Understanding Your Customers


Plan & Test

EVALUATE OPTIONS

So, which system should you choose?

The answer will vary from organisation to organisation, according to your budgetary realities, and your ambitions for your CRM system.

Best practice is to:

  • Aim to spend less on your CRM software and associated costs (installation, training, consultancy) than 70% of the expected annual direct benefits – this should see CRM pay for itself within the first year of operation.
  • Aim to have at least part of your system operational, and generating return, within six months of starting your CRM project.
  • Pick a system simple enough so that staff can be trained on it in just a few hours.
  • Phase the system in, focusing first on the departments and functions that are most ready, or stand to generate the greatestimmediate return.
  • Set up a pilot study.
  • Try before you buy – try out systems you are interested in for a month- many CRM vendors are flexible about evaluation timeframes. Wherever possible, install demonstration versions to compare features.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE AMOUNT OF DATA YOU’LL NEED TO COLLECT

  • Do you have the resources to cope with increased customer response? Some businesses have had to close down e-mail due to being overwhelmed with customer feedback or queries. If you can’t respond promptly, you may end up alienating customers.

CONSIDER SECURITY AND DATA PROTECTION

  • Any CRM system must protect customer privacy. You need to be registered under the Data Protection Act or look at adopting BS7799. If you choose an outsourced solution, are you willing to trust valuable data to a third party such as an ASP?

PLAN THE ROLLOUT PHASE

  • Do you plan to integrate CRM across your business processes in stages?
  • How long will the project take? This will depend on the type of system you are planning to use.
  • How will you co-ordinate team working across the supply chain?
  • Look at training implications – which staff will require training and how much will this cost? Make sure you allow time for them to adjust to the new system.

Published by the Department of Trade and Industry. www.dti.gov.uk
© Crown Copyright. URN 04/1724; 10/04

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