Sample Case Analysis on Building Business Relationships: Windy City Bank

Introduction

In the contemporary society, customer engagement is continuously becoming important across all sectors. Increased customer awareness and predictable customer behavior has made it particularly possible to develop marketing plans that target specific customers, and which are based on the observed customer behaviors. Customer relationship management (CRM) has thus become an essential tool for promoting customer engagement in all businesses by helping businesses gain insightful knowledge on the behaviors of their customers. Through CRM, it has become possible for businesses to recognize the values of individual customers, and to customize various products for those customers. CRM enables businesses not only to gain visibility into the customer behaviors, but also to enhance their understanding of customers so that they can respond to those customers’ needs. In the banking sector for instance, customers pursue a variety of banking objectives from personal to business banking and financial cushioning, and CRM software can be recommended for their use. As such, a financial institution such as Windy City Bank would need a CRM solution to effectively manage its customer relationships.

Business Relationship Development

Criteria for Pre-Qualification

Most companies in the contemporary society work with many clients at the same time. This results in handling a lot of information, hence the need for a system that can be used to effectively handle customer information. For Windy City Bank therefore, various considerations were made before concluding on the need for this proposal. The bank has a client base consisting of up to 3,500 small and medium sized enterprises, five commercial lenders each working with 7 loan officers. Each loan officer interacts with approximately 100 clients. For each loan officer therefore, knowing the customer details is imperative, in order to ensure accuracy and reliability in financial transactions. This high number of clients therefore, is one of the criteria used to determine the need for a CRM. CRM systems help in managing multiple clients’ data effectively without any confusions or errors.

Secondly, the volumes and variability of data to be handled was considered. Given the large number of clients, their varied demographics, and varied banking practices, a CRM is considered a good solution for customer management practices. The CRM will help the organization pool together the huge volumes of data, use technological data management systems such as cloud computing to store the data for access across all the organization’s facilities, and be able to classify the data by the corresponding ownership attributes. Traditional data management systems come with the risk of data duplication, modification and even deletion, all outcomes of which would be disastrous for banking information. In line with this, Windy City Bank is considered to have attained the second criterion for consideration for the CRM proposal.

Other criteria included variability in the scope of work done by the organization for customers, and consistent need for efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy. In addition to using the CRM system to manage customer data, the bank would need to use that system to track banking behaviors of customers and to reach out to customers with services and products that are customized for their needs. Robust CRM systems support variable work and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

Building Trust

In order to get Windy City Bank to develop interest in the software and to actually buy it, it will be necessary to build trust with the bank especially during the first meeting. According to Yu and Pysarchik (2018), the first step in building trust in a business context is to establish an effective communication. The objective of that communication would be to show concern for the other organization. My role as a marketer is to propose a mutually beneficial relationship between Contacts R Us, Inc., and Windy City Bank. To do this, I would create an environment characterized with active listening, and recognition of the key issues and work processes associated with Windy City bank. I would give all the information about the CRM software, including its benefits to the bank’s business. In this regard, the objective would be to ensure that the software delivers its promises.

Besides the communication, respecting the bank representative’s time during the first meeting will be essential in the process of building trust. This would be achieved by being on time for meetings, taking calls, and answering questions about the software where necessary. I would also ensure that any issues raised are addressed immediately. At the start, probable issues may include concerns around delivery, operation effectiveness, outcomes and all the attributes of the software. By ensuring that there is a common understanding between Windy City Bank and Contacts R Us, Inc., I will be sure to create a positive environment for further business engagements.

Relationship Building Questions

The relationship between Contacts R Us, Inc. and Windy City Bank can be described as a relationship between software as a service (SaaS) provider and the customer. In such a relationship, the strength of the relationship determines its longevity and the scalability of the system. Tak and Park (2018) suggest that the relationship between a SaaS provider and a customer is such that the former generates revenue when the latter subscribes to a service. The customer will continue to subscribe to the service. Some of the questions that are worth asking include: what would the customer want to achieve with CRM software?; what are the strategies that the SaaS provider can use to customize the software to the customer needs?; how can the provider best relate with the customer to understand their needs and provide a solution to their quests? By answering these questions, we, as the SaaS provider, will be able to develop a continuously supportive relationship with the customer, which would result in financial benefits for us.

The relationship between the service provider and the customer, Contacts R Us, Inc. and Windy City bank, respectively, can be mutually beneficial to both parties and can be leveraged to provide opportunities for continued growth of bot. For the bank, continued growth would mean expanding number of customers. On the other hand, continued growth on the side of the provider means continuous profitability. By ensuring that the SaaS provider continuously adds value to the customer’s business, both organizations will be able to reap the benefits of the relationship between them, and subsequently build that relationship even further.

