Using technology to know when not to use technology might sound like upside-down logic, but understanding when to push customers into electronic channels and when to get them physically in front of a teller or bank rep is vital for small banks to stay personally connected to their customers. Brian Coakley, CIO of North Country Savings Bank, a $250 million institution in Canton, NY, says using electronic channels to drive down costs and boost customer convenience is all well and good, but "as a community bank we need to make sure we move the right people to the electronic channel; but not everyone all the time, or we lose our ability to be a community bank. If they never do branch banking you lose your advantage as a community bank."

Coakley and the senior management team at North Country Savings recently embraced business intelligence technology from COCC to shed light on customer interactions by better collecting, sifting and presenting customer data in near real time to bank employees. After all, whether customer interaction is electronic or face-to-face it will be more effective if underpinned by sound and timely analytics.

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