DSC Tech Library
Customer Relationship Management
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CRM Vendors and Customer relationship management software and products. Providing timely customer contact information is vital to maintaining successful business environment. Accurate information provided in an organized and thoughtful manner is the key to any business success.
TELEMATION, our CRM and contact center software, was built on this foundation. The ability to modify your Customer Relationship Management software is just as important in this ever changing business environment.
Our customer contact management and CRM call center software was developed initially with this concept.
Our Telemation Customer Relationship Management solution and contact center software is ideally suited for call centers throughout the world.
CRM software installation or business solution?
By: Lynne Roussell
There are many CRM options from contact managers to fully-blown integrated business solutions, so it is important to understand what outcomes you are looking for. These could be as simple as managing the sales pipeline, gathering more knowledge of prospects and customers to make better business decisions, better visibility of what staff are involved in, and so on.
Before signing the bottom line, ensure the solution you implement today can change and grow with your organisation and has an upgrade path and scalability. Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing a low-rent system that only addresses one or two problems and eventually becomes a noose that strangles your business.
Although it is important to involve staff who will be affected by the solution in the initial design, keep in mind that a professional may have the ability to look at your business processes from an unbiased view point and suggest better, albeit different, ways of achieving your goals. Your staff members are not experienced in designing a CRM solution and will not see any pitfalls until too late.
Crawl, Walk, Run
I encourage clients to look at implementing a phased solution. This may be as simple as installing the ‘out of the box’ software and training your staff in the standard product on day one. Successful implementations work where a ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ philosophy is adopted. If you throw too much change at staff all at once, expect some casualties.
We all seem to be working harder and longer today and a CRM implementation will require your key staff to find additional time in their day to devote to implementation. Don’t underestimate the time required. Consider bringing in additional resources to take over some of your key staff members’ daily chores, to give them the time needed for this implementation. Your key staff will feel real pressure during this time and will shoulder any failures personally. Give them the assistance they need.
Often staff feel threatened by the changes a CRM solution brings. These can include perceptions such as ‘big brother is watching,’ or that they have to enter a lot more information. Most organisations do not put enough time and effort in to managing these changes. Involve your staff in the planning phase and get them excited about the benefits this solution has for them - that way it will succeed. Also, don’t underestimate the ability disgruntled staff have to ensure its failure. You only need to read reports by Gartner Group to realise that not all CRM implementations succeed.
The successful implementations happen when it is not an option for staff to not use it. We often talk about ERP systems that are old and ‘clunky’ but they still must be used by those staff employed to carry out accounting functions. This is because they have to use it in order to do their job. Unless the same criteria are put on your CRM system, some staff will ‘opt out,’ using the argument that the information is not up to date so that is why they are not using it. It takes strong management to ensure compliance in using the tool.
Some warning signs to look for during the post-implementation phase are:
Get a user group together to look at any areas that may be causing issues and make minor changes quickly to get the users back on board.
- Low user adoption – only a few key staff are using it
- Customer complaints relating to service are not decreasing
- Sales revenue is not increasing
Many CRM systems start off with a hiss and a roar, only to flounder a year or so down the track. The most frequent reason for this is that the person who championed the project is promoted, or moves on from the organisation.
If the business has not planned that person’s successor, no one will ‘own’ the CRM system and it will die a slow and painful death. It’s bad enough in that company money and time will have been wasted, but worse still is that the intended benefits will not be realised.
Assuming you have planned, installed and are operating your CRM solution effectively, you should be able to:
The better you keep track of your customers by utilising your information about them, the more competitive your business will be.
- Ensure your organisation is always at the forefront of your customers’ mind
- Target customers more effectively therefore reducing operational and marketing costs
- Strengthen the ties to your best customers or even better, know who your best customers are
- Have your customers refer others to your organisation.
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