Customer relationship management (CRM): a critical analysis of how CRM can be successfully implemented by NMB Bank limited.
This is a study on NMB and seeks to establish what the bank could do, through the implementation of CRM, to attract new customers and retain existing ones in the face of intensifying competition. The number of banks in Zimbabwe has increased tremendously over the last five years from less than seven to over fifteen. Ironically, this has taken place against a background of an ailing economy, which is shrinking and a reducing number of viable companies that can be targeted for banking business. A review of the history of banking in Zimbabwe was undertaken to show how NMB decided on CRM as a means of making a difference with customers and thus have a competitive edge over its rivals. In particular, the attitude of banks to customers and customer expectations was looked at together with the changes that have taken place over the years. Literature on CRM was reviewed and more attention was paid to the main causes of failures in the implementation ofCRM and how this could be avoided in the case of NMB. Lessons were drawn from what other banks like Nedcor and Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank (both of South Africa) have done to ensure a good measure of success in the implementation of CRM. Research was done to establish what it is that attracts customers to NMB, what NMB does better than its competitors and areas that NMB needs to improve on. Questionnaires (Appendices I and 11) were used in this regard and samples of customers from the three main sections of the bank (Treasury, Corporate Banking and Retail) were taken. The questionnaires had two sections, one with a select number of responses to choose from and the other open to unrestricted responses by the customers. The responses were analysed and presented in tabular form. Interviews were carried out on certain customers to get clarification on some responses to the questionnaires and to get firsthand feedback from different customers on their relationship with the bank. The major study findings were that customers greatly appreciate the personal attention that they are getting from NMB, which gave it an edge over its competitors. Customers value the fact that they can speak confidently to their bank knowing that their allocated Account Relationship Manager fully understands their business and that they have specific person/s to contact in the case of need. Regular visits and contact by NMB personnel was also cited as a strength. In one case, a customer related during an interview that no one from the previous bank had visited him in two years despite the fact that his office was less than one hundred meters from that bank! The study recommends a phased implementation of CRM with technology used as a tool and not as a champion of CRM. The emphasis is to be placed on the customer, the bank staff, the operational processes and maintaining the bank's strategy in focus. Unless all in the bank (from messenger to the CEO) share the same view of the customer's importance, CRM will be destined to fail due to inconsistencies within the system. On the other hand, unless the bank has a motivated, well informed and customer focused work force, then it is in vain that it is pursuing CRM. Operational processes too, must be refined with the primary objective of benefiting the customer and not merely for the convenience of the bank. The bank's strategy must keep customer interests at the fore since customers are the cause of the bank's existence.