Crm increasing user adoption ensures successful crm projects

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Crm increasing user adoption ensures successful crm projects

  1. 1. INCREASING USER ADOPTION ENSURES SUCCESSFUL CRM PROJECTS By Managing User Adoption Challenges, Health Insurers Will Implement CRM Systems that Rapidly Deliver Optimal Business Results By John Jagtiani Vice President Innoveer Solutions, Inc. boston new york chicago london amsterdam new mumbai, india www.innoveer.com
  2. 2. As health insurers attempt to cut costs, quickly deliver products to market, and effectively compete in this era of health product commoditization, they typically rely on more sophisti- cated CRM systems to sell and service an increasing number of products. Accordingly, CRM project success is measured by the extent to which all users — from internal salespeople, service personnel, and managers, to underwriters, external brokers, and agents — embrace the software. Too often, however, health insurers encounter significant user adoption challenges because they fail to take end users’ needs into account. In particular, many insurers regard CRM projects solely as technical endeavors, and do not involve actual users in the design or imple- mentation. If users perceive new CRM functionality as adversely impacting their productivity, is it any surprise that they would resist using it? The secret to CRM project success, then, is to deliver applications that users want to adopt. This requires reconciling business requirements with user needs, and helping users maximize their efficiency and effectiveness. How can health insurers best manage user adoption challenges to deliver projects which pro- duce optimum results? Innoveer has identified five best practices for maximizing user adop- tion: involve end users in planning and implementation, ensure that projects produce clear user benefits, continually highlight user benefits, involve employees’ supervisors from project inception, and finally, introduce new CRM functionality in discrete project stages. By pursu- ing these best practices, companies will drive rapid user adoption of their CRM systems, thus increasing business efficiency, improving employee satisfaction, and achieving CRM project goals much more quickly. MITIGATE TOP To avoid ineffective CRM launches, and the accompanying requirement to expend a greater CHALLENGES amount of time, effort, and money to remedy poor user adoption, companies must carefully manage these challenges: • Industry Regulations: Complying with regulations from within the CRM system decreases the cost and complexity of compliance. Yet users may resist such changes because they can lengthen sales and service cycles. INCREASING USER ADOPTION ENSURES SUCCESSFUL CRM PROJECTS By Managing User Adoption Challenges, Health Insurers Will Implement CRM Systems that Rapidly Deliver Optimal Business Results boston new york chicago london amsterdam new mumbai, india www.innoveer.com
  3. 3. • Long Sales Cycles: The relatively long health insurance sales cycle — especially for lucrative corporate plans — can lead to sales force CRM fatigue. Yet using CRM also creates the institutional knowledge required to track and capitalize on these opportunities. • Institutionalized Caution: Healthcare executives, schooled in risk management practices, traditionally enshrine existing business processes. Yet using CRM software typically enables companies to streamline existing processes and maximize employee efficiency — provided executives buy in. • Hierarchical Corporate Cultures: Overly rigid corporate cultures often develop CRM projects in secret, to avoid user resistance to change. Yet CRM is no abstract exercise. Rather, effective CRM teams balance the project’s business requirements with the need to design a system that employees can actually use on an everyday basis. BEST With the above challenges in mind, what is the best way to entice users to adopt new, upgrad- PRACTICES ed, or expanded CRM systems? As mentioned earlier, Innoveer recommends pursuing these five user adoption best practices: 1) Involve end users: Too often, companies delegate CRM implementations to technical project managers whose sole responsibilities are to implement the software or new functionality. As a result, these im- plementations become IT endeavors focused on technical change management and delivery of new or upgraded applications, as opposed to improving existing business processes or provid- ing real-world workflow enhancements. Instead, invite a small group of end users — and not just power users — to participate in the design, testing, and deployment of the CRM system or new functionality, as well as to assist in peer training. Offer them a stake in the success of the CRM project by enlisting them to help in delivering a CRM system that they can “live in” to more efficiently and effectively perform their jobs. 2) Demonstrate clear user benefits: Successful CRM projects introduce demonstrable benefits for users. Often, however, compa- nies design CRM systems that satisfy management or organizational requirements, without INCREASING USER ADOPTION ENSURES SUCCESSFUL CRM PROJECTS By Managing User Adoption Challenges, Health Insurers Will Implement CRM Systems that Rapidly Deliver Optimal Business Results boston new york chicago london amsterdam new mumbai, india www.innoveer.com
  4. 4. considering how the functionality will address user needs. As much as possible, identify how the CRM system can automate rote user activities and increase their efficiency. On that front, also combine and integrate as much health information as possible within a single CRM interface. One technique for improving user adoption is to ensure that the application is central to the life of the employee. For example, when health insurer, Norwich Union, an Innoveer cli- ent, studied how its employees processed applications or claims, it discovered that gathering paperwork from fax machines and the mail room consumed an enormous amount of time. Accordingly, as part of its CRM rollout, Norwich Union created an in-house group that scans all mailed or faxed forms. Now, employees access these forms digitally from within the CRM application, which has led not only to increased user efficiency and faster sales cycles, but also to improved CRM adoption. 