Establishing Source Credibility

Source credibility is described as one of the peripheral cues that determine the effectiveness of point of decision prompts. In reference to the relationship to be initiated between Contacts R Us, Inc. and Windy City Bank, source credibility would be concerned with the characteristics of the individual who gives the message. Since I will be responsible for making contact with the bank representatives, the receiver’s acceptance of my message will be based on their perception of my credibility, which will be determined based on two dimensions namely, trustworthiness and expertise. The trustworthiness dimension is described as the willingness of the message source to give valid assertions (Lee & Walker, 2019). On the other hand, the expertise dimension is measured by the ability to make valid assertions.

Considering the dimensions of trustworthiness and expertise, I believe I have the necessary capacity to be considered a credible source. First, the arguments in support of the CRM software for sale are already available. The software has been sold to other organizations and used with positive results, confirming its validity, efficiency and the effectiveness for application by Windy City Bank. With valid assertions at hand, the remaining aspects of credibility would be the willingness and capability to share those assertions, which constitute trustworthiness and expertise, respectively. Having performed the same task before in presenting bids for other software to potential users, I believe I have the capacity to share those valid assertions, and I am also willing to share with the customer. It is thus expected that Windy City Bank will confirm the source credibility, based on the perceived eagerness to share information and the clarity of information sharing, which can be construed to mean capability.

Situational Questions

Different situations require different approaches to solution. The choice of the right solution to a situational question can help in identifying the probably profitable courses of action. For the relationship between Contacts R Us, Inc. and Windy City Bank, various situational questions can define the context of growth and to guide decision making. First, one would ask how a particular feature of the software would impact on business operations, or particular outcomes. The objective of asking such a question would be to be able to focus on a meaningful and mutually beneficial goal. Such questions help in the development of a carefully planned discovery process, which initiates organizational progress both for the service provider and for the customer.

Situational questions are asked progressively from step to step. According to Yu and Pysarchik (2018), building relationships in a growing business is a question-based process, through which there is continuous learning. The step by step situational questioning is aimed at exacting problems in order to find more definite solutions. At each stage, both parties to the relationship ask, ‘what is the contribution of this next step towards the overall goal’? In this way, not only do the participants gain consistency in their progress towards the goals, but they also get enhance the quality of the relationship between them.

Need Questions

With the increasing complexity of the business environment in the financial sector, and the advancement of technology in the same sector, companies in that industry do need CRM software. Windy City Bank particularly needs the CRM software for various reasons. First, the increasing recognition of customer-centric service delivery as an essential business model implies that CRM software is needed. CRM is needed to help the bank develop a needs-based customer-centered business model. Through the software, it will be possible for the bank to classify its customers, to communicate with them concerning their preferences and to ensure that the organization’s products are aligned to its financial objectives.

Besides the need for CRM to create personalized customer experiences, Windy City Bank also needs CRM as a tool for boosting conversion to sales. Through enhancing the visibility of the customers’ patterns of interaction, it becomes possible for the bank to market directly to those customers, focusing on products that appear to be of benefit to them and using more efficient communication processes. These are outcomes that the bank needs to improve in in order to realize better productivity and better profitability. It is thus deductible that through the relationship between Contacts R Us, Inc. and Windy City bank, some of the bank’s needs will be made.

Stakeholder Description

From the beginning of the relationship between Contacts R Us, Inc. and Windy City Bank, various stakeholders will be involved. The first stakeholder is the economic user of the system. The economic user refers to the individuals (bank employees), who will be directly responsible for system implementation. All departments will have equitable access to the system with variations in what they can achieve with it. For instance, the loans officers for instance, will be able to allocate loans to customers while the tellers will only be able to instantiate withdrawals, deposits and such. The operations manager will be able to authorize various operations. The coach in this system will be the system developers. As the representative of Contacts R Us, Inc., I have the capacity to work as a coach, guiding both economic and business users of the system on its effective use. The business user will be the bank itself. The technical buyer will also be part of the Windy City Bank team. The bank will allocate one person who has the competency to select the required software, to communicate the customer expectations to the seller, and to ensure that customer satisfaction is achieved. The technical buyer will also be responsible for maintaining the relationship between the bank and Contacts R Us, Inc.

