Wednesday, June 13, 2012

5 Key Reasons CRM Fails and the 7 Step Strategy for a Successful Implementation

Under the current climate of continued economic uncertainty and government austerity; CEOs are shifting their focus and primarily concentrating on customer relationship management. They see it as the most important area of development in order to improve profitability of their businesses in the next five years.

Benefits of a successful CRM implementation
With ever-growing competition, the need for a sound CRM solution is not only a necessity but also the way forward.

Let's look at some usual causes of why many CRM implementations fail to yield desired results:
  • CRM is a technology: Too much emphasis on technology sidelines the customer strategy. It needs to be remembered that technology is just an enabler and not a whole solution in itself. 
  • Lack of a clear strategy: The enterprise should have a clear vision and every division should be targeting the same outcome. A well-defined process should be in place with distinct touch points identified. Changing the CRM system is not enough; people need to be trained in accordance to its requirements. 
  • Wrong leadership: CRM is a business initiative; a business leader should lead it. It is not an IT venture; hence the right person needs to lead this project. 
  • Cleaning up old processes: Rather than revamping old CRM policies, re-engineer the processes to meet the growing demands of the business. 
  • Shortsightedness of the process: Some companies only look at short-term solutions. They need to focus on long- term benefits and design the system in a way that will not prove obsolete in the near future.
With stiff competition in the market and the consumer more educated about his choices than before; it has become vital for customer centric enterprises to provide a vision to their customers and stakeholders. A well-developed and executed CRM system does just that.

Let's look at seven steps to formulate a well-planned CRM system and how it can add value to an enterprise:
  • Tailor made approach: Look at the establishment from the customer’s eyes. It is not enough to tell the customer the value of the product or service being offered. They need to be shown what’s in it for them, how it will suit their needs. Create a customer experience and let them share the company’s vision. 
  • Develop touch-points for customers: Within the company all parts concerning the customer experience should be linked. There should be no gaps and a seamless course should be followed throughout every process and each touch-point. The effort from all business areas should be coordinated. 
  • Clear metrics: The key performance indicators should be well defined and measured timely. Realistic timelines and smart targets should be set. Do not deviate from the original blueprint. Though it can be developed but the focus should remain primarily on the initial goals. A good leadership should be in place to provide a sense of direction. 
  • Training employees: The staff should be trained in accordance to the CRM strategies. Define clear targets for them. Focus on customer centric solutions and motivate people to come up with suggestions. Providing feedback is essential to check gaps in knowledge as well as looking at ways to improve the process. Training should be ongoing and reference points should be provided if need be. 
  • Employee representation: Participation from employees is important. A representative from each business area should contribute towards the development of the CRM software solution. Their voice should be heard and valuable inputs should be implemented. 
  • Emphasis on quality: Monitoring quality is essential to maintain standards. Periodic checks should be made to ensure quality is delivered and maintained across the board. Build an immaculate customer data system. 
  • Continuous growth: It is important to make continuous improvement to the existing system. Feedback from customers should be taken on board and forums should be developed to assess them. Clear strategies in sync with CRM policies should be outlined for all areas of business. Employees should contribute to the development program and understand the importance of a customer centric approach.
CRM software solutions should be seen as DNA of an enterprise and generates value when it is in conjunction with customers’ expectations. It spells out the USP of a company and turns a business into a worthy market leader if properly executed.


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