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How to Not Waste a $20 Million CRM Investment

If your organization is struggling with customer relationship management (CRM) implementation, adoption, or utilization, and ROI seems a distant reality—and odds are, all of the above—you are certainly not alone.

In fact, a recent Gartner analysis finds that despite a $225 billion investment in CRM over the past 10 years, companies have only seen customer satisfaction increase 3-5%.  And I would argue that the CSAT increase is probably not even related to CRM, but rather from an increased focus on process improvement and better frontline rep training.

The statistic is amazing, but as any service, sales, or marketing VP will tell you, not unsurprising.  Yet considering the multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment required to implement and optimize CRM, coordinate across multiple business units, and upskill staff and drive utilization, it’s worth a look at what best-in-class companies do to leverage CRM.

There are many root causes as to why companies struggle to truly leverage CRM—poor data quality, poor frontline staff usage of the tool key among them.  One of the biggest causes, however, is that attaining deep customer intelligence requires good people with good connections to truly bring the information to life.  Even the best, most detailed database entries do not approximate strong internal relationships where service and support staff can collaborate with each other and brainstorm service and sales opportunities, elaborating data points and offering additional perspective.

So no matter where your team is with CRM optimization, the following couple of ideas can enhance staff collaboration and customer information sharing:

  • Consider co-locating staff to foster communication.  We know of several companies’ recent efforts to integrate contact center staff with sales operations staff.  Imagine the ability to look up background information on a client in the CRM system and then discuss opportunities to cross- or up-sell with the person who regularly works with the client and knows the ins and outs of her business.
  • Enable regular customer-focused sessions among frontline staff and sales and marketing.  Focus sessions on particular customer segments (whether value-based, needs-based, or otherwise) and discuss customer needs, common issues, preferences, and behaviors.  While many companies hold these types of sessions for platinum accounts and customers, consider ways to scale this to encompass all customers.

And by the way, the aforementioned ideas are not only ways to better leverage CRM data, but also opportunities increase the value of service and support in the eyes of the business.  After all, service and support trumps all (even CRM) when it comes to knowledge of the customer.

CCC Members, find information on how to effectively co-locate staff here.  And for more information on CRM technology, please refer to CCC’s whitepaper on the topic and use these links to find peer perspective on Maximizing CRM Use to Drive a Better Customer Experience and CRM Vendors and VOC Collection.

Comments from the Network (2)

  1. Shyrl Roberts
    on November 18, 2010
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    How to Not Waste a $20 Million CRM Investment

  2. Customer Service Buzz » Two Ways to Improve Collections Efficacy
    on March 19, 2011
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    [...] the past I’ve addressed how improved collaboration can help drive better customer insights and help organizations make better use of CRM investments, not to mention elevate the role of the service and support organization.  I want to continue the [...]

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