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Can CRM help banks succeed in current financial crisis? Asks Atos Consulting and EFMA


Paris, London, Utrecht, Increasing competition and more demanding customers coupled with today’s financial crisis mean that banks require a more flexible and accurate CRM approach in order to survive. Atos Consulting, the business consulting arm of Atos Origin, and EFMA, the European Financial Management and Marketing Association, conducted an in-depth survey across 140 European financial institutions including retail banks, private banks and insurance companies on choosing the right CRM strategy to improve customer relationships in line with an organizations ambitions.

The report, which has been launched today, places CRM strategy at the top of the agenda and looks at the different approaches to CRM, the implementation issues and the technology requirements. Financial institutions can use this information to benchmark, develop and refine their strategies. The results should enable banks to realise the full benefits of their investment in CRM and help to move towards a state of ‘customer intimacy’.

The report highlights the following key conclusions:

Reducing customer attrition remains a long-term goal
Findings indicate that banks wanted to improve customer service in the future, whilst in reality their focus is principally on sales and profitability. They are therefore only likely to make a decisive move towards customer focus when their current product-focused approach starts to have a negative impact on the bottom line. The impact of attrition is apparent but combating it seems a long way down the companies’ priority list. There does seem to be a shift in strategic focus as banks aim to reduce customer attrition in an effort to ward of the negative effects of the credit crunch, but we have yet to see this fully translate into operational reality.

A marathon, not a sprint
Although banks are aware of the strategic importance of CRM techniques, their focus is on short term (ad-hoc) projects. This generates poor response and low conversion rates. If firms continue to approach CRM in this way, the customer base for marketing campaigns will decline. The focus has to change from short term ‘sales boost’ successes to long term solutions that target a valuable relationship with both current and prospective clients.

Human touch
Companies continue to try to deliver a multi-channel capability to enhance interactions with clients. Although the range of channels will grow, as will interoperability between them for sales and servicing purposes, face-to-face contact is still very important. Human interaction is more effective in changing a lead into a‘real’ customer than anonymous online and direct marketing campaigns. When selling financial services products, human interaction in ‘closing the deal’ will be an increasingly essential component of the front office sales effort.

This research is expected to serve as a benchmark for European companies to see what CRM strategy best fits their situation. A proper CRM strategy is an indispensable tool in order to survive in today’s market conditions. The full report including customer case studies can be downloaded at

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company’s annual revenues are EUR 5,8 billion and it employs over 50,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About Atos Consulting
Atos Consulting, the global consulting practice of Atos Origin, is a leading provider of business, process and technology consulting services. With more than 2,500 staff globally, it focuses on delivering proven, pragmatic solutions to the telecom, manufacturing, financial services and public sectors. For more information, visit

About EFMA
The European Financial Management and Marketing association (EFMA) is the leading association of banks, insurance companies and financial institutions throughout Europe. On a non-for-profit basis, EFMA promotes innovation and best practices in retail finance by fostering debate and discussion among peers supported by a robust array of information services and numerous opportunities for direct encounters. EFMA was formed in 1971 and gathers today more than 2,000 different brands in financial services worldwide, including 80 percent of the largest European banking groups. For more information, visit


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