The key buying influence for the CRM software will be the Windy City Bank’s need for consistent customer engagement. The effects of the system on marketing efforts and its promise to deliver the required attributes are some of the factors that will influence buying. The key consideration for a company intending to buy a SaaS solution is the match between customer needs and the attributes of the system. For this to be evaluated, Windy City bank will have to identify the problem or gap on their side, understand what they would require from a SaaS system, engage with Contacts R Us, Inc., evaluate the available options, select the best option for their use, and make the purchase. The objective of initiating the first meeting from the vendor’s side is to be able to invoke the buyer’s interest in what CRM software can do to their business, and thus encourage this influence consideration process.

Potential Budget and Timing

The project budget is expected to be low to moderate depending on the choices that Windy City Bank will make. The initial capital costs of the CRM software sold by Contacts R Us, Inc., are diverse, ranging from roughly $ 2,100 to $ 3,600. This cost includes the cost of development (customization to customer needs), training users, testing, implementation and monitoring. Besides the initial capital investment, the bank will also be expected to pay an operations fee depending on the choices made for the CRM software. Contacts R Us, Inc., categorize the CRM systems into basic, standard and advanced with features advancing from basic to premium. The basic CRM software can cost as little as $ 27 per user per month in operation costs, while good advanced CRM software would cost roughly $199-$ 216 per use per month. In between, there are several options for CRM software that the company can choose from. As a recommendation, Windy City Bank should work with certain types of standard and advanced software that are relatively cheap. For instance, we have software that goes for $ 179 per user per month. Considering the magnitude of business that the bank will do with the system, the need for escalated security features, and the sensitivity of the data handled by the bank, this type of system would give the intended benefits. The timing of the project from contract approval to the system testing and review should take roughly 3 months given that most of the systems are already developed and only need to be customized to user needs.

Elevator Pitch Statement

As a bank, you definitely deal with many customers. I believe you value efficiency, effectiveness and control over your information, and you also value the distinction of customer information based on the customer attributes. At Contacts R Us, Inc., we have the solution for you. We have a variety of CRM software that you can use to manage your customer relationships, store customer information, monitor trends in customer behavior, and use those trends in customer-oriented marketing practices. The CRM software we offer is flexible and can be customized to your bank’s specific needs, and we are certain that you can be able to choose from the variety of options that we have. We are also giving you this system at relatively low costs compared to what you would get other systems in the market for, and with the flexibility to choose the system that fits your budget. I believe you would like to add value to your operations at limited cost and within a limited timeframe of about 3 months, and Contacts R Us, Inc. is giving you exactly what you need!

Features, Advantages and Benefits

The CRM solution that Contacts R Us are giving Windy City Bank is a robust system whose features include mobile CRM, contact management, reports generation, sales analytics by customer and employee, sales forecasting, and customer behavior prediction. It comes with the advantages of low cost, timely implementation, flexibility and scalability. It has various benefits including the ability to improve banker productivity, enhancing the effectiveness of marketing efforts, enhancing customer-journey personalization, improving sales, increasing loyalty and enhancing the effectiveness of customer communication among others.

Basic Oral Close

After this presentation, I believe that you have almost all the information that you can use to evaluate our system and make a decision. I would like you to discuss this further with your team and possibly reach out for the system. You can also reach me through the provided contact information in case you need any further details, and note that we are always ready to run a test for you upon your request and at no cost; we could use the data from Windy City Bank to know just how the system fits your needs. Do have a great day and feel free to contact me once you have made your decision.

Follow-Up Plan

To build the relationship further, I will continuously contact the technical buyer to follow up on progress towards the decision to buy the software. Once they agree, we will provide a service contract, based on which we will develop monthly schedules for maintenance monitoring for the system. A total of 3-4 hours will be allocated to Windy City Bank each month for follow up on the system performance and to address any issues that may crop up in the course of the system use.

Conclusion

The relationship between Windy City Bank and Contacts R Us, Inc. will depend on several factors, key of which is the degree of the latter’s ability to meet the needs of the former in terms of CRM software delivery. Various factors will be considered, various questions will be asked, and several arguments made in support of the system’s ability to address the needs of the bank.

 

References

Lee, I.P., & Walker, R.M. (2019). Does source credibility matter for point-of-decision prompts? A quasi-experimental field study to increase stair use. PLoS ONE, 14(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225520

Tak, O.S., & Park, S. (2018). Investigating SaaS providers’ market success based on the multivariate LGCM approach. Procedia Computer Science, 139, 227-235. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050918319240

Yu, J.P., & Pysarchik, D.T. (2018). Theoretical perspectives of supplier–buyer long-term relationships in India. Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, 25(1), 31-50. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1051712X.2018.1424692