by Matt Hogansworth
Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the most effective tools for improving customer relationships and therefore increasing revenue, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. Unfortunately, some CRM strategies fail. This leaves CRM vendors and their customers baffled, but there a few common reasons why a CRM strategy will fail.
1. Too much focus on the CRM vendor and technology. Some companies get too caught up in having the best possible CRM strategy out there. Some companies want entire call-centers, On-Demand CRM, Web-based, and Blackberry devices which allow their IT people to enter customer information wirelessly. While these technologies are extremely helpful, too much emphasis on them can lead any company astray. It is naturally very important to select the best CRM vendor for your company, but best does not always mean flashiest.
2. Not enough focus on the customer. Companies can focus too much on technology and strategy, and not enough on what is at the core of CRM: the customer. The first letter in CRM stands for “Customer” and so the customer should be first when thinking about any CRM strategy. A call-center can be wonderful if it is customer friendly. However, some call centers are too complicated and alienate the customer from the company. Alienation is the exact opposite of what companies want to achieve when implementing CRM. The real ROI of CRM is found in customer retention and the acquisition of new customers. In order to have success with CRM, a company must work towards building a strong relationship with its customers. CRM is the path through which the customer and the company can understand each other. Focusing on technologies and ignoring the basics of customer service will cause even the most technologically advanced CRM strategy to go wrong.
3. Rushing into CRM adaptation. Sometimes, company presidents get the idea of CRM into their head and decide that their entire company must be CRM-ready as fast as possible. Rushing into CRM is a recipe for disaster. IT workers need to understand the concept of CRM. Someone who understands the importance of CRM will be better suited to deal with customers and reach the companys goals concerning CRM. Rushing into CRM does not allow ample time for all IT people to be briefed on the basics of CRM and how it will be implemented within the business. Some companies implementing CRM have to create entire departments that never existed before. The greatest care must always be taken when creating an entire new section of a company. CRM should generally be implemented across the entire company. If this is rushed, it can lead to all sorts of compatibility issues, customer confusion, and even employee confusion. Data collected must be viewed across many applications, and ample time must be given for networks to be set up. Companies using CRM technology such as Blackberry devices, or Call-centers must be even more careful when implementing CRM for the first time. Technology is not perfect, and problems can occur at any time. Any company that sends their sales force out into the market with unchecked technology is asking for disaster.
Some say that it is impossible to determine whether CRM is a success or a failure. The true ROI of CRM lies with the customer. A company that avoids the pitfalls of CRM implementation will notice a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction, retention, and acquisition. CRM can help any company significantly if it is used correctly, carefully, but still efficiently. CRM technology can also help companies if it is used thoughtfully and timely. The entire company must be prepared for CRM when it is implemented. A company cannot expect exact numbers immediately after putting CRM into effect. CRM is a long-term strategy that will help achieve long-term goals of a company. Customer focus is essential and will help any CRM strategy to become a success.
Matt Hogansworth writes about CRM and other business topics.