Salesforce1 for Financial Services seeks to transform the way retail banks, wealth management companies and insurance providers attract, connect with and retain customers.
OK - where have we heard that before? But seriously, this is a big deal. Moving on:
The salesforce.com lead and referral engine for retail banking automates the process of identifying and nurturing prospective clients across every interaction with customer service reps, lenders, bank officers and sales and marketing teams. Leads across any channel including social, mobile and web are captured automatically and tracked, which gives retail banks a single view of all prospective customers.
Through the lead and referral engine, banks now have the tools to build 1:1 relationships with customers by understanding their unique needs and delivering them the right solutions at the right time.
That sounds like one heck of an ambition but reading on we see that Salesforce is teaming with Deloitte and nCino to develop bank specific applications that can be used in any environment i.e. desktop but increasingly mobile.
The last few years, Deloitte has been on something of a tear, acquiring the expertise to develop and deliver SaaS apps alongside their traditional on-premise services. Deloitte's Bank App is particularly interesting as it is offered as a discrete set of applications built on Force.com rather than as simple Salesforce add-ons.
Looking through the Deloitte materials, they appear to have covered many common situations, but most importantly, the integrations into the back end core banking systems so that customer reps get a real time view of all customer interactions, products and services in use. From an outwards facing perspective, Deloitte has also included social interactions from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. One of the claimed goals is to capture leads via these sources but I do struggle to see how that will work except for those relatively few use cases where potential customers turn to their social networks looking for recommendations.
Turning to nCino, this looks like a revamp of a solution that has been on the AppExchange since 2012 and with an emphasis on loan account management. While there is nothing wrong with that, vendors will need a lot more in their kit bags to satisfy customer needs.
Overall I see this as a good first step. While most of what the vendors are currently delivering centers upon staff productivity and efficiency I would like to have seen more about how this works with the call center and what part it plays in solving the customer engagement piece of the puzzle. This is where Paul Greenberg believes the next big step will come. Of Salesforce, he says that while it has the platform to innovate like crazy he worries that it runs the risk of becoming ossified from too much emphasis on process.
The financial services industry is huge and there is plenty of opportunity to change the customer experience to one that is pleasurable rather than the pain we often see cited. Will Salesforce be the platform and catalyst to achieve that? Right now, I would say their 'top of mind' lead gives them the opportunity to both develop and partner well. But they are not alone in wanting a share of this incredibly lucrative pie.
Images all via Deloitte
Disclosure: Salesforce is a partner at time of writing.