The financial meltdown that started in 2008 has had a severe influence on financial institutions worldwide. Financial sectors, and especially banks, were impacted severely due to bad debts that reached record highs. During this period, it became clear that banks will have to review their client-service strategies, as well as the way that income is generated from their clients. One way is to increase the income earned from existing customers by cross-selling more products to these clients. To increase the income earned from clients by improving the amount of products sold to clients, banks need to retain their client base.
In most South African business banks, a customer relationship management (CRM) process is followed. CRM has become an important part of relationship banking; and it plays a significant role in customer acquisition and maintaining a profitable business relationship. Despite much research on cross-selling and satisfaction, no study seems to provide a clear indication on the role of CRM in providing customer satisfaction and cross-selling in the South African business-banking sector.
This study will attempt to determine the role of CRM in satisfaction and cross-selling in business banking. For this purpose, the client base of a commercial bank in South Africa will be utilised. The study will focus on business clients in the small, medium and large sectors of the bank. The purpose of this research is to determine the role of multi-level CRM in satisfaction and cross-selling in the business-banking segment.
The research objectives driving this research are:
• To determine whether those segments serviced through different CRM processes experience different levels of satisfaction;
• Investigating whether those segments with higher levels of satisfaction show more cross-selling;
• Discovering whether those customers exposed to CRM over longer periods of time have higher levels of satisfaction;
• Assessing whether those segments serviced through higher levels of CRM result in higher levels of cross-selling;
• Determining whether customers exposed to CRM over longer periods of time demonstrate a higher cross-selling propensity;
• To investigate whether customers with high levels of cross-selling have a greater likelihood to recommend their bank to others;
• To determine whether a higher likelihood to recommend within segments shows higher levels of cross-selling;
• Assessing whether segments differ in their likelihood to recommend their bank to others; and
• Investigating whether customers with a longer bank relationship have a higher likelihood of recommending their bank to others.
To execute the research, relevant secondary databases need to be sourced. The first database was from a research company, which conducts research for the bank in scope; while the second database would be from the bank in scope’s warehouse. After evaluating the databases for the relevance and quality of the data, the databases were combined into a final dataset – for the purpose of data mining – to address the research objectives.
The population for this study consists of small, medium and large business clients of one of the banking groups in South Africa. The results indicated the existence of significant differences between these business segments in terms of their satisfaction experienced; and they confirmed an association between the length of a customer’s relationship with the bank and his/her level of satisfaction experienced.
When considering cross-selling and the likelihood to recommend, the results also demonstrate that a positive relationship exists between customers as regards their cross-selling ratio and the likelihood to recommend their bank.
The findings from the study should guide managers to distinguish between the satisfaction experienced and the cross-sales generated by the CRM structures used in specific segments in business banking. The study should contribute to the body of knowledge in CRM and cross-selling by adding to the literature knowledge base.