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 customer service is vital to maintaining successful business relationships. Accurate and timely information provided in a professional manner is the key to any business and service operation.
Telemation, our CRM software application, was built on this foundation. But the flexibility to change is just as important in this dynamic business environment.
Telemation call center software was designed with this concept from the very beginning.
That is why so many call center managers, with unique and changing requirements, have chosen and continue to use Telemation CRM software as their solution.
Our Telemation CRM solution is ideally suited for call center service bureaus.
The following is an article relating to the CRM industry.
CRM, Success, and Best Practices (Part II)
By: Glen S. Petersen, GSP & Associates, Inc.
Components of the Best Practice and Assessment Model
The Best Practice and Assessment Model is organized into nine sections. Each section addresses culture- and initiative-oriented issues because for CRM to be effective, it must not only be implemented correctly but it also must be integrated into the fabric of the organization so that it has a chance to be understood and grow. The top six sections are primarily oriented toward the culture, while the bottom three sections address implementation issues. Figure 1 provides a graphical version of the model. It is then followed by the description and rationale for each section.
Figure 1: Best Practice and Assessment Model
Policy and Strategy
These elements reflect how the organization intends to implement its mission and vision. It is supported by relevant policies, plans, objectives, and processes. These materials provide the framework for initiatives and impact both top and bottom line results. Starting a CRM initiative in an environment where policies skew behavior toward low risk and cost containment is analogous to launching a carrier-based plane without an engine; it will clear the deck but will quickly sink into the sea of bureaucracy.
How a company hires, manages, develops, and trusts its employees impacts the degree to which the full potential of the organization will be achieved. Many organizational studies have demonstrated a significant correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. The heart of CRM is the entirety of the customer experience. In most cases, this includes either the productivity or interface with employees.
The heart of CRM of course is the customer. However, saying that the organization is customer centric versus its behavior can be two radically different perspectives. This section emphasizes the elements that would broadly be interpreted as being consistent with the best practices of CRM as an operational strategy.
A fundamental tenant of CRM is to provide a consistent, seamless, and transparent interface with customers across channels. Partners must be considered an extension of the organization, which means that they need to be an integral part of the best practices model.
How a company designs, manages, and improves its processes in support of its customer value generation strategy will ultimately define the return generated for shareholders. However, mere process redesign or automation will not guarantee success. Success relates to how the processes align with each other and the overall motivation and spirit of the organization.
Ultimately, the focus of any CRM initiative must be results. CRM represents an enormous investment in systems, processes, and people: there must be a return. The question is, did the company define success up-front and did it achieve what it set out to do.
The last three sections of the model are framed by a double line to emphasize that these three elements must work in unison to create the necessary combination of decisions and actions to generate a successful CRM initiative. The double arrows denote an ongoing interaction with various elements and aspects of the enterprise to achieve this purpose. The three elements are leadership, program management, and change management; each discipline provides a necessary but not sufficient component of success. This helps to explain the relatively low success rates within the industry. When CRM is approached from the perspective of technology only or project only, it is destined to fail. There are few truly customer centric organizations and CRM is not a natural extension for any organization that is structured along functional lines. It is an organizational change issue and senior management must be engaged in the process not merely supportive of it.
Senior management must be committed to making CRM the operational strategy for the company and be ready to place their reputation on it. Anything less is unlikely to endure the personal investment required to rally the organization around this vision and make it successful. Senior management must provide the directional vision for the initiative and provide ongoing guidance and resources to see it through.
The use of the term program management is deliberate. Program management typically is used on multiphase projects and implies a more complex environment and the accountability for achieving results. Any CRM project that resembles an enterprise initiative requires the skill and sophistication of program management.
As outlined above, CRM is a change management issue for any organization attempting to embrace it. CRM is a business philosophy first and then a deployment of technology. Change management must be disciplined and follow best practices similar to any other project based activity. The change management aspect is often better served by treating it as a parallel set of activities that must tie together at the program management level. This is another reason why a program manager is highly desirable for these initiatives.
