More pointers for CRM strategy

They are all important:

It’s obvious to think about employees who have direct contact with your external or internal customers. Don’t forget, however, to include the important employees who support them.

Missing the mark:

CK recently signed up to rent movies at a new video store. Completing the 6-inch by 4-inch new member form, she noticed that it asked for her home phone number and ZIP code twice. Why? Because that’s the way we have to enter it into the data base. They used one phone number to search for your record. The other is for contacting you if there is a problem.

It’s great that the technology system is designed to easily pull customer records, but asking the customer to write and the service representative to enter the same number twice doesn’t make sense.

Focus groups: Guided discussion groups of six to ten participants. The purpose is to elicit reactions, ideas, and concerns. (Note Focus groups are not a time to correct or educate).

Employees from the organization’s market research area will tell you that there is a science with very specific rules, for conducting focus groups. We often take a more relaxed approach with internal focus groups, but for the novice facilitator it makes sense to start more formally and to use someone with experience as your focus group discussion leader.

Special Treatment for special customers:

To avoid routine responses, employees in all areas must continually focus on being sensitive to customer needs, especially when those needs change and process tactics are realigned to better meet them.

One research firm began to do a lot of government contract business. Government customers have some unique needs. As you might expect, there is a lot of paperwork and a number of hoops to jump through when you are a supplier to a government agency.

The account mangers failed to explain these new customer requirements to employees in an internal support area. These employees began to see the government customers as being unreasonable and demanding. They resented the special treatment these customers required.

After this attitude surfaced through employees’ opinion survey, management was able to take steps. They met with this group and began to give them the information they needed to understand why government customers needed to be handled differently how important this new segments was to overall business goals, and why the CRM strategy supported all these extra efforts to please this customer.

The result is support services were no longer at odds with front line contact employees and their government customers. Service and satisfaction improved for everyone.

Again use of some of the brain storming processes are recommended. And those post-it notes on initial list of potential CRM strategies to keep the ones your team created and it is now the time to pull them out, dust them off, and use it to jump start your discussions.

Having a clear and appropriate CRM strategy is non-negotiable for business today. CRM strategy should link to and support the overall business strategy and goals for your organization. This is as true for internal service providing functional areas, as it is for non-profit and volunteer organizations, as it is for government organization and as it is for traditional consumer retailers. It doesn’t matter who your customers are, what types of products and services you provide, or what forces are acting upon the market place.

Your final task in the development process is to write the CRM strategy statement. Unless you have a group particularly talented at this, a draft of the strategy is best written by either the manager or one or two people selected by the team after the meeting. Then a draft can be sent to the team members for review before settling on a final version. The strategy should capture the ideas of the team into a document that provides clear direction for effectively interacting with and serving customers.