CRM…After all this time why do some companies still not get it?

Even though CRM or customer relationship management systems have been around for years, to many companies it is still a struggle to actually get it right and make CRM a successful company strategy.

Today I had the pleasure… of talking to a provider of internet / phone / TV service / cell phone to the USA market. I will not name names. This company provides decent service. Not earth shattering service but nothing really to complain about. I called up their customer service to inquire about faster internet. I had read about a speed increase to their service that will increase my internet speed by more than 200 percent.

After calling the customer service center I had to guess my way past their voice navigation and had to say no a few times to back track when it guessed incorrectly but I finally made it through to the associate. Next they validated I was calling from my home phone so they could tie me back to an account. At this point I simply asked hey what is my current internet speed and is there a faster service?

Firstly, while their system took two minutes (apparently) to say which service I had, the associate spent the time inquiring about what I was paying for cell phone service. Naturally I responded, err my cell phone service is through you, why are you asking?

Finally I got told my current internet speed and that a faster service was not available. After pointing out I had read about a faster service I was then informed oh that is coming soon but not yet. After being left disappointed that I was not getting faster internet today the associate
then proceeded to try to again upsell my cell phone service but could still not actually see that I already had service etc.

CRM problems at this company:

  • Their voice navigation was tedious at best which already sets you up to be annoyed when the associate finally responds.
  • The associate did not know about their next product upgrade for high speed internet even though it was listed as coming very soon to my city.
  • The associate repeatedly asked me about my cellphone service even though they were the provider!!!
  • The associate spent most of the time on the call trying to sell me new services rather than answer the question.

CRM Thoughts:

  • After all these years of CRM, companies still do not understand one basic fact, once you have sold your service or product to a customer the only interaction they have with your company until and if they buy again is your customer service team which means your customer service team better deliver a great experience and you better empower them to do it with great training and systems.
  • The only thing that will keep the customer coming back is good products AND good customer service.
  • In a world of maximum choice we as consumers can switch brand loyalty overnight and therefore your choice as a company owner is either to try to keep me by providing good customer service or watch me go to your competitor
  • If your new shiny CRM system has not resulted in a strategic change at your company then you / your implementation partner has failed. CRM is not a product or a technology, it is a strategy for success
  • If you have invested in a CRM system then your associates should at a minimum be able to display all data about a customer and not force you to ask the customer to provide it. Sorry but saying department x was not part of the CRM rollout discussions does not cut it.
  • Once implemented, try to blind call in to your own customer service and experience what your customers will go through. If the experience is not positive do not go live until its fixed.
  • CRM has been around a long time, there are many experts out there and there are no excuses for a poorly implemented CRM strategy.
  • Your customers deserve the best support experience you as a company can deliver, good CRM like good customer service is a company asset and not a liability.

CRM and People:

A well delivered CRM system and strategy is a good starting point but what comes next is good people. Each and every time your employee talks with a customer it is like your entire success with that customer is dependent on how well the employee performs as a customer service associate. Before going live with your CRM system you must be sure that your employees are trained up and also empowered to deliver a great experience and know how to quickly escalate.

If you have paid for and deployed a CRM system at your company and yet it does not feel like it is really making a difference for your company then perhaps it is time to rethink and revisit your CRM strategy then call Microsoft to learn about what Dynamics CRM can do for your business.


John O'Donnell