Don't Manage Me!
The nice young man across the table was trying to help my wife and I renew our mortgage. He had access to all of the transactions we had done at the bank, whether online, through the call center or through the branch. It was clear that he was using a well designed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package. He had everything at his fingertips. The problem is that CRM is no substitute for an actual relationship.
CRM started life as a Rolodex, a listing of the names and addresses of a salesperson's contacts. Good salespeople knew they needed more than "tombstone" information about their customers, so they started taking notes on their customers. When computers systems to replace Rolodex cards were created, they were called Contact Management systems. Later on, it became clear that the sales team could benefit from knowing all of the ways customers interact with the company and Contact Management software morphed into CRM. The problem is, CRM was built to support existing relationships, not replace them.
The nice young man we were talking about our mortgage a few years ago to was not actually a banker. He was actually a high school teacher by day, working at the bank in the evenings. His advice to us was to lock in the mortgage because, after all, how could rates go any lower? (If you're smiling right now, you know where I'm headed.) Well, rates did go lower.
Now, as my wife and I are planning our financial future, one source of information we will no longer use is our bank. I have no relationship with anyone at the bank that I can trust. I have nobody that I can go to who knows me well enough to advise me. Each bank looks pretty much the same to me right now. I feel no loyalty to the one I'm using. This means it would be pretty easy for another bank to take my business by offering me a better rate.
But hey, my bank still has a good CRM system.