Bank's CRM revamp hits half-way mark

National Australia Bank (NAB) is betting its CRM system will not only transform its internal banking procedures and make them more customer friendly, but will help obtain more personal details.

NAB says it won't be aggressive about collecting personal information on its potential customers, but for existing customers the new, half completed CRM system, which is part of a $1.8 billion revamp dubbed Project Turnaround, will be used to help bankers recognize their loyalty. Project Turnaround, launched late last year, involves upgrading the existing CRM system (called National Leads).

Gerd Schenkel, NAB customer strategy and cross-marketing director, said the CRM tool is not specifically designed to get the most information from customers, because that is the skill of the banker. Schenkel said the design will be passive and let customers set their own pace. And then let the bankers do their job.

"We would like to give the customers choice as to how much they tell us about themselves, but if a customer already has a relationship of trust with a banker and is comfortable talking to them then the banker could make suggestions as to what the customer might do," Schenkel said.

"The advantage comes from creating a system so accepted by the people who run the system, as well as the customers, that it becomes part of the way to run a bank and emulates the way customers deal with a bank; then the CRM system becomes mission-critical.

"The CRM system is in two parts, one part capability which includes the technology and the people running the system and the other is how it is used and deployed and at the moment we are comfortable with the capability."

The bank is focusing on two elements of the CRM system, banker workflow and banker feedback. National Leads is built on a Teradata CRM backbone and integrates with a Siebel front-end used by bankers as a workflow tool.

Schenkel said the three elements of NAB's business are in different stages of integration with the CRM system; the retail segment is lagging behind the business and wealth segments, but only because the retail business started the upgrade behind the other two.

NAB is working now on further developing the banker workflow architecture, as well as a system to prompt bankers and NAB's salesforce for feedback.

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