Thursday, January 23, 2014

CRM Alone Won't Solve Your Problems

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is being adopted by a growing number of customers around the world.  The traditional applications for CRM are for sales force automation and customer service, but in a broader sense it is used to track other kinds of relations and other kinds of cases. 

We are seeing government agencies, higher education and non-profit organizations adopt CRM to track interactions with stakeholders and constituents as well as traditional customers.

Increased use of CRM is a good thing, and certainly welcome to companies like our who assist clients with implementing CRM -- but there is no magic in the software.  In nearly every case, the CRM initiative won't work without behavioral changes.

Here are some of the behaviors that our clients are trying to change:

1. A broader view of relationships.  A university, for instance, wants to show many types of interactions, such as prospects, applicant, students, alumni, and parents, and the ways that each department interacts with them.  Sometimes this is called a 360 degree view. 

2. Longer term perspective.  A CRM system can help you understand how relationships change over time.  You can even show what happens when one of your customers moves to another company or another town.

3. Greater accountability.  As any hotelier or airline knows, everyone who interacts with a customer shapes their experience and perception of a company.  Small things matter, and CRM can help you track these interactions.

4. Continuity.  Capturing information in a CRM system allows you to enlist more people to help with a case without asking the client to keep explaining what they need.

Successful CRM requires more than a commitment to use the software. Without a commitment to changes in behavior, the overall initiative is unlikely to achieve the goal of making customers, constituents, and others more satisfied with their experience. 


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