Success then (based on achieving tangible and measurable results) is achieved through institutionalizing the CRM philosophy and operational reality through a carefully articulated implementation process that requires the three elements of senior management leadership, program management and change management. It is the intention of the model not to be prescriptive as to a specific methodology to get there but rather to better understand the destination and the tools that need to be in place to get to some desired level of achievement. Remember, CRM is a journey, not a destination. However, on the road one needs signs to make sure that you are on course; likewise, successful implementations require a distinct and unique definition of results for each phase—without these, an organization is likely to lose focus.
The self-assessment process offers an organization the opportunity to learn about strengths and weaknesses and about how the organization is progressing on the journey to CRM excellence. One could accomplish this task without any scoring system at all. However, numeric results are useful from the standpoint of assessing progress.
First, the assessment criteria contains a description of the key concepts and what are thought to be best practices. A rationale is provided for added clarity. The observer needs to compare the situation in his or her organization with this description. Then the observer must consider the degree to which the criteria meets the following requisites:
The scoring system is based on a 1000-point system similar to the Baldrige Quality Award System. This model places a significant number of points on results with the reason for this emphasis is that the CRM strategy is about improving performance; all of the other activities and steps are a means to that end. It is very difficult to be completely descriptive in terms of all the subtleties and details associated with this process; therefore, by placing the large number of points on results one does not have to account for this level of detail. A summary of the point system is as follows:
- Is there a clear definition of who is responsible for this section? If no one is specifically accountable, then it is less likely that it will happen.
- Is the approach or philosophy of the organization consistent with the best practice?
- Is the commitment to this approach or activity documented to validate that it is part of the plan or was included in the original plan and implementation.
Remember that success is really a function of getting all the sections correct, so an assignment of a lower point score does not infer that one can neglect that area. The point score for each section will be included in the lead description of each section.
- Policy and Strategy – 50 points
- Employees – 100 points
- Customers – 100 points
- Partners – 50 points
- Process – 100 points
- Results – 300 points (Financial 90 + Employees 50 + Customer 120 + Partner 40)
- Leadership – 100 points
- Program Management – 100 points
- Change Management – 100 points
After assessing each section, your points will be totaled and compared to the 1,000 point potential. Points for each criterion are allocated as percentages. If the criterion requires a yes or no answer, then either 100 percent, or 0 percent is received. Use a range if the criterion is more subjective.
About GSP & Associates
GSP & Associates, Inc. is a consultancy that is dedicated to helping user organizations to
leverage their investment in CRM related tools. The company provides expertise in the strategic
and operational application of CRM tools, sales tools, sales process modeling, and business case
development and ROI analysis.
About The Author
Glen S. Petersen is an internationally recognized speaker, writer,
practitioner, and thought leader in the Customer Relationship
Management (CRM) and e-Business industries. Mr. Petersen has
held senior level management positions with systems integration and
end user organizations. As a visionary and early adopter of Sales
Force Automation (SFA), in 1986 Mr. Petersen led one of the first
successful national implementations of SFA in the United States.
Realizing the tremendous future of this new technology,
Mr. Petersen joined a SFA software start-up company in 1988 and had the pleasure of working
with many of the pioneering organizations that deployed sales force automation at a time when
most organizations were unaware of its existence. In 1991, Mr. Petersen left the vendor
community to do consulting. This experience combined with his background in operational and
strategic planning places Mr. Petersen in a unique position to advise and assist clients in this
challenging area of change management and technology integration. During this period, Mr.
Petersen has developed a number of proprietary facilitation techniques, which help organizations
to better understand the potential of these technologies, and how to rally the organization around
a single threaded, phased implementation approach. Prior to founding GSP & Associates, Mr.
Petersen was Senior Vice President at ONE, Inc. and Ameridata, a $1.3B provider of hardware,
software, and services. In these positions, Mr. Petersen sold and directed operational strategy
engagements and helped major corporations articulate and justify their CRM and e-Business
Mr. Petersen is the author of six books:
Mr. Petersen can be reached at 505-771-1956 or email@example.com
- High-Impact Sales Force Automation: A Strategic Perspective
- CRMS: ROI & Results Measurement
- CRM Leadership and Alignment in a Customer Centric World
- ROI: Building the CRM Business Case
- CRM Best Practices: Self Assessment
- Making CRM An Operational Reality