It’s safe to assume that a credit union saving $1 million annually has already been successful many times within the industry. But the key, though, is to understand how they have done it. Digital Federal Credit Union ($3 billion, 270,000 members) of Marlborough, Massachusetts, says it has realized benefits of more than $1 million each year since the implementation of its CRM technology in 2003.
Digital Federal Credit Union’s suite of CRM technology solutions has cut some major costs at the credit union by solving member issues faster and keeping tabs on member interactions through enhanced interdepartmental communication modules. The suite of solutions also strengthens the credit union’s ability to cross-sell new products and services, has made it easier to enroll new members and also open new accounts.
“We’re continuously upgrading the capabilities of our CRM platform to meet operational challenges that we face as we grow,” states Tom Ryan, COO of Digital FCU. “Last year alone there were several new add-on modules and lots of minor enhancements to our CRM solution. The results are paying off quite nicely.”
Digital FCU’s investment in its CRM solution has indeed paid off in many ways. For example, staff now has the capability to share knowledge instantly throughout the organization about conversations with members. So if a member talks to two different staffers in quick succession, everyone has the benefit of the information gained in the first discussion. As knowledge is immediately shared within the organization, the credit union saves labor costs and members are pleased they don’t have to repeat themselves.
Ryan dovetails this benefit by adding that interdepartmental communications have become more efficient with their CRM technology. “We used to send around paper notes and emails about member requests,” he admits. “But now those items are all fielded and routed electronically to the right place in the organization, making us quicker to respond to member requests by more than 30 percent, which, again, saves us money.”
In addition, Digital FCU has targeted information about which specific products or services have been marketed to each member. Staffers can track their conversations on the high probability products and avoid the frustration of trying to sell products to members that already have them.
“This aspect of our CRM solution saves us so much time and frustration,” Ryan says. “We are able to retrieve data and reports from our system that help us see what’s going on in the credit union. It’s possible to make good decisions without data, but it sure is a lot easier with the data.”
With all these operational efficiencies, Digital FCU estimates it has been able to increase staff productivity by an average of 10 percent. The credit union discovered that its service and sales staff — who are the primary users of the CRM solution — realized a gain in productivity between eight and 12 percent. According to Ryan, increased productivity can be measured differently within various departments. For instance, back office staffers that directly process member requests found they were able to process 40 percent more requests per staff member using the CRM solution than they could before it was implemented. The credit union’s information center also found that it was able to spend a higher percentage of its time on the phone with members using CRM than they did before, allowing them to broaden their discussions and build relationships. Subsequently, Digital FCU discovered it was selling more services per employee than it used to — saving costs and increasing productivity through working more efficiently.
“We learned that we were more effective selling products and services to our members because we have more of their information immediately available at our fingertips,” Ryan says. “We’re able to engage our members in longer, more productive discussions. So new revenue earned is part of the equation as well.”
Overall, Digital FCU estimates it has saved more than $3 million since it started using the CRM solution. “We’ve been able to make a ‘sea-of-change’ in our operations performance,” Ryan adds. “And, if anything, with all of the new capabilities it provides, it’s a bigger [savings] number on an annual basis now than it used to be.”
Ryan plans to continue to spread the use of his credit union’s CRM solution suite throughout the organization. He says it’s amazing to see that nearly 80 percent of Digital FCU’s staff find a reason to use it routinely, helping each staff member do his or her job better and more efficiently.
“We’re a fast-growing organization,” Ryan says. “If we didn’t have a tool like this in place to help us manage member relationships, our growth could really stress the satisfaction and loyalty levels with members. Because of our CRM investment, we’ve actually strengthened our relationships during this time, as it has been one of Digital FCU’s more important technology implementations.”
Digital Federal Credit Union utilizes fiVISION’s memberWORKS Relationship Management platform, which consists of serviceWORKS, salesWORKS, and accountWORKS. For more information on these CRM solutions, visit www.fivision.com.