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ID: 4226
CRM Implementation Road Map: Part 4 -- Continuous Improvement
xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40"> Roadmap to CRM Implementation

Roadmap to CRM Implementation

 

This is the third chapter in an executive workbook that outlines the key milestones of a successful CRM implementation. The CRM implementation process can be broken into the four phases illustrated in the graphic below. Each of the implementation phases has been broken down into several critical milestones. This chapter will analyze the milestones and address key challenges in the third phase of implementation.



 

 



Phase 4: Continuous Improvement

 

Critical Challenge

Adapting the mindset that CRM is an ongoing process and not a one-time project. For CRM to have a long-term impact, the team must understand that CRM is a process not a project. The team must adopt a long-term view and support CRM processes with

Benchmarking Insight

Implement continuous improvement processes to engrain CRM as a critical processes. The team may need to buttress CRM systems with additional processes that change the way that the company does business. These processes include measuring CRM performance, aligning performance with compensation, training current employees, and recruiting new employees with CRM skills.


 

 

 



Milestone 4.1: Implementing Customer-Centric Metrics

 

Critical Challenge

Implementing metrics to monitor and improve CRM processes. What gets measured is what gets managed. When companies begin measuring CRM performance, they are able to hold managers accountable to performance numbers.

 

Benchmarking Insight

Create metrics systems that measure the value of individual customers. The value of CRM systems is that companies can begin to understand customers as individuals and not just part of a larger and more abstract customer demographic. Companies should seek to implement metrics that track the value and purchasing habits of individual customers. These types of metrics will enable companies to increase segmentation, targeting, and overall customer satisfaction.

Best Practice Highlight

One benchmark partner has created a customer value index. The index tracks the products and services used by each customer. As illustrated in the graphic below, the index enables the company to identify and track its most valuable customers, increase cross-selling opportunities, and reduce the costs of marketing programs.



 



Milestone 4.2: Incorporating Employee Feedback

 

Critical Challenge

Gathering feedback from customer-facing employees and incorporating the input to improve work processes. Although the CRM team initially designs CRM processes, the team is relatively removed from the daily execution of these processes. Consequently, it is important for the team to monitor the effectiveness of their processes by gathering input from front-line employees who interact with customers on a daily basis.

 

Benchmarking Insight

Regularly survey front-line employees to monitor the effectiveness of current processes and opportunities for improvement. By working closely with front-line employees, the CRM team will be more attuned to customer needs and more responsive in improving CRM processes. According to an interviewed executive, “[Front line employees] know more than anyone else about customer needs. They’re a great resource to find out what opportunities are out there. Surveying employees is often better than surveying customers, because [employees] are able to track trends over a period of time.”

Best Practice Highlight

One benchmark partner conducts quarterly surveys of its call center representatives. The surveys ask reps whether they feel as if they are able to help employees on a consistent basis. The surveys also contain open-ended questions through which employees can share ideas for improving CRM processes. As illustrated in the graphic below, this employee feedback is critical for driving continuous improvement of the company’s CRM processes.



 



Milestone 4.3: Developing Customer-Centric Employees

 

Critical Challenge

Ingraining CRM competencies into the organizational culture. Customer relationship management is more than a process and the supporting technology. Ultimately, CRM is a mindset that places the customer at the center of all business activities. Successful CRM programs are able to ingrain this customer-centric mindset deeply into the organizational culture.

 

Benchmarking Insight

Incorporate CRM competencies into hiring, training and compensation systems. Leading companies focus on three key areas to incorporate CRM competencies into the organizational culture. First, companies focus on hiring employees with advanced CRM skills. Second, companies train current employees to develop their CRM skills. Third, companies create compensation systems aligned with CRM metrics to encourage customer-centric performance.

Best Practice Highlight

One benchmark partner revised its job descriptions to incorporate CRM competencies into it hiring and training activities. Based on the revised job descriptions, the company now tests all employment candidates on their CRM skills. The graphic below illustrates how revised job descriptions ingrain CRM competencies into the culture by improving hiring, training and compensation systems.



 



Milestone 4.4: Managing CRM Performance

 

Critical Challenge

Ensuring the continued success of CRM initiatives. Leading organizations view CRM implementation as a continuous process, as opposed to a one-time project. These companies have implemented organizational controls to ensure that CRM processes continue long after the implementation team has disbanded.

 

Benchmarking Insight

Establish a team dedicated to monitoring and continuously improving CRM processes. Many companies have created teams dedicated to ensuring the long-term viability of CRM processes. The continuous improvement team is responsible for implementing measurement systems that monitor CRM performance and initiating changes to improve CRM processes.

Best Practice Highlight

One benchmark partner has applied Six Sigma methodology to its customer service process. The company maintains a team of 18 Six Sigma Black Belts dedicated to reducing defects in customer service processes. As illustrated in the graphic below, the Six Sigma process improves customer interactions by analyzing customer service processes and eliminating defects.


 



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