Salesforce allows us to serve our customers in the moments that matter most.”

Bill Hoffman, Chief Analytics Officer
 

Relationships are at the heart of business for U.S. Bank, the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank. Yet, over the years, customer trust has only built up within individual business divisions, even though a customer may have been working with multiple divisions such as banking, mortgage, investment, or payments. As a result, officials in each division had a different, and frequently incomplete, picture of their customers’ interactions.

While that type of fragmented experience isn’t unique in the commercial banking space, the Minneapolis-based financial institution made a conscious decision to switch the paradigm.

 

Salesforce is a critical partner for our transformation to be a truly customer-centric organization.”

Bill Hoffman, Chief Analytics Officer

Instead of perpetuating their existing siloed relationships, bank officials wanted to instill a “one U.S. Bank” mentality in their employees and create a unified customer experience that cuts across all their business lines.

To guide the new shift in direction, U.S. Bank chose the Salesforce Platform to give customers easy access to its financial services across all channels, including mobile devices, personal computers, ATMs, and more than 3,000 branches in 25 states.

“Salesforce is a critical partner for our transformation to be a truly customer-centric organization,” said Bill Hoffman, Chief Analytics Officer.

The move to Salesforce began slowly at first, when the Small Business Banking group was looking for a new vendor to support mobile applications. Steven Daniels, Senior Vice President and Director of Enterprise CRM, was part of the selection process.

“Salesforce gave us lead-management features and was compatible with our legacy systems in ways that other vendors were not,” Daniels said. “But it provided other benefits, too: data outside the data center, not paying for upgrades, not needing to buy new hardware every three years. Salesforce had a very different model.”

That 2009 launch created immediate benefits that were hard to ignore. The Small Business Banking group gained more agility and more flexibility to add or subtract built-in features, as well as a decreased need for technology assistance and new equipment, according to Daniels.

“Those are things we just couldn’t do on our previous platform,” Daniels said. “Most companies can get in their own way with existing technologies, processes, and environments. We did, too. But Salesforce helped us break through those issues — we can do almost 80% of our own modifications and configurations, so our technical team can focus more on integration and data quality tasks.”

Those results garnered attention from other areas of the bank, and in 2013, the company’s Home Mortgage division adopted Salesforce, followed by Wealth Management and a Payment Services unit. Two years later, the Commercial Banking group signed on as well. Today, about 12,000 of U.S. Bank’s more than 73,000 employees are Salesforce users.

The next step in U.S. Bank’s deployment of CRM is personalization, and the bank is partnering with Salesforce to implement that capability and strengthen the complex, high-touch relationships that involve a mix of banking services.

“Salesforce allows us to serve our customers in the moments that matter most,” Hoffman said. “They don’t come to us thinking they are working with U.S. Bank Home Mortgage or U.S. Bank Consumer Banking. They come to us thinking they are working with U.S. Bank. The Salesforce Platform gives our employees who are handling those relationships access to what they need to know, regardless of our internal division, so we’re one bank, one company to our customers.”

One example of this is Salesforce’s “team room” functionality, where up to 50 employees who work on a single customer account can see the information they need, when they need it.

“That single source of collective truth frees up time for our folks to do what they do best, which is to actually talk to the customer, understand their risk, and identify the product sets or service sets that are right for them,” said Hoffman.

In the past, customer records were manually kept or digitally housed within one business unit, but now that’s all changing, thanks to the Salesforce Platform.

“We’re moving from analog to digital on the overall customer experience,” Hoffman said. “We’re enabling it in real time. We’re making it holistic, so you can see across a customer’s relationship with the broader U.S. Bank.”

Salesforce’s mobility, said Hoffman, is a “huge value unlock,” as well.

“We can’t have folks chained to their desktops,” he said. “Salesforce makes it easy for them to get the information they need to meet customers where they’re at. Often, that’s not in the office. It may be at a client site or in transit.”

Getting people ready for the move to Salesforce has been a major consideration for U.S. Bank, and the company points to Trailhead, Salesforce’s guided learning paths, as an important part of that initiative.

“There is no better tool out there for learning the Salesforce Platform,” said Daniels. “It’s where you see innovation resonate — in every aspect of Salesforce — all the way down to the most basic individual user level.” When introducing Salesforce within a U.S. Bank unit, Daniels’ team has found individual users were much quicker to adapt to the Salesforce Platform once they completed the Trailhead paths.

This guided-learning approach has provided valuable education for the development team members, too, as it helped them easily find solutions to problems they were facing. Trailhead is now the most popular starting point for training on Daniels’ team, and they’re expanding its use to reporting, seasonal updates, and new product education.

The bank is benefiting from the networking capabilities of Salesforce, Daniels said.

“The various parts of the Salesforce Platform — such as Chatter and AppExchange — are full of incredible insights from industry-leading large organizations and small creative shops,” he said, mentioning that the U.S. Bank innovation team is now using Salesforce and starting pilot projects that involve the Internet of Things (IoT).

After eight years with Salesforce, U.S. Bank is ready to move to the next frontier and will soon be running two pilot programs using the artificial intelligence of Salesforce Einstein. One project will use Einstein’s artificial intelligence to improve and refine lead scoring. A second project involves a problem shared by all banking institutions: customer churn. One U.S. Bank team will use Einstein Discovery to understand and explain the causes of churn; the team will also use Einstein Builder to predict the likelihood of customer retention.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow us to see things that human beings just don’t have the capacity to see,” Hoffman said. “That augmentation of our analytics capability — bringing that into the frontline — that’s a game-changing tool in the toolkit for us. We’re really excited about Einstein because it’s going to allow us to see nonobvious patterns that will help us better serve our customers.”

“We want to embed machine learning and artificial learning capabilities into the normal processes that our employees are leveraging every day. It has to be natural,” said Hoffman. “It has to be truly centered on customer experience.”

In December 2016, U.S. Bank signed a five-year agreement, cementing its relationship with Salesforce as a mission-critical partner.

“Salesforce has shown us that they have an enablement culture where people are at the center, and the platforms they have created bring that to life for clients,” Hoffman said. “That is important to us, because it enables a key element of our one U.S. Bank philosophy and our core value of putting people first. Salesforce allows us to put our frontline in the best possible position to deliver our overall corporate strategy in service to our customers.”

 
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