CRMOne of the main goals of multichannel is to provide great customer service at all levels. Correctly implemented CRM will enhance your business and reputation, but in order to implement effective new ways of interacting with your customers across multiple channels you may be looking at a complete organisational shift, in effect moving from provider to service.

A strategic business change at this level isn’t always easy, but there are ways to minimize the stress and align your company philosophy so that you can really deliver for your customer.

What's are you getting out of this?

Before you begin, make sure you’ve asked yourself all the relevant questions.

First and foremost, how will your CRM benefit your business?

Immediate ROI isn’t always easy to find in quantitative practices like customer engagement, so consider how this shift will help streamline your interactions with customers.

How much time will your employees save by using new technology and new practices correctly? If you can save an hour of time for each employee per day, then you have an incredibly valuable ROI.

Do your homework

The entire point of this reorganisation is to improve the customer experience, but which data are different departments working from and how will this affect their part in this?

Make sure you have a centrally available database that’s regularly updated. This data is the foundation you are all working from, so make sure it’s an even, consistent dataset.

If you really need to, consider wiping out your old information and investing in some bespoke software or agency help to start again.

Be inclusive.

In order to succeed, you’ll need to plan across the board. It’s no good formulating strategy at board level and sending down an edict.

Instead, directly involve sales, marketing, anyone who will be affected. If you’re doing this right, then that means everyone.

Gather information from the bottom up so that you have a really clear picture of where you are failing, and talk to them as you thrash out a clear list of objectives.

Let the right people know.

There’s no point in broadcasting how wonderful your new systems will be to customers if you don’t do the same internally.

Make sure your staff know exactly how the new systems will help them, and start initial training as quickly as possible to maximise implementation.

If staff know why they are doing something and why it’s a good thing they’ll be quicker to get on board, minimising the chances of major disruption along the way.

Practice what you preach.

If you aren’t working hard to help customers in direct, visible ways, then why should your employees?

Because that’s what I pay them for!” isn’t good enough.

You need to lead by example and make sure your own mindset changes along with the company’s. Your executive branch should be directly involved, listening to staff at all levels and should not be afraid to get their hands dirty and pitch in where and when it’s required.

By doing so you’ll be far better equipped to keep your staff on message and provide a better service.

Shop around.

IF you have to outsource, be a conservative shopper. Dig into your contacts network and find out which software and outsourcing has worked for them and why.

Be extremely aware of exactly which functionality and support you’re paying for in advance. Have regular meetings with your IT department to see exactly how much they can handle without being overstretched.

Software and companywide training is a major element here, so be sure you have the infrastructure in place to handle it. If you don’t, then get help from a recommended third party.

Budget responsibly.

When you put together a budget for this kind of action, it’s useful to overestimate. Otherwise you’re likely to find yourself struggling with the books as estimates increase later on.

Remember that you may need to invest in entirely new software, and hire new staff to take care of everything from coding to PR.

Make sure you’ve really, really thought about figures before you get started.

Be the boss.

With the best will in the world, a major organisational shift will still be a massive challenge. Senior management should assume that if something can go wrong, it will.

Make sure you have a clear list of each step so that you’re prepared to deal with technical problems, staff training, anything and everything that could affect rollout.

Keeping a clear picture as things progress means you can help with problems quickly and efficiently, avoiding snarl-ups that could delay your entire programme.

You pay your executives to lead, so make sure they are equipped to do so.

Take your time.

If you’re suddenly ramping up your ability to track and account for transactions, then some employees may be feeling a little job anxiety, deservedly or not.

Instead of pushing that big red start button and demanding instant change from everyone, roll out your new program one department at a time.

Think about who will benefit most directly from the new procedures you’re putting in place.

If you’ve set things up properly they will have the most obvious short term successes and encourage others about the validity of integrated CRM.

Keep moving forward.

After your initial implementation, make sure you put aside time each month to review each stage of your process and improve where needed.

If there’s a newer version of software available or a more efficient way of using it then introduce this.

An efficient CRM process will include a measure of flexibility that allows you to upgrade elements, so factor this into your initial timetable.

Remember to keep everyone informed going forward, let employees know how things are working out, and keep collecting and examining your consumer data going forward to continuously improve and capitalise on transactions.

Good CRM is the make or break point for any business working in multiple channels. Make sure you have long term planning in place and never underestimate the difficulties you might face along the way. If handled carefully and correctly you’ll be well equipped to gain the most from your customers and expand your business.

Matt Owen

Published 30 July, 2010 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen is a marketing consultant based in London. He was previously Head of Social at Econsultancy and currently runs Atomise Marketing. Opinions expressed are author's own.

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Comments (4)



Great Tips for the end user especially for the small scale customer who always tidy up with cash. - Dongan

almost 8 years ago


Bangalow Accommodation

Agree, good CRM is important for a business, especially "be the boss", it's important a company is clear on its needs.

almost 8 years ago


Afshan Hussain

This is a great guide to best practices when looking for a new system. I would also like to add that when shopping around looking at analyst reviews such as Gartner and Forrester, Speaking with other similar organisations via networking events is invaluable insight into challenges other business have faced when looking for CRM. I wholeheartely agree with a phased approach starting with the areas of the business where results can be achived quickly. i.e Call Centre and Online Service. look for metrics such as Defelection of uneccessry  contacts, faster response rates and Handling times. This is where you can expect a BIG roi and help build your business case  and buy-in to roll out to other departments where ROI is softer.

almost 8 years ago


Linda Brown

Good tips to successfully CRM implementation. I’d like to add user adoption as a very important consideration, take a look at this whitepaper for further in depth reading. 

over 7 years ago

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