REVIEWER: Aaron Garner, senior vice president of strategic marketing for Sovereign Bank.

BACKGROUND: Sovereign Bank is a $36 billion banking firm with 550 community banking offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

PLATFORMS: In our current arrangement, Harte-Hanks is serving as a service bureau for our data; the Allink suite of products is not installed on our systems.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Harte-Hanks Allink Suite – which in this case encompasses Allink Daily Deposit Builder, PCIS and nTouch – provides us with a full-circle view of our customers to measure changes in our customer accounts. The system helps our marketers capitalize on changes in customer behavior either in daily batch or real-time processing. Allink Daily Deposit Builder (DDB) is a marketing engine that reviews each customer transaction and interaction and triggers personalized, multichannel communications whenever a customer makes a significant transaction or indicates some other form of changing behavior. Highlights of the product include the ability to identify significant and uncharacteristic changes in a customer's account balances and account velocity, and provide our bankers with a hot alert the next morning. This resulted in the ability to more effectively meet customer needs and enhance the bank's revenue stream. The nTouch element enables us to see a holistic view of each customer relationship and also facilitates our call center Internet integration. nTouch also includes campaign management and lead management tools. We use Harte-Hanks P/CIS as a source of customer data from which to pull information into nTouch so the information can be viewed on the desktop. The Allink Suite program is geared to our customers. Using Allink Daily Deposit Builder, we predict we can lower our average attrition rate from 14 percent to 12 percent a year within a particular group, which amounts to savings of $3.6 million for the bank. Applying this to all of our customers will mean even greater savings. We anticipate the system will, over the course of its first year in usage, generate cross-sell opportunities that will amount to nearly $3.5 million.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Allink Suite is helping us identify changes in customer behavior each day (such as an uncharacteristic increase or decrease in account or household balances, or an increase or decrease in account velocity) so we can better service and retain our customers and easily identify cross-sell opportunities.

STRENGTHS: The Allink Suite provides us with a complete, end-to-end solution to help us retain our customers and understand their changing behavior quickly. We've experienced quick ROI, and the entire solution was up and running in a matter of weeks, thanks to the team at Harte-Hanks.

WEAKNESSES: Allink DDB provides us with alerts on negative balance accounts or if loan proceeds are going into a checking account and other unusual account activities. This functionality is extremely beneficial, but we need to tweak the product's rules around these activities to be able to easily weed out the unimportant activities. It would be helpful to have some of those rules initially built into the product.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected Harte-Hanks over several other solutions because we found the other choices lacked the proven results in our industry and rules-based technology that was already available within the suite's Allink DDB. The rules-based technology was important to us because it enabled us to combine Harte-Hanks industry expertise and proven results with our knowledge of our customer base, our customers' financial needs and their preferences.

DELIVERABLES: Our rollout of Allink Daily Deposit Builder began in December 2001, and by May we had rolled it out to more than 500 branches. The Allink Suite opens communication between the branch personnel and the customers, which then leads to an open discussion and possible cross-sell opportunities.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Harte-Hanks worked with us diligently to ensure the project came in on time and on budget. The Harte-Hanks team set up everything for us in our first phase of the rollout, helping us to conserve our internal resources. They had phase one implemented and showing results within two months. It was a very smooth process to get this up and running. Harte-Hanks handled all of our demands and our aggressive time frame.

DOCUMENTATION: Because this is a services solution provided through Harte-Hanks, we do not have to deal with documentation at all. We send them our data, and they reply back with leads.

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