Human Buffer

By Doug Bartholomew Print this article Print

Why Citizens National Bank threw out Siebel in favor of Intuit's QuickBase.

Human Buffer

To make sure his 16 calling officers didn't throw up their hands this time around when they were asked to switch to QuickBase, Singleton cleverly put in a human buffer between them and the technology. His reasoning was that because the officers tend to be old-school bankers, they needed a little extra coddling. "We have some older relationship bankers who don't like technology," he admits. He assigned each loan officer a transcription agent—usually an administrative assistant who picks up the sales contact and activity information and enters it into QuickBase, logging it in as if he or she were that banker. "Our loan officers dictate the information to them," he explains.

Davis of Deloitte says that's not at all unusual with CRM projects. "That's a very common practice," he says. "It may not be the best practice, but for the people doing this, their primary skill is not interfacing with the computer.

"If the extra two hours they save by not putting information into the system are two hours the salesperson is out making the bank an extra $200,000, then it's worth it to have someone else do it," Davis concludes. "You have to remember, we had successful salesmen long before we had sales-force automation systems."

Citizens National Bank Base Case

Headquarters: 200 N. Elm St., Waxahachie, TX 75165
Phone: (972) 938-4300
Business: Independent, full-service community bank providing fi nancial services to businesses and consumers in Ellis County and surrounding counties.
President and Chief Executive Officer: Mark Singleton
Financials: The privately held bank has total assets of $400 million.
Challenge: Apply customer relationship management system to improve tracking of sales leads and follow-up activities for 16 relationship bankers to boost sales and profi tability.

Baseline Goals:

  • Maintain or exceed the bank’s current 12% annual growth rate.
  • Continue to grow the number of branch offices, which was 4 in 1999 and stands at 15 today.
  • Increase market share to 50% or higher in eight counties south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.
  • Boost cross-sales ratio, from an average of 2 to 2.5 bank products and services per customer today toward the 6 to 7 ratio achieved with the bank’s best customers.

This article was originally published on 2007-02-26
Doug Bartholomew is a career journalist who has covered information technology for more than 15 years. A former senior editor at IndustryWeek and InformationWeek, his freelance features have appeared in New York magazine and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.
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