Long Time Coming

Long Time Coming

Developing a successful CRM program is a journey, not a destination — and no organisation knows that better than the National Australia Bank

Tentative Steps

With no CRM products available when it started its efforts, the NAB's first step towards relationship management was to move from a customer information file for each product to a single customer information file, linked through to the various product systems. That work alone was effective in starting to break down the silos within the NAB, Crouch says.

From there, the efforts moved towards building a data warehouse around customer events to help the NAB understand its interactions with customers. "The data warehouse work really started in earnest in the early to mid-1990s and has continued," Crouch says. "A lot of focus has gone into it since then, so the customer information file has probably been over a 10-year journey, and the data warehouse a little bit less than that, probably more like a five- to 10-year journey."

Most recently, the NAB contracted with Siebel to implement a global platform for relationship management to be installed in call centres and provide Internet access to all NAB customers, initially concentrating on sales force automation. Crouch says Siebel provides the integration piece of the CRM puzzle, and brought the system to people's desktops.

The NAB has also been using software to provide customer profitability information to the marketing process since the late 1980s from within the bank's corporate data warehouse. And it has been actively experimenting with sales management methodologies, schemes for segmenting the customer base and targeted messages since before all the technology pieces were fully implemented.

The NAB defined a matrix of five universal customer financial needs for a relationship with the bank. Some customers might have a handful of the needs simultaneously, but every customer would demonstrate one of the following:

1. Funding (all loans)

2. Risk Management/Insurance (P&C, life)

3. Payments/Transactions (deposits, withdrawals, transfers)

4. Investments (depository services, custodian services, securities, bonds, etc.)

5. Information (single statement, portal)

The bank uses the five universal needs to underpin its communications strategy with customers when it develops new services or marketing efforts.

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