“Why did I invest in a system that no one uses?” asked the Vice President of a leading tyre manufacturing company after they had spent a fortune in implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool.
Amongst many needs today, companies around the world look to cut down operational costs, improve business processes, bring in efficiencies and delight their customers with the use of flexible CRM technologies. To realise these targets, consistent and increased internal usage of the CRM application is imperative.
User Adoption is key to the health of an organisation’s business processes. The more the better, it’s all about the volume of users using the CRM. Complete, accurate, fresh and reliable customer data entered into the application by company staff results in improved services to their customers, increased revenue, improved sales, higher productivity and effective departmental collaboration.
Businesses that intend to add a CRM tool to better its processes must at first reflect within; they should document a CRM vision and look to gather sponsorship. Businesses need to arrive at metrics to define what adoption means to them and how it translates to business and customer success. Companies that revamp or adopt new CRMs do not dig deep into the routine of different users in their organisation, the workflow, habits, culture and the impact that all of these traits have on adopting a new CRM application.
Managements need to understand the underlying blockers to user adoption.
Design of the CRM tool plays a significant role in usage. The tool’s ease of use, interface and entire user experience has to be accounted for. Users only need to view and use information that is tailored to their needs, a lot of unnecessary data can be frustrating to users and render poor adoption across the organisation.
There are categories of staff who are resistant to change, those who are ‘used’ to a way or a manner of work, those who are unaware of the new CRM and a few who really don’t care about what’s being implemented.
Adoption failures are a result of poor preparation and planning by businesses.
Management teams in companies need to lead by example, communicate to its employees, run campaigns and build a sense of excitement in using the new CRM. Campaigns can be in the form of town halls, floor walks, roadshows in-house, wall board displays, demos, flyers, intranet discussion groups, polls or LED displays and so on. For large companies, there is a need to have 20 percent of the workforce that manages 80 percent of the organisation’s operations identified as agents of change and custodians of CRM adoption.
In the midst of advocating the change, it’s important to communicate the importance of CRM and how its relevant to the organisation as a whole. If it means, better sales figures, better Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores or improvement to a company’s brand image, all of the reasons must be understood by the staff. Managements should look to incentivising teams that have used the CRM the most. Adoption must be made a fun activity. Training users in the form of gamification plays an important ingredient to educating users on how to use the CRM tool. Business could think of creating a rewards point program and make the entire training and use of the application a rewarding experience.
Outside the carrot approach above, depending on the budget allocated to aid adoption, managements could bluntly enforce targets on usage, stating, it is their objective and employees would be measured on it.  Organisations need to ensure they are able to report on usage, internally and externally. User logins, Active users, Inactive users, Sales figures before and after the new CRM was installed, records modified, number of fields missing and many more fields are examples of information that need to be on a report and dashboard, which let managements know if they have been successful with the new CRM or not.
Post launch, say a quarter, businesses need to review and reflect on operational and financial achievements and issues faced by users and look to fix them before bringing all departments on board the CRM tool. Feedback gathered internally over the initial months – after the CRM has gone live – will help iron out performance and other operational issues around it.
In conclusion, businesses cannot expect returns on investments made on the acquisition and implementation of a new CRM to show up immediately. Businesses need to continually monitor and review its usage to ensure business and customer needs are met, and the user’s experience is all the better for it.