written by David Lewis

In many ways, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools seem tailor-made for the financial services industry. Organizations from credit unions to insurance companies face the pressure to deliver personalized customer service while using new technologies to accelerate productivity. In this light, relying on a CRM platform like Salesforce has helped both front-line staff and high-level strategists be more effective in catering to customer needs. 

Some leaders, however, are finding Salesforce a bit cumbersome and their workforce is not as productive as needed – namely because of the other platforms they are using. The SaaS revolution has changed the face of financial services, with new tools to help teams manage insurance claims, process loan applications, monitor investment activities and more. Taken individually, these tools can help teams stay agile and efficient as they complete workflows and collaborate with other teams.

But that’s individually. Collectively, this nest of systems and applications can add up to document chaos. And that is a problem for organizations that need to manage a non-stop flow of financial and insurance transactions. From customer banking to retirement investments, financial businesses must maintain immaculate records and meet strict security and compliance regulations. At any moment, customers and users can access sensitive financial data, payroll reports or stock information – making data privacy, retention and accuracy paramount. 

Yet version control can go dangerously awry when documents are shared across departments and updated with different information in different systems.

When Technology Creates Confusion

Imagine a bank manager looking up a customer’s information in the Salesforce window. The customer is annoyed about a denied mortgage application. To obtain some financial history, the bank manager has to leave the CRM and go into an accounting system and download a spreadsheet with the customer’s income details. After visiting a third system to view the customer’s credit report and then another system containing information on a past auto loan, the manager updates their copy of the spreadsheet, returns to Salesforce and continues the original task.

While time consuming, ultimately, the bank manager has the needed information to make a decision. But the next employee to access the original spreadsheet is now working from outdated information. When the customer calls back, they are annoyed by a service representative referring to outdated data. In the meantime, the bank manager shares the updated spreadsheet with another team, who changes their copy without informing others. That team completes another customer transaction on what is now a third and conflicting set of content.

Multiply this by the number of staff performing a high number of tasks and soon content chaos is created across the organization.

Obviously, this leads to wasted hours, lagging productivity and customer irritation. But it can also pollute everything from sales conversations to C-suite strategies. Given the role of analytics these days in shaping smart decisions, outdated content can result in faulty metrics and insights that are not actually true. As staff travels in and out of various systems and stores sensitive content or data where it may not be safe, financial leaders can find themselves facing heightened vulnerabilities, failed compliance audits and even a catastrophic breach.

Controlling Document Chaos

This weakened productivity is frustrating to insurance and financial services leaders who expected their Salesforce investment to drive efficiency. But, good news: this chaos is also avoidable. Using new integration tools like Intellective Unity can ensure important content and data from other systems is accessible from Salesforce. Users can conduct customer research and complete workflows without leaving the Salesforce interface.

To eliminate version control errors and incorrect information, consider implementing these integration best practices:

  • Review document storage practices in your organizations. Are the same files taking up space in multiple applications and systems? Are you paying needless storage costs for different versions of the same customer record or transaction log? Investigate how integration can help you store one document in one site while making it available across departments – saving you money and ensuring everyone works with correct information.  
  • Identify the systems and documents that will give your team the knowledge they need to deliver personalized customer conversations. Then connect the right systems into Salesforce. Your workers no longer have to pause interactions to look up the customer’s insurance history in other applications or worse, miss an important fraud report that lives in another database.  
  • Talk to your security and compliance experts - do they see users bumping up against security controls or being locked out of systems? Work together to find ways to access that data within Salesforce without violating any security and compliance regulations.  
  • Once you have identified helpful information that should be available in Salesforce, ensure your staff can synchronize information across multiple systems – eliminating the need to manually update the same content or data in different applications.  

Technology has transformed the potential for great customer service in the financial services and insurance industries – and customers expect it. Chances are they will continue to prioritize banks, brokers and insurers that understand their needs and deliver personalized solutions. Tools like Unity for Salesforce can help leaders get more out of their Salesforce investment, while staff intensify brand loyalty through meaningful touchpoints. By clearing up document chaos, leaders can focus on innovation – and build a stronger foundation for deeper customer relationships.