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Stop Wasting your Strategic Advantage

Karl Keller

December 11, 2023

Community Banks are the foundation of our local communities. Their investment in time, money and resources to help local residence and businesses is fundamental and important. Over the years, a transformation of Community Banks has taken place. The one strategic advantage community banks have over their big bank competitors is the ability to provide personalized service and know each and every customer. Sorry to say, this major advantage is being wasted away with the switch to a digital only strategy to banking.

If you go to twenty different community bank websites, here are common messages you will see. 

  1. As a community bank, we support our local communities by providing deposit and loan products directly to our local residence and businesses.

  2. We are different in that decisions are made locally with the emphasis that local decisions mean you can get answer back quicker than the larger institutions.

  3. We are personal, relationship building bank that wants to know you personally and provide products and services tailored to your needs.

The three items above, are typical to each and every community bank’s value proposition. So, what has changed?  Number 3 has changed. With the onset of COVID, community banks rushed to get new digital, online account opening systems in place so customers would not have to come into the branch to talk with a banker to setup their account. Great! Now you have a convenient way for prospects and customers to easily get a new account open to begin banking with you. 

However, what happened to the personal, relationship building banking strategy where we want to personally know each and every customer? In many community banks, this shift to a digital only strategy has driven a stake into the one major advantage that community banks have over their big bank competitors.  

Think about it. The larger national banking chains have had digital online account opening systems for years.  They steer customer to this self-service channel and continue to close community branch locations as they really don’t want to talk to every customer nor are they staffed to provide personalized service to every single customer.

So why are community banks wasting the number one strategic advantage by giving up on providing personalized service in the hopes of competing head to head with the big bank competitors using a digital only strategy? 

Community Banks can win against their large bank competitors by focusing on getting back to personalized, relationship building banking techniques.  

Here is a plan:

  1. Each branch needs to know their customers. Branch managers are responsible for reviewing their customer lists, balances and looking for cross-sell and servicing opportunities. This means managers need information and access to customer information. The best place to see this information is in a banking CRM where mangers can look at their customers, balances, notes and interactions.

  2. Use your banking CRM to automate customer contact strategies. Know which customers are your gold, silver and bronze customers. Gold customers should be called every 3 months, silver every six months and bronze customer at least once per year. 

  3. Review customers that are not gold, silver or bronze for potential. Which customers have the banking potential to be your new stars?

  4. Onboard new accounts with a combination of digital emails and personalized calls. Use your 2x2x2 onboarding technique (2 Days, 2 Weeks and 2 Months) to open up personalized conversations with each new customer. The focus should be on informing them of your other services so they move their total relationship to your organization.

  5. Call your customer on milestone dates. The easiest milestones to hit include birthdays, customer anniversaries. "Thanks for being a customer for 10 years!" 


Your banking CRM is important in helping provide personalized service. Use your CRM to track notes, referrals and future needs of your customers while at the same time letting your CRM system remind you of opportunities to call and provide personalized service. Get back making relationship building a primary priority for your community bank and stop wasting away your strategic advantage.

For more information about how a banking CRM can help your institution provide personalized service, contact Quest Analytics for a free demonstration at

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