Solutions for Community Banks, Solutions for Stronger Relationships

Posted on February 14, 2020
Share via

By Keith Henkel


I’m from a small community in Tennessee. My dad was on a board of directors at a local bank, so as a kid I spent a lot of time at the branch. I grew up being part of communities like that, and loved it. My work focusing on community banking is a very natural fit. I’ve always just liked that model.

A lot has changed since then, and throughout my career, I can say I’ve made pretty much all the mistakes you can make. But one of the most important things I’ve learned is that sometimes tech companies provide a solution, get past the sale, and then don’t have the type of services their customers need to execute successful campaigns. Bankers are great at relationships and are great at banking. They need support, though, when driving technology platforms, specifically in sales and marketing.

At FI Works, we execute sales and marketing campaigns banks can count on.

We see three primary challenges for institutions. The first challenge is gathering, integrating, and leveraging their existing data. I have a lot of experience building technology to integrate large scale data. When we started this business, the priority was to be able to gather all the bank’s data, then incorporate that data to form a holistic customer composite, and then to leverage the data to build strategic and compelling campaigns.

The second challenge is the proper use of artificial intelligence/machine learning. We wanted to make using these tools simple, so we created what we call “intelligent targeting.” Intelligent targeting tells us what customers need with high specificity, which makes our bank customers incredibly happy because they save time, money, and resources through extremely targeted communications. And, when you think about community banking, you have to consider the customer’s marketing fatigue. If customers receive repeated messages about products they don’t need or want, the value of the relationship dwindles.

The third challenge is helping bankers become more efficient at performing the day-to-day activities that help increase customer satisfaction, customer attention, and cross-sells. With FI Works, bankers can learn about a specific customer need, and we can automate the process of getting those conversion messages to them. Then, we help the banker track and measure all the subsequent steps.

Our services employ a high touch approach and can run entire campaigns for bankers. The automated campaign ability differentiates us from other platforms, which is so important because we don’t ever want to come back from a sale to find our customers weren’t able to properly use the product.

It’s exciting when we connect with bankers who genuinely understand the value of what we do. I’ve been in the banking industry for over 30 years, so while I feel confident I know what they need, making the connection for them that our solution can solve some of their challenges is a high point of the job.

Those moments are incredibly motivational and pull me through the challenges of being an entrepreneur. And when I’m not working, playing with my 15-month-old granddaughter is my top priority. She lives right here in town and, and it’s pretty much the best thing in the world. As she grows up, I’ll take her along with me in much the same way my dad did. Then, who knows what kind of company she’ll be starting 30 years after she begins her own career?