5 Reasons CRM Should Be in Your 2007 Planning

CRM can differentiate your credit union through, providing excellent service, building trust, and positioning it to be first in your members’ minds.




CRM is one of those “we'll do it next year” topics. Well, next year is just around the corner and it's time to start thinking about whether you're going to implement a cost-effective CRM solution that will enhance your credit union's value toward your members. Listed below are five reasons that now is CRM time for your credit union:

1. Margins are thin – you need all the targeted sales help you can get!

Rate compression and rising costs equate to razor thin margins. Many times people “hunker down” and ride out the storm – not investing too much time or energy in new tools and techniques. But now is the time your team needs the best tools you can afford to give them – tools that will help your team provide excellent service, build trust and loyalty, and position your credit union first in the minds of your members.

2. Today's tools don't require process re-engineering.

Chances are if you looked at a CRM solution couple of years ago you probably thought, “It's too expensive and complex – and it requires a lot of customization work to meet our needs. We'll probably have to change how we do business to use this stuff.”

On the contrary, today's CRM solutions have changed. There are now several flexible solutions that provide sales and service tools of varying capabilities and features. These solutions can be tailored to the needs of credit unions any size and streamline – not change – your current in-house operations processes.

3. Staff is your highest cost – make them as productive as possible.

Most of the time, you may envision CRM as a cross-selling tool. But the greatest financial impact of CRM tools may well be found in the productivity-enhancing benefits. In most credit unions, staff-related expenses are nearly 50 percent of overall operating costs. Can you imagine how much time and energy is spent in your organization re-confirming, re-checking, and following up? If you could improve the productivity of your team by 10 or 15 percent, wouldn't you? (In case you need an answer here, it should be YES.)

4. It's more affordable than you think.

A few years back, CRM was only for the big and complex credit unions – partially because it cost a lot to implement. In today's market CRM solutions have become much more flexible and affordable for small- and medium-sized credit unions.

One thing that has changed about today's CRM solutions is that you can now find ones that are modular – meaning you can just implement the features that make sense for your organization. Another recent development is “on-demand” solutions – meaning you don't have to invest in additional equipment and software or burden your IT staff with another system to maintain.

5. Your members will love you — and so will your staff!

In the long run, it's all about whether you do a good job of providing the right financial services to your members. Your members evaluate you with that emotional quotient called “loyalty.” Each time they have a new financial need or have an issue to resolve and your credit union fulfills that need, their loyalty in you increases. CRM tools can contribute to member responsiveness and relationship-building by addressing issues such as:

  • Which products do you promote?
  • Do they make sense?
  • Are you responsive?
  • Do you get it done right the first time?

By the way, if you do this, your staff will love you, too. You met one of their greatest needs: providing them with the right tools to perform well in their jobs.

As time goes on it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate financial institutions. One of the only aspects you truly control is how well you serve and sell to your members. You've always thought of CRM as one of those tools that would be a good idea, but maybe you don't have to implement it until next year. Guess what – it's time to plan for next year and sharpen your business services. A cost-effective, innovative CRM tool will help differentiate your credit union in today's – and tomorrow's – marketplace.

For more information and tips on CRM solution planning, contact Mike Winter, President of fi VISION, at (317) 612-3350, mwinter@fiVISION.com, or visit www.fiVISION.com.


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Aug. 14, 2006


  • I was interested in your article but am confused by CRM and did not continue to figure out what you are getting at. It might be a good idea for dummies like me to write the full term first before abbreviating. Obviously I am supposed to know since there are many articles on CRM . To me as a pilot this means Crew Resource Management. Sincerely, Matt Pfaendler Director Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union
    Matt Pfaendler
  • The author is right on when so many firms feel CRM initiatives are great, yet fail to implement a solid plan - thinking "I'll get to it" or "how can I be sure it is financially going to pay a return." One of the most compelling quote I saw (and use in my University Lectures) from the Gartner Group a few years ago - "by the year 2008, 75 percent of businesses will fail to meet the servcie requirements of their customers, and as a result, experience 100% loss of their customer base, every five years." Complelling? - I think so!
    Craig Clark - Sir Speedy Whittier/University of Phoenix