Nationwide completes £10m CRM project

Nationwide has rolled out a customer relationship management software system to support 680 branches and two call centres in a...

Nationwide has rolled out a customer relationship management software system to support 680 branches and two call centres in a project worth more than £10m.

The building society estimates it will save around £300,000 a year through the software from AIT Group, partly by a more effective use of marketing materials such as leaflets posted out to customers.

The previous customer information system used by Nationwide was not sophisticated enough to provide a summary of customer transactions across all channels - bank branch, telephone, internet and call centre.

Nationwide began to roll out the CRM system to its branches in June 2001, in conjunction with IT services company Unisys.

“We are at an early stage yet but the [new CRM system] has supported over 1.5 million transactions with our customers,” said Michael Humphreys, programme director for the CRM project at Nationwide and head of technology development at Nationwide.

“With each of these transactions our employee has a profile of the customer, with their recent transactions and can see all the products they hold.”

Under the next stage of the project the CRM software will be integrated with Nationwide’s internet banking service, which is based largely on web services architecture and Microsoft’s .net technology.

“We are looking at our marketing and analytics capability and can [use the software] to do more analysis of our cost needs and to better target our customers,” Humphreys said.

CRM has been one of the most heavily hyped technologies of the past five years but many companies have struggled to use the software effectively, analysts have said.

Bob McDowall, a director of Bloor Research, said Nationwide would need to secure the support of its staff and change the culture of its business if it was to get full value from its CRM investment.

“A lot of financial firms have struggled to get value out of CRM,” he said. “Staff need to know why they are using the system. Is it intended to improve the quality of service and retention of accounts or is it a tool to sell more financial products? There has to be a long-term commitment to CRM that requires a culture change in the organisation.”

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