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Banking relationship managers have a tough job – here’s how to help

By Microsoft Financial Services on December 5, 2017

Filed under Financial Services - Banking & Capital Markets

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The role of the banking relationship manager is incredibly important. Relationship managers are on the front line interacting with customers, helping banks deliver the personalized service that customers want and expect. Relationship managers can make the difference between whether a customer maintains (and expands) their relationship with a bank, or not. As a result, empowering relationship managers to succeed is critical to driving customer loyalty and increasing share of wallet.

But the job of the relationship manager is also incredibly difficult. In this post, we explore three reasons why a relationship managers’ job is so tough these days, and introduce a way that banks can help relationship managers combat these challenges and more effectively serve their customers.  

1. Lack of visibility into customer activities across banking channels

Banking customers are more self-educated than ever, and are using self-service channels at a rapidly growing rate. They constantly conduct passive research through social media, explore options via self-serve tools, and use online and mobile banking options that let them bank anytime, anywhere.    

For relationship managers to provide the best service possible, it’s imperative for them to have a holistic view of customers’ activities across channels. Customers expect to interact with the bank as a single entity, which means they expect their relationship managers to be aware of every interaction they’ve had. But when banks administer channels separately, this information lives in multiple systems. Consequently, a relationship manager can’t see a full picture of a customer’s interactions, hindering their ability to provide the personalized banking service customers want.  

2. A large customer base and limited customer interaction

It used to be that relationship managers built rapport through regular interactions. While a relationship manager might have served many customers, they had frequent opportunities to personally engage with those customers. Today, relationship managers often serve hundreds of customers, and don’t interact with them on a regular basis (customers are engaging in other ways—see #1 above). This means it is harder for relationship managers to build knowledge that helps them create personal connections.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that many relationship managers get to know only a fraction of their customer base. Knowing every customer is a virtually impossible task. This means relationship managers interact with most customers on a reactive basis, which does little to build customer loyalty.

3. Broad, rapidly-evolving product portfolios

Relationship managers are tasked with educating customers on relevant products and services, yet simply understanding a bank’s portfolio can be a formidable challenge. That’s because banks’ offerings are extensive, and change quickly. New product lines launch, acquisitions come on board, and existing products evolve at a faster pace than ever. In addition, accessing information from different operational units can be difficult—often, relationship managers have no way to get an aggregate, rationalized view of everything the bank offers. 

Given these challenges, it is common for relationship managers to know only a subset of products and services. Unfortunately, the result of this incomplete knowledge is missed opportunities for both the customer and the bank. If a product isn’t on a relationship manager’s radar, the relationship manager loses the chance to offer it when it’s relevant, and the customer doesn’t get a chance to consider it. Worse, the customer may seek that product from another provider.       

Help relationship managers become more proactive and effective with Customer Insights for Banking

So, how can banks help relationship managers overcome these challenges? By arming them with the insight needed to provide informed, personalized service. This hinges on bringing data across product lines and organizational units together.  

This might sound like a daunting IT problem, but it doesn’t have to be. With Customer Insights for Banking, you can give relationship managers a 360-degree picture of each customer, even if data lives in different systems. From one view, a relationship manager can see every interaction a customer has had with the bank, and all of the channels and products the customer is utilizing, which helps drive more informed conversations. This same view can also provide guidance on the next best action for a given customer, giving relationship managers the ability to highlight the most relevant products and services from across the bank’s portfolio.    

In short, Customer Insights for Banking enables relationship managers to deliver a personalized customer experience – increasing competitive differentiation and driving customer retention. Equipped with a deeper understanding of each customer, relationship managers can better anticipate needs, engage more proactively and serve each customer more effectively.

To explore how your relationship managers can use Customer Insights for Banking to build more profitable and long-lasting customer relationships, check out the solution preview today.


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