CRM Special Report- 8 Critical Factors That Make or Break CRM
The CEO of a large manufacturing company was frustrated at the slow progress his company was making transitioning from a product-focused company to a customer-centric one.
Each time the top management team met, the main topic reverted to problems executives were having regarding their customers. The meetings ended in conflicts that managers couldn't resolve.
Problems were identified: It took five days on average to enter, process and fill orders—an eternity in today's fast-paced business climate. CSRs didn't have instant access to product information, and they delayed customers on the phone while they located account information. The inability to address customers' needs was reflected in surveys and resulted in lost orders.
The order-entry process was complex, sequential and slow. To ensure that customers order the right products, salespeople had to be up-to-date on their customers' needs. While sales personnel were attentive, important customer information was carried in their heads and rarely reached CSRs. There were many times when the salespeople advised customers to buy appropriate products, but by the time the orders were placed, the information was lost or inaccurate. CSRs relied on knowledge of prior ordering patterns and product lists, but they still were unable to advise customers correctly based on customers' current needs.
The solution seemed to be changing the entire customer-facing business process. Company officials decided to move their sales, customer service and order-processing system to the Web. To do this, the team bought a CRM solution from one of the leading vendors who said its solution would remedy the company's problems and provide up-to-the-minute customer profiles. But managers underestimated the difficulties of implementing the system in their company. What seemed simple on the surface became a difficult problem in managing change.
The first challenge was how to realign the roles of salespeople and CSRs. Managers decided the sales force needed to spend more time with customers and learn their businesses. They wanted salespeople to be on hand when ordering decisions were made to advise and influence customers.