Businesses and software experts boast in customer relationship management (CRM) software’s ability to improve customer satisfaction while saving businesses valuable time and money. While the benefits of CRM software are certainly to be applauded, many companies are misled to believe that CRM software – and CRM software alone – is the sole reason for improved customer satisfaction rates and time/money savings.
This is not the case.
While CRM technology is certainly beneficial (and even necessary) to have, companies cannot rely on the technology alone to improve their customer relationships. CRM is about the people, not the technology. Pouring thousands of dollars into a solution may seem like a good idea, but if you don’t have the processes in place to actually foster your customer relationships, CRM will be a wasted investment. As many companies are quickly realizing, upgrading your CRM software to the latest and greatest version (or solution) is not the answer. Searching for better technology will not solve your CRM problems; however, focusing on improving business processes, software training, employee involvement, and strategy deployment will.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing CRM is to look at it as a project rather than a journey. In order to gain real business value out of the solution, you need to develop a road map to help you achieve the goals you’ve determined for your customer relationship management strategy. This can be as simple as setting up procedures to train your staff on the solution, developing business processes to ensure that you’re fostering your relationships appropriately, and planning system customizations to help you achieve your CRM goals. Without a plan, your CRM journey was no direction and your chances of dissatisfaction in your solution will rise.
We’ve created three guidelines to help you protect your CRM software investment. Keep the following tips in mind as you consider whether or not your CRM solution is providing real business value to your CRM efforts:
- Identify the problems you expect CRM technology to solve. Before you even begin considering investing in CRM software, you should have developed a list of goals your company hopes to achieve as a results of your CRM investment. Make sure all key stakeholders agree upon these goals and the plan to carry them out. Once you have purchased a CRM solution, measure your success based on your ability to meet these goals.
- Choose the right leaders to keep your CRM project on track. Every project needs a leader committed to keeping the project on track and succeeding. These leaders will need to clearly communicate their plans with business executives, managers and end users, as well as take everyone’s suggestions into consideration. These leaders should also understand the dynamics of the company and be willing to involve employees who are resistant to new technology. Awareness of your company’s response to the project and proactive measures will set your company up for lasting CRM success.
- Plan adequately. All software implementations require extensive planning to be successful. Even if you are implementing a Cloud-based CRM solution, your team needs to sit down and create an extensive plan for the implementation phase. While you’re at it, develop a plan of best practices to pass on to the software’s end users so they can make the most out of the software solution. Remember, it’s not the technology that makes the difference – it’s the plans you have in place and the users you have using it.
In order for CRM to work, everyone has to be using it. Make sure your employees are on the same page as to the value of CRM tools and implement best practices to help them improve their customer relationship management efforts. When your employees know how to use the system properly, your customers will benefit directly.
Are you using CRM software to further your customer relationship management efforts? If not, give us a call today to get a quote for CRM software. We’d be happy to discuss your current situation with you and guide you to the right solution for your company.