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Gartner Offers Financial Institutions Tips to Broaden Client Relationships

By helping customers better manage their finances with access to external data, financial institutions can broaden their customer relationships and meet some of their own short-term cost and revenue challenges.

By providing customers with access to external data, financial institutions can help their customers better manage their personal finances, and strengthen customer relationships in the process, Gartner contends. Further, by adding features and tools to established applications that encourage clients to better manage their money, institutions also can meet some of their own short-term cost and revenue challenges, the Stamford, Conn.-based research institute says.

Gartner recommends the following technology strategies:

• Debt Counseling -- Institutions should provide an easily accessible link on their corporate and Internet banking Web sites that enables customers to conveniently and discreetly access the bank's debt counseling services. Extending existing online customer service functionality -- such as call-back services and secure instant messaging and e-mail -- would make access to debt counseling services easier and more convenient for consumers.,

• Cash Flow and Money Management -- The growth of finance-based online social communities and the growing importance of finance gurus and price comparison Web sites and publications indicate customers' attempts to better manage their finances. Instead of viewing these developments as threats, financial institutions should leverage them to deliver tools that are useful to their customers. ,

• Account Consolidation -- Firms need to provide services that help customers move bank and savings accounts from multiple institutions to one provider, focusing on helping customers reduce their overall service fees.,

• Provide Cost-Saving Data -- By providing context-sensitive information on how to reduce expenses -- based on the customer's existing accounts/data -- the institution may help clients save money while enhancing customer-bank relationships.,

• Migrate More Consumers to Open Their Accounts Online -- Firms should provide customers with easier access to more online accounts, which cost less for institutions to deliver. ,

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