DSC Tech Library
Customer Relationship Management
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CRM Solutions and customer relationship management software and products.
Providing timely customer service information is vital to maintaining a successful business. Accurate information provided in an organized and thoughtful manner is key to business success.
TELEMATION, our CRM and contact center software, was originally built on this foundation. The ability to modify Customer Relationship Management software is important in this ever changing business environment.
Telemation Customer Relationship Management solution and contact center software is ideally suited for call centers throughout the world.
CRM Best Practices: Conducting a Needs Assessment
The following is an extract from the article "CRM Best Practices: Conducting a Needs Assessment" by Joe Outlaw from CRM Daily:
"Does your organization really need to conduct a CRM needs assessment? How extensive (and expense) would this be? Like a lot of things -- it depends.
Businesses just beginning their CRM journey may feel the low-hanging fruit of CRM opportunities is right at eye-level -- very little analysis necessary. Others looking to move to the next level will find a structured needs assessment critical to optimizing their CRM investments.
Determining CRM Opportunities
The purpose of CRM needs assessments (CNAs) is to identify CRM-related opportunities, scope out programs and projects to take advantage of those opportunities, and evaluate and prioritize them for execution. Thus, the deliverables from a CNA are a list of prioritized CRM projects and perhaps a roadmap with implementation timelines.
"The most important thing is to determine, in advance, the questions you are trying to answer. For most organizations, the first one would be, 'How can we make more money or save more money in ways that improve our customers' experiences?'" says Forrester vice president Erin Kinikin.
Along those lines, another key question to be answered by a CNA is, "What do our customers really need and value?" says Deloitte senior partner Ralf Schwarzendahl.
The stage of CRM and the sophistication of the business will dictate the level of research into customer needs and drivers required in a CNA. It is always useful to begin with a thorough analysis of the internally stored customer-interaction data contained in purchase histories and customer-service records, for example.
"Don't neglect your own customer data. Most organizations already have the raw data, even if they have not studied it, to better understand their customers' needs," Kinikin told CRM Daily.
Moving beyond the analysis of historical interaction data, external consultants and market researchers often are engaged to collect primary research on customers' met and unmet needs, as well as the values behind them. The first stage of this discovery should be to gather insights from the internal customer-facing staff, typically found in the sales force and the customer-service organizations.
Role of External Consultants
"This internal research is necessary, but not sufficient. You should not stop after interviewing the internal staff," says Deloitte principal John Powers. The second stage would be to meet with or survey some current customers. A common third stage would be to broaden the interviews and surveys to include a larger sample of current, past and future (target market prospects) customers.
Reasons to use external consultants include their industry experience and expertise, their objectivity and their proven methodologies. Other reasons include their ability to see beyond internal and external respondents' biases and to press for root causes and drivers rather than accepting pat answers.
For example, the "Just give me a lower price" response rarely coincides with a customer's real or primary need. It takes probing and persistence to uncover deeper values and motivators. Internal staff are often too invested and reflexively defensive when dealing with customer feedback to conduct this stage of the discovery effectively.
For larger customer-sample sizes and to lend quantitative weight to the findings, market research firms are used. "We bring market researchers into about 25 percent of our engagements to do the actual surveying," Powers told CRM Daily. The fact that they generally offer lower fees than consultants is an additional reason to use market researchers for larger customer-sample sizes.
After the first intensive data-gathering round, it becomes necessary to place the information into a larger context. The next stage in a CNA -- analyzing and evaluating customer-related opportunities for improvement -- is the subject of Part 2......"
To view the entire article, visit www.crmdaily.com.