There are various customer relationship management problems that businesses are faced with time after time. Proper management of customer interactions is a major challenge for modern companies, especially with the high competition that is now witnessed. The ages of monopoly are long gone and consumers’ rapid sophistication rate has meant dissatisfaction in the first experience will lead to ultimate loss.
The key to brand building has shifted over the years to rely solely on quality, reliability and efficiency of service. Businesses are therefore faced with the challenge of retaining existing customers and sourcing new ones in their path to success. Poor customer relationship management will result in disastrous outcomes including customer loss, company misdirection and eventual liquidation.
Before looking into the various customer relationship management problems, it is necessary to identify some of the assumptions which often mislead companies into making poor decisions. CRM is a strategic focus that is aimed at long-term success and establishment in the marketplace by attaining maximum shares in terms of loyalty.
The long-term focus means everyone in the organization is responsible in ensuring the company’s goals are achieved as laid out, and within the set timeframe. One of the assumptions made is that CRM should be left to the sales and marketing team alone. This used to be the traditional thought which is no longer applicable as research revealed customer support practices that involved the contribution of all members produced better results.
The current assumption is as a result of technological advancements which have misled businesses to view customer relationship management as software. This notion has meant businesses invest in comprehensive CRM application packages and bestow implementation responsibilities to the IT staff. This is one of the main reasons for failure in many attempts to build effective customer relationships.
Customer Relationship Management Problems To Be Aware Of
There are various problems which face and hinder CRM practices leading to inefficient results and losses in terms of wasted resources. These problems are usually caused by incorrect focus, poor implementation of strategies as well as unclear objectives. Since CRM is to be implemented in phases as results are monitored and procedures adjusted, the problems will often follow the same pattern. It is important to recognize that these problems may continue escalating if not identified and corrected.
Some of the challenges include the following:
Unclear goals/objectives – As already established, CRM is a strategic focus which requires the contribution of all organization members. To gain optimum participation from everyone, clear objectives need to be set at every level. This includes departmental goals and overall objectives which the business aims at achieving by the end of a given timeframe.
These objectives should include short term goals which will be evaluated and measured through the CRM. They should all be listed down and assigned concrete measurement metrics which the business will easily assess to monitor progress. Although many businesses already know that without this success is almost unlikely, it still remains a major problem. In many occasions, companies fail to set clear measurable objectives which limit their chances of accessing CRM’s ROI.
Appointing the right core team – The next problem that most businesses experience during the course of CRM is core team appointment. The initiative is often mistaken for an IT project as opposed to organizational approach. Customer relationship management requires a core team to guide, monitor, evaluate and adjust implementations accordingly.
This is supposed to be backed by the participation of senior executives, top management, sales and marketing team, IT, customer service as well as end users. After all the requirements from each individual has been established, the initiative to develop suitable interfaces should then be handed over to the IT team. The core team needs to be trained on how strategies will be implemented and which key quality evaluation points will be evaluated. This is however just as difficult as setting clear objectives.
Defining CRM processes – This is different from setting goals. All the processes that will be undertaken in achieving the set goals should be clearly defined and relayed to everyone. The best practice involves establishing a central repository system that can be accessed by everyone. This system should contain all the process definitions as well as a section for documentation to act as a referencing resource. Businesses often find problems in defining key processes such as management changes, re-evaluations and security measures. This has arguably been the demeanor of many attempts to establish effective CRMs that can last. Security is important as it identifies those who are authorized to access information at any given level.
Application management – This is another customer relationship management problem that many businesses face. Re-aligning staffs work culture around the rolled out CRM plan and mapping accordingly with the same is tantamount to success. This involves enabling customers and end users to engage in day-to-day activities using the CRM application not as an option, but by default. Management includes assessing the nature of operations, evaluating the results by comparing them against goals/objectives and adjusting the processes.
Right solutions – Regardless of all other efforts put in place to achieve the best CRM results, solutions have a larger influence on that possibility. Finding the right solution and solution partner will determine whether the processes produce desired results or not. Most businesses rush into CRM solutions using the strategies learnt or copied from other successful companies. This eventually amounts to failure since the processes lack customization which is fundamental to ensure solutions are suited to the specific nature of business. The partners are equally important since they assist in both strategy formulation and implementation. It is important to choose vendors who understand the business’s work culture, available technology and employee personalities and capabilities.
The above problems compound those frequently faced by businesses in the general CRM operations. There are other minor challenges faced which are much easier to deal with and have marginal impacts on the results. Dedication, comprehensive planning and professional execution should all be harmonized to produce the best results and minimize chances of losses through misdirection. Customer relationship management problems should be expected and forecast to ensure various solutions are put in place to deal with them, if not totally prevent them.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.