top of page

Banking CRM Adoption Plan for Retail

Karl Keller

August 10, 2023

The retail bank has more direct customer interactions than any department. The bankers are responsible for generating referrals each day. The easiest way to jump start CRM adoption in the retail branch is to implement a referral tracking/incentive program.

Tellers, Head Tellers, CSRs and Branch Managers are responsible for generating referrals. Creating referral activity is a very simple process when using a CRM solution. Referrals are identified by listening to customers and asking simple questions. Referrals can be generated by having your associates start by saying two simple words following completion of their banking transaction – “I’m Curious”.   

I’m Curious - I noticed you are not setup to receive E-statements.  Would you like to be able to review 24 months of your statements at anytime day or night?

I’m Curious - I noticed you are keeping high balances in your free checking account, would you be interested in getting a better return on your investment? 

Referrals must be easy to create, easy to assign and quick to close. A referral is a potential opportunity that is identified by one person that is passed on to another associate for follow-up and closing. Some institutions allow self-referrals which would be a referral that is taken and business closed by the same person. The CRM automates the process by prefilling customer information and creating automated emails or notifications to the recipient of the referral. The Adoption Point here is that all referrals must be tracked.  If a referral is not in the system, it did not happen.

Branch Managers need to review referral activity weekly. The reports show how many referrals are being created by tellers, CSRs and others within the branch. Upon initial roll-out, do not set referral targets. Run for two months to get a baseline of referral activity. Identify and verbally recognize associates that are producing quality referrals. Once a baseline has been established, setup reasonable monthly targets for referrals.

To incent or not to incent. That is the question.  Providing incentives for referrals is a great way to build friendly competition between associates and branch locations. Referral programs add fun to the job and give associates positive feedback for a job well done. Incentives can vary by institution sales/service culture. Some institutions use cash incentives or points that can be used at the company store for logo wear and prizes. One of the most successful banks that had a 100% adoption rate had the bank president personally deliver incentives checks to the branch each month. 


Introducing a new tool into your banking environment requires proper training, on-going support, and management oversight. Banking CRM software is no exception. With a CRM, financial institutions can accelerate growth and reduce expenses by delivering on their customer service pledge.

Read the entire series:

1/5 - Senior Management

2/5 - Retail Adoption (this article)

3/5 - Commercial Adoption

4/5 - Servicing Adoption

5/5 - Operations Adoption

bottom of page