As the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank, U.S. Bank focuses on fostering deep customer relationships across all its divisions. Yet, in the past, this used to be a challenge for the financial institution. Customer trust was only being built within individual business units, despite the fact that a customer might do business with multiple divisions such as banking, mortgage, investment, or payments.
Not surprisingly, officials in each division had a different, and frequently incomplete, picture of their customers’ interactions as a result. While that type of fragmented experience isn’t unique in the commercial banking space, the Minneapolis-based financial institution made a conscious decision to shift the paradigm.
The move to Salesforce started after the Small Business Banking group began looking for a new vendor to support mobile applications. Their old system relied on separate databases that each required individual updates and hardware that required constant upgrades. This meant data was siloed and could not intermingle, which prevented U.S. Bank from getting a complete picture of its customers. With Salesforce, all customer data collected from every branch lives in one system.
“We want to make sure we put customers at the center of everything we do,” Hoffman said. “So we need to have a unified view to create a unified customer experience. The way to do that is to enable our employees, so we’re leveraging AI and natural language in service of our front-line employees.”
With a single, unified database for all its customer information, U.S. Bank has the data it needs to understand its customers, and with Sales Cloud Einstein, it has the tools it needs to turn that information into results. To automatically build a model that can predict lead conversion, Einstein uses machine learning to search through historical lead data — all customized for U.S. Bank — without needing any additional data science or development. By sharing the insights gleaned from Einstein, U.S. Bank employees are able to work more effectively, and across all branches. For example, wealth managers can use retail banking insights to offer relevant products to customers in the wealth division.
“The A in AI should stand for augmented, not artificial,” said Hoffman. “There’s nothing artificial about a high-quality personalized relationship that a financial advisor or a commercial banker can build with a customer. AI takes some of the minutia out of that, and enables a human being to do what they do best, which is be a human and build a deeper relationship.” After implementing Einstein, U.S. Bank saw a 2.35x increase in conversion of top-ranked leads.
The company’s implementation of Salesforce in 2009 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.
Their increased productivity 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 employees are Salesforce users.
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 to adopt 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.
When introducing Salesforce within a U.S. Bank unit, the Enterprise CRM team found individual users were much quicker to adapt to the Salesforce Platform once they completed the Trailhead paths.
After eight years with Salesforce, and success with Sales Cloud Einstein, U.S. Bank was ready to see what else Salesforce Einstein had to offer. Despite requiring an AI solution customized to its unique needs, U.S. Bank nonetheless found there were many use cases for artificial intelligence. With myEinstein, U.S. Bank has the ability to predict anything in CRM — an ability that is powering many of its current projects. For one initiative, Einstein helps U.S. Bank solve a problem shared by all banking institutions: customer churn. The team uses Einstein Discovery to understand and explain the causes of churn and 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 non-obvious patterns that will help us better serve our customers.”