CRM Hacks – Profiles with a Purpose

CRM_hacks_graphicYou’ve developed a new product, something quite different from your standard offering.  You are convinced that your current customers are potential targets but you need some additional information to qualify the opportunity at each customer.  Many of our clients immediately turn to their installed CRM application and develop a way to capture the needed information – a customer profile.

Unfortunately, this is the way that many of the CRM applications we encounter have been made overly complicated and difficult to use.  So instead of being a productive step toward the new product launch, just the opposite effect is experienced.  The profile isn’t completed for many customers and the seeds have been planted that will eventually make the CRM application so difficult to use and upgrade that it will have to be abandoned.

Most of this heartache can be avoided with some planning and discipline.  Before you add any new section or tab to your CRM application ask yourself some very important questions.

  1. Should all customer types be profiled?
  2. What is the purpose of this field?
    1. Is that important enough to add it to my CRM application?
    2. Is it directly related to my overall goal of selling the new product?
    3. Is there a better way to achieve the purpose?
    4. Is the field required or conditionally required?
  3. What type of data will be in this field?
  4. How will the data be entered into the field?
    1. Is there an easy way to get it
  5. How will the accuracy of the data be verified?
  6. For pick lists – can the list expand or contract and how will that be controlled?
  7. For calculated fields will the results be stored? Will the calculations ever change?

Next, ask key questions about access.

  1. Who will be adding data?
  2. Who will be viewing the data?
    1. Who should NOT be able to view the data?
  3. Can anyone remove the data?
    1. Is the ability to remove the data tied to any other event – such as time
    2. What kind of reports and analytics will be needed that include the data?

Finally, ask key questions about persistence.

  1. How long will this data be valid?
    1. Will it need to be refreshed, revalidated?
    2. Who will determine the half-life of the profile if there is one?

Having asked and received the answers to these questions will ensure that the final development is a small and easy to use as possible.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

CRM Hacks: Your CRM System Should Be Doing the Work!

CRM_hacks_graphicYou have just licensed and implemented an enterprise CRM Service Cloud.  Congratulations!  The decision to implement the system was a good one, modern service clouds can be a tremendous tool to improve the customer experience for the people that deal with your company.  How much that experience improves could very well depend on how much you have configured the system to do the work required to enhance the experience!

If you have configured your system to merely record interactions with your customers, then your employees will not only be solving the customer issue, but also entering the interaction into the CRM system.  Both are valuable activities, however, they are not being done efficiently.   It’s time to reverse the equation and let your CRM system do the work and improve the efficiency of your organization.

Here are some examples of how you enable the system to do the work:

  1. Identify the customer automatically.  Whether you implement Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Computer Telephony Interface (CTI), email address recognition, social media tracking, or use a customer ID, automatically identifying the customer to the system saves that step for your agents and can be used as the basis for customer self-service.
  2. Identify the potential issue that the customer is experiencing. Configure your system so that all of the previous interactions and purchases by your customers are available.  Display open cases, known product defects, and current system issues so that your team members (or self-serving customers) have ready access to them.
  3. Identify resolutions to the potential issues automatically. Configure your system so that you have a very robust, living, and growing knowledge base that can be cross-referenced by the system to display the actions that can be taken to resolve the potential and identified issues.  Your agents and customers can choose the correct resolution to automatically avoid or close a case.
  4. Automate communications with your team and customers. Load your system with pre-approved templates and workflow triggers to automate escalations and notifications as key milestones in the processes are met
  5. Automatically record interactions. Configure the system to record the initial interaction and subsequent important activities taken to resolve the issue and verify that it has been resolved
  6. Automate your reporting and analysis. Don’t make your agents and managers dig for the reports and analysis they need to continuously improve your processes and boost your customer’s experience.  Set up the reports and dashboards that your agents and managers will use for this purpose and schedule them to be displayed/delivered to them routinely.

These are just some of the examples of relatively simple configurations that can be made to your system to maximize its efficiency and enable your agents to provide a world class experience for your customers.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Illustration created and provided by Jonathan Pike, eVerge Group IT Specialist