Role of Focus Groups in resetting CRM strategy

An organizational development consultant say he don’t get as concerned about hearing ‘no’ to one of these four questions below, than about failing to hear a resounding ‘yes’ explains. The consultant from the city of Austin, TX says hearing a ‘no’ the problem is likely to be obvious to everyone and it will be relatively easy to focus attention on fixing it. It’s the qualified or reluctant ‘yes’ that can allow poorly aligned strategies and tactics to remain in place.

Does Your CRM Strategy Work for Your People?

This phase is about checking in with the employees responsible for creating, managing, and expanding customer relationship. Is your CRM Strategy working for them? If they do not feel aligned with your CRM strategy, it will not matter how carefully you crafted it, and it will never live to its potential.

We find that internal focus groups are a terrific tool for this phase. In a small department of functional area, you may want – and be easily able to – involve all employees. For larger areas or for a company wide CRM strategy look forward and talk with representative samples of employees.

Create a discussion guide of the topics you wish to cover and the questions you will ask. Your discussion guide should also include:

Introductions: Usually, you will ask someone outside your department, or even a professional focus group facilitator, to guide the discussion. The facilitator, often called to moderate, should introduce him self or her self and provide an opportunity for the participants to introduce themselves.

A statement of purpose: Explain that you are working on resetting your CRM strategy and that their feedback is vital to the process.

A statement of confidentiality: If you are recording the session, how will the audiotape be used? Usually, you will explain that the focus group report or summary will include participant comments, but that no participant will be identified by name.

Housekeeping about the process: Tell the group how long the focus group will last. Plan for 90 minutes as an average length of time. You may want to ask participants to turn off pagers and cell phones.

Discussion question for a CRM strategy reset may include:

It’s important for any business to create, maintain, and expand customer relationships. What approach or approaches does your department or functional area use to accomplish this? The moderator may use a flip chart to capture a list of comments.

Do you believe (a particular approach) is working? Has it been helpful to you in your contacts with customers? Why or why not?

What do you think your organization should do to create, maintain and expand customer relationships?

One of the things that often find is that support employees feel out of the loop when it comes to CRM strategy. They may be focused on their specific job tasks but often feel disconnected about how and why their job duties are important to the company and its ability to serve and retain customers.

Time for Change: Now, you’re ready to create the reset for the CRM strategy. Pull together the information gathered. It may be helpful to display key findings in two parts.

First, list the CRM strengths and successes you uncovered. It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate what you’re doing well.

The second part of your key findings identifies weaknesses. Prioritize this list. If your findings show that you need a major CRM strategy, and use that process one again.

More often, your list of weakness or opportunities will focus on specific CRM tactics and tools. You can address these in a working session with a group of the individuals responsible for customer relationships.