Perfecting Service Management

Issue #65

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

The CRM Mutiny
by Kurt Jensen

On a recent, early morning flight to a client's site, I had the fortunate experience to sit among a small group of business travelers working for the same company. The trip started out quietly, but as the plane made its way east, the four business professionals started to become quite animated about the subject of their trip: further training on the Sales module of an Enterprise CRM system. It was an amazing example of what can go wrong behind the scenes of an Enterprise CRM implementation.


As the conversation progressed, so did the volume and associated vicious indictment of Management for "foolishly deploying" a system which "took away from time supposed to be used for selling." In fact, one person stated in unflattering terms that the IT Helpdesk had no idea how to support the application. Further, names were named out loud, personal attacks were levied and a group position was proposed. By half-way through the flight, all four agreed to assume a position of solidarity and refuse to participate in the planned training. It was stunning to watch develop to say the least! So the question is: "What drove a group of Sales Professionals to plan an outright mutiny of a CRM deployment?"

User Involvement

It appears the employer of these four people missed an essential element of deploying an Enterprise CRM system: user involvement. Inclusion in the design and deployment process is a win for all involved. By including users, the deployment team is provided valuable details about what is required to fulfill their obligation. Likewise, the users are provided an avenue to convey details of their needs. A very important and often missed benefit of such interaction is the natural tendency for involvement to promote acceptance of change.

Training and Support

Users need assistance, especially users caught within a troubled deployment. In this case, it sounded like not only did the IT Helpdesk not know how to support the user at the desktop, but there were no departmental champions or coaches to take care of some of the lighter lifting. The obvious lesson is to train the IT Helpdesk to support the desktop. The less obvious opportunity is to create a department-based champion or coach, someone who embraces the application and can be looked to for immediate expertise and knowledge.

Communicating Direct Benefits

The many benefits that an Enterprise CRM system can generate for a sales force were clearly not well-communicated to these four people. These individuals viewed the system as a hindrance, literally something that prevented them from doing their jobs! Communication and training must reinforce the functions that will increase everyone's efficiency and effectiveness. Given the right messages, these four would have been looking forward to learning more about leveraging the system.

Fixing the woes of an Enterprise CRM deployment cannot be summed up in this newsletter article. Further, rescuing such a seemingly fumbled deployment requires significant damage control, repair and commitment from the organization. Failure to fix a sideways deployment can have severe, devastating ramifications. Based on the conversation I heard, this situation cost at least one senior manager his job (so far).

If you find yourself, or know of a colleague, in such a position, all is not lost! Beware, however, that trying to fix such a problem from within can compound the issue - it is a situation where consultants (such as Customer Centricity) may be a better choice. Better yet, call us BEFORE you implement such a major change, and we'll help you do it right the first time!

Becoming Customer Centric - Socialize Results
by Craig Bailey

With customer feedback and information gathered and analyzed, the next step to becoming Customer Centric by leveraging the Voice of the Customer involves socializing the results of your VoC activities. It is time to make effective and responsive use of this new-found intelligence organization-wide. Essentially, this step involves assimilating and disseminating information to all personnel in the firm.

A key to this step is that of ensuring each person receives the "appropriate" level of information necessary to do his or her part in influencing the customer experience. It is suggested that there are (at least) two levels of information to share internally:

  • Top-level reporting for general awareness
  • Detail-level reporting for analysis and action-planning

Top-level reporting for general awareness includes a set of high-level reports and statistics that outline the overall trends of customer satisfaction, themes being observed (what is working and what needs attention) and, finally, the action-plans that are in place to address observed trends. This information should be provided and/or made available to EVERY person in the firm. This can be disseminated via a number of means, including an intranet site, all-hands meetings and internal newsletters for employees. Managers should be held accountable to review, interpret and discuss this information with members of their staff. By doing so, the entire staff obtains a common understanding of customer sentiment and demonstrates the firm's commitment to respond to the voice of the customer.

Detail-level reporting for analysis and action-planning involves providing detailed information for specific personnel within the firm that have a direct impact on the customer's experience. Typically, this includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following organizations:

  • Marketing
  • Product Management
  • Engineering/Development
  • Sales/Account Management
  • Professional Services
  • Training and Education
  • Service and Support
  • Accounting/Finance/Billing

It should be expected that an assigned person from each of the organizations above review VoC information to determine, for each area:

  • What is being done right (positive areas of impact and/or activities to continue)
  • What items need to be addressed

The activities outlined above are meant to support the next step of implementing customer-focused changes.

If you'd like to review an outline of the complete VoC program, feel free to download the presentation recently delivered to PDMA's VoC conference.

View previous articles in this series.

+ The CRM Mutiny
+ Becoming Customer Centric
+ Recommended Reading

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Recommended Reading
Over the past few years, we have presented numerous articles in this newsletter on the topic of Customer Service. In her Help Desk Institute article Top 10 Customer Service Tips, Margo Chevers provides a summary of items crucial to excellent customer service.


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In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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