3) Communicate clearly & thoroughly: According to a recent Forrester Research survey of executives with CRM oversight, “new CRM processes and technologies that have a clear benefit for users but are not properly introduced to the organization will not be adopted.” Accordingly, communicate early and often: Tell employees about forthcoming CRM changes, explain the personal benefits, debunk myths, and detail the underlying business logic. For example, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, sales agents protested a switch from paper forms to a CRM-based interview process for individual health plan applicants because it lengthened interviews and decreased compensation. Unbeknownst to agents, however, the new CRM approach reduced the average time needed — from eight days to four — to con- clude the entire application process, by eliminating the need to digitize the paper forms, and allowing immediate scheduling of required home visits and lab tests. After adjusting compen- sation and improving communication, this insurer was able to increase user adoption. 4) Involve supervisors & sponsors: Involve end users’ direct supervisors in all aspects of CRM — from strategizing and develop- ment through to testing and training — so that they will hold users accountable and rein- force their propensity to utilize new CRM capabilities. Also, ensure that project sponsors are involved in all aspects of the implementation. INCREASING USER ADOPTION ENSURES SUCCESSFUL CRM PROJECTS By Managing User Adoption Challenges, Health Insurers Will Implement CRM Systems that Rapidly Deliver Optimal Business Results boston new york chicago london amsterdam new mumbai, india www.innoveer.com
  5. 5. As an example, one user adoption challenge at a large health insurer was the lack of a top- down mandate for change. More precisely, underwriting and sales teams demanded that the CRM project team — which had little power — precisely mirror the company’s existing, largely manual, and relatively inefficient business processes within the new CRM system. The resulting excess number of customizations led to poor CRM application performance. Activi- ties that should have taken seconds sometimes took a minute, and employees avoided using the new CRM system. The lesson: Secure a top-down mandate for change, especially when it involves improving the efficiency of existing processes. If a new CRM template accomplishes a task — such as the application approval process for new individual health plan members — in eight steps, and an insurer’s existing process involves 10 steps, then the business mandate is clear: streamline the existing approach. Otherwise, why implement CRM? 5) Pursue a phased plan: When implementing CRM, avoid a “big bang” approach. Instead, create clear definitions of CRM requirements, and introduce CRM functionality in discrete project phases, with each stage tied to achieving specific business outcomes. Otherwise, companies risk delivering incomplete CRM projects, which only increase employee workloads. For example, about four years ago, one health insurer began implementing a new CRM system for its corporate health plan sales and service representatives, and then decided to also include individual health plan personnel. When the insurer launched the new application, however, it only offered about 50 percent of the functionality any particular employee required. Employees immediately resisted using the new CRM system. Not long after, as call center wait times increased and employee productivity declined, service managers allowed employees to abandon the new CRM system altogether. Instead, start small and first pursue low-hanging fruit, meaning capabilities with low technical complexity and high levels of business value. Small project successes will beget more success, attract users, and help transition them away from other systems or old ways of doing things. Also consider targeting discrete groups of users in different project phases, since the CRM needs of in-house sales agents, external agents, service personnel, and underwriters will largely differ. INCREASING USER ADOPTION ENSURES SUCCESSFUL CRM PROJECTS By Managing User Adoption Challenges, Health Insurers Will Implement CRM Systems that Rapidly Deliver Optimal Business Results boston new york chicago london amsterdam new mumbai, india www.innoveer.com
  6. 6. PURSUE Successful CRM projects actively court end users. By contrast, if health insurers ignore users END USERS until after new CRM applications or enhancements go live, they must expend much more time, effort, and money to realize their objectives. In addition, until those goals are met, the project may be perceived as failing, which leads to dramatically decreased user adoption levels at best, or outright project cancellation at worst. In short, pay attention to end users. By balancing business, regulatory, and sales cycle require- ments with users’ needs throughout the life of a CRM implementation, health insurers will ensure high levels of user satisfaction with — and adoption of — their CRM systems, and avoid expensive false starts or perceptions of failure. They will also deliver more effective CRM capabilities, reduce customer management costs through process automation, and most of all, achieve CRM project goals more quickly and completely, leading to increased business efficiency and effectiveness. ABOUT INNOVEER SOLUTIONS, an award-winning customer strategy and solutions consultancy, INNOVEER provides advanced customer management services to healthcare and high-technology com- panies, among others, in the areas of planning and strategy, technology implementation, and optimization. The company’s deep industry knowledge, broad technical skills, and Multishore Methodology enable organizations to address their critical customer-facing issues and achieve an integrated view of all customer information. With an exclusive focus on customer manage- ment since 1998, Innoveer has worked with more than 300 organizations to increase their overall business growth, improve internal efficiency, and enhance the customer experience. INCREASING USER ADOPTION ENSURES SUCCESSFUL CRM PROJECTS By Managing User Adoption Challenges, Health Insurers Will Implement CRM Systems that Rapidly Deliver Optimal Business Results boston new york chicago london amsterdam new mumbai, india www.innoveer.com

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