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Grow your client relationships with a customer data platform

Apr 10, 2023
By: Matt Sabo

Successful community financial institutions have always been viewed by their clients as trusted financial advisors. 

Clients traditionally relied on institutions to provide practical monetary deposit options, combined with personal and small business lending. However, over time, clients have come to expect a greater diversity of financial services.

In Wipfli's recent survey of 250 U.S. banks, “exploring new revenue streams” was listed as a top priority. Among those surveyed, 40% had added insurance, 50% had added trust services and 63% had added wealth advisory services.

But as banks add to the diversity of services they offer, they face the challenge of centrally tracking their client’s accounts and account activity. If they want to manage and foster successful financial relationships, financial institutions need to have insight into a client’s needs across services.

What is a customer data platform?

A customer data platform (CDP) is software that allows financial institutions to unify client data from multiple systems. It helps them effectively map all account activity, so that they have a more holistic understanding of their clients’ needs and behaviors.

Most banks, even those with a CRM system, do not have the ability to create those mappings. They lack visibility into actions transacted across multiple portfolio management systems. And they can’t distill that data into a single set of information that identifies and describes their clients and associated households.

But most CDP systems are affordable and can form the basis of a sound master data management and data governance program. They can also tightly integrate with affiliated CRMs, to help increase capability. Examples of a CDP include Microsoft Dynamics Customer Insights and Salesforce Customer Data Platform. 

What does a customer data platform do?

A CDP works by importing a curated, authoritative set of client data from a CRM system. From there, the platform can map that data to all the client identifications and account identifications associated with each portfolio management system.

Grow your client relationships with a customer data platform

Mapping can then be used as the central reference controlling governed client-based reporting. Most importantly, it permits banks to comprehensively aggregate balances and transactions by any set of characteristics that can be used to segment clients. That includes characteristics such as sales, risk or operations.

Mapping can also be largely automated in CDPs by cross-referencing multiple identifying characteristics, such as tax IDs, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. These can be manually adjusted through the CDP’s user interface when necessary.

The implementation process

If you want to leverage CDP mapping to create governed client-based reporting, consider your data first. For a proper implementation, your institution needs to understand what data are available, and how and where data are stored. This data discovery phase makes it easier to define mapping relationships across all portfolio management systems.

It’s also important to talk to your end users and other stakeholders to understand what features will be the most effective. They can help you identify areas where automation or greater visibility will give you a better ROI. And they can also save costs by eliminating the features you don’t need.

Next, you’ll need to look at software selection. Compare features and costs of available CDP platforms that integrate best with your financial institution’s systems. The right solution is the one that will integrate smoothly and provide your institution with features it needs to make better business decisions.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli understands the challenges a competitive market brings. Our advisors are here to help your financial institution with the technology, talent and compliance guidance it needs to keep up with the latest industry developments. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your financial institution stay relevant. 

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Matt Sabo
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