CRM Forum Resources

                  Making CRM Work

                               James ...

As with all major...
introducing new customer management skills and mind sets. Many
companies experience high turnover in call centre staff and...
across the sales, marketing, customer service, finance, and support and
maintenance functions.

The importance of the Inte...
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Making Crm Work 3 Determining Factors


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Making Crm Work 3 Determining Factors

  1. 1. CRM Forum Resources Making CRM Work James Pound White Whale Copyright © White Whale, 2000 Material Copyright of White Whale Limited
  2. 2. MAKING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT WORK THREE DETERMINING FACTORS As with all major change programmes there are the classical issues of business process, organisational culture and information systems to get right. Process Before an organisation can starting designing and piloting new CRM processes it must first of all develop a customer strategy. The strategy needs to address critical questions about the customer such as what sort of customer does the company want and how they be recruited, how will customer service be provided, how will it make the portfolio management approach work and what will be done with ‘Below Zero’ customers? To successfully implement CRM, customer management processes need to be integrated into the organisation and from a holistic viewpoint. This means that the processes for identification, attraction, retention and development of customers must be customer orientated. It also means that in many cases significant organisational changes need to be put in place. A process view necessarily means that existing departmental, product or geographic structures are no longer valid or effective. Changes of this scale are difficult to implement and manage overnight so many organisations are moving in this direction and getting short term benefits by putting a process ‘overlay’ on to the existing departmental structures. This overlay is designed to increase the communication between departments and enable a broader understanding of customer needs, while the broader process design and implementation phase is developed separately. Culture change and competency development The skills and competencies of employees need to be enhanced as CRM is implemented. Team members must be skilled in problem solving, interacting with customers, be able to understand and work with new technology and successfully work with new processes. In addition the organisation’s culture and mind set needs to be changed when it comes to building customer relationships, particularly when it comes to effectiveness and flexibility in dealing with customers. Many companies have implemented call centres in recent years to improve customer service and this is a good example of the challenges and the difficult and time-consuming process an organisation might face when Material Copyright of White Whale Limited
  3. 3. introducing new customer management skills and mind sets. Many companies experience high turnover in call centre staff and when it takes 6-9 months for a call centre team member to become proficient in dealing with customers the time for the organisation to become competent in customer relationships is obviously lengthy. This ‘time to competency’ (as Andersen Consulting refer to it) will be a critical factor in determining how successful an organisation will ultimately be in managing customer relationships. If we use the call centre example again, another dimension of the challenge facing companies in moving their organisation to this level of competence is how do the companies support their employees during this development and learning phase. Most people learn 20% of their skills in a classroom environment and the remaining 80% on the job. Therefore many team members are learning the skills of customer management with real customers, a risk to customer satisfaction and retention. In addition, having the right number and level of skilled resources available to support the team members in this learning phase will also be a challenge. A final point on culture and how it affects customer relationships is the importance of the link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Since the work which BA (and others) did in the late 1980’s, it has been clear that there is a direct link between the level of customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. Empowering the front line customer facing team members is only one aspect of employee satisfaction. It is also essential that these team members have a strong identity and belief in the products and services which they are providing to their customers. Systems and technology Just as it is important to have a customer strategy when embarking on implementing CRM, it is equally important to have a systems strategy in place as well. This needs to specify how any short term and pilot systems will be provided to support new processes or CRM initiatives and how these new systems will be integrated with the existing systems in the long term. New technologies are emerging all the time and it is new technologies such as the Internet and e-commerce, call centres, self service kiosks and smart cards which are enabling new customer relationship management capabilities. Therefore for many companies it is now possible to offer and manage a number of different channels to the customer. In this situation it is essential that all channels can manage the knowledge about a customer, have this customer knowledge at the point of customer interaction to improve the customer relationship and be able to extend knowledge about the customer. However, getting to this single combined view of the customer and providing this information to the necessary points in the organisation is a challenge, not least because of the transactional nature of many of the legacy systems in today’s organisations. However, with the appropriate systems strategy and implementation programme in place there is an opportunity for the first time to have a single and fully integrated holistic view of the customer Material Copyright of White Whale Limited
  4. 4. across the sales, marketing, customer service, finance, and support and maintenance functions. The importance of the Internet and electronic commerce as a channel can also not be understated. These technologies have created a whole new vehicle for communicating with customers. This has moved from a one-way ‘push’ broadcast mechanism into an interactive channel for 1:1 dialogue with customers. Companies that do not have this capability will appear to be unresponsive to customers. Again, just as in the case for starting CRM initiatives, systems which are used to support CRM should be piloted, developed in a step by step approach and should be justified on an ongoing basis. Material Copyright of White Whale Limited