Steps to a solid framework for CRM success

What’s the most important family member of any business? Is it the leader or the President of the company? Staff? Human Resource officer? Accountant? All of them are important, but no one comes close to the lifeblood of its business – Customers or Clients.

Without customers, businesses will no longer be called business because nobody is partronizing their products and./or services. That is why you will hear a lot of companies exerting efforts to further improve their customer service, customer satisfaction, building customer information and a lot more. Efforts that are focussed on how to keep their customers. Some companies have also implemented Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to better manage their customers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process or methodology used to learn more about customers’ needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. CRM helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behavior of customers and the value of those customers.

Now you have plans to implement CRM into your business, Gartner Inc. has prepared some steps on how to create a successful CRM strategy. They are: setting the destination; auditing the current situation; and mapping the journey to the destination.

Set the destination
The vision of the company and the goals derived from this vision are the intended destination of the CRM strategy. The vision will be heavily dependent on the leadership of the company and on the selected CRM strategy.

“Ensure that the CRM vision is to articulate the future environment for the organization in terms of profitability and customer experience,” said Mr. Thompson. “During the initial stages of the CRM initiative — while the CRM vision and strategy are being developed — the leadership and governance structure must be agreed upon and roles allocated before it is stressed by the impact of change management upon employees.”

Audit the current situation
Skills, resources, competitors, partners and customers all need to be consulted in assessing the starting point. Before beginning the CRM initiative, organizations need to identify how mature their existing approach to CRM is. Most organizations have some existing or past attempt at CRM; even if these were deemed failures, there are usually some foundations that can be leveraged rather than ignored by the new team.

“Use the audit to evaluate the organization against equivalent organizations in the same or a similar industry,” Mr. Thompson said. “A competitive benchmark is an excellent way to gauge how far behind or ahead the organization is in comparison. Along with these two approaches, there are many other types of audit. Ultimately, companies should use as many of these assessment types as possible to prepare for the development of the CRM strategy.”

Map the journey
The journey may take many years, and the map will change en route. It is important to plan for this before starting.

A CRM strategy explains how an organization will achieve the CRM vision. It is the integrated blueprint for how the organization will achieve its sales, marketing and customer service goals. Therefore, it must give quantitative answers to questions such as: What is the ideal customer base? What products or services is it going to sell, to whom, at what price and through which channels? However, it must also be able to give much more subjective answers to more-holistic, organization-wide questions such as: What is the best way to build customer loyalty? How will the organization connect with a customer to create a positive “gut feel”? What will drive customers to recommend the organization, brand and products to others more often to the point that they are willing to pay a premium price?

“Setting the destination, auditing the current situation and mapping the journey is an iterative process that may require several revisions before a final CRM strategy is developed,” Mr. Thompson said. “The challenge is to avoid rushing the development process, as the company may be committed to many years of change.”

So my advice to all of you, do your utmost best to make your customer happy. Remember, its easier to find a new client rather than to win back an unsatisfied customer.

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