currently, there are around 8,000 employees and
all of them have access to the solution. However, all
modules cannot be accessed by everyone. The implementation
was done stage wise. Firstly, they implemented the solution
as it was so that they could compare it with real business
needs in the branches. A dedicated team worked on the
gap analysis. The base solution and the model that Federal
Bank wanted to roll out was analyzed and gaps were found.
It was fine tuned accordingly. The pilot implementation
was done on test servers. Although, a modular approach
is not recommended for a CRM rollout, Nair said that
customer collection and acquisition did not have any
direct bearing on the other functions and so a modular
approach worked for the bank. With any new implementation
an organization has to go through a change management
process and Federal Bank was no exception. It conducted
employee training for CRM usage.
Benefits and more
The bank has witnessed some tangible benefits post implementation.
To begin with, the incidence of defaults on the collection side has come down.
A lot of discipline has been created. With an SMB customer, the bank is able
to activate the account in two to three hours and with a normal customer in
two to three days along with bringing them on board.
Dishing out advice on best practices before implementing CRM, Federal Bank's
Nair said, CRM largely depends on data cleanliness. For integration you
need an internal system that is integrated with your core platform because the
customer expects the same language from all the business units. Whatever
internal decision has been made about anything, it needs to be communicated
to all channels and all systems. A customer calling the call center should have
the same answer that he would get if he were calling the branch office.
Federal Bank has already charted out plans for the next stage which would be
to have a BI layer in the CRM. From the collection as well as acquisition side,
a lot of valuable customer data is gathered and BI could help utilize it in
an optimal manner. Nair concluded, The customer has certain expectations
from banks and these organizations should be prepared to cater to such demands.
Another item on the agenda is Social CRM. Going this way, the bank could stumble
upon immense business opportunities. Apart from that it is also looking at having
a self service portal.