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CRM Best Practice for flexible workspace providers

In this edition of our Operation Resilience series, we take a look at Customer relationship management (CRM) Best Practice. Customer relationship management is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential customers. It uses data analysis about customers’ history with a company to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

One of the great myths is that you can just “Buy” CRM Best Practice off the shelf, install it, train your teams and then you’ve “Got it”.  If only it were that simple, but don’t despair because putting CRM Best practices in place is probably not as hard as you think.

CRM is more than just 1 piece of software like ZohoCRM, Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics to name a few.  CRM is a business process, a set of principles.  It’s an ethos and culture which is woven into your customer journey from initial contact, to customer onboarding servicing and exiting.  Often, the practice of CRM will span across multiple business processes or stages in the customer lifecycle and therefore many software packages could be involved, not just one.

In this article we will explore some of the basic principles of CRM Best Practice that you can implement easily within your business today.

Customer Journey Mapping

The first place to start when considering CRM Best Practice is to map out your customer journey into the standard high-level disciplines that all businesses have.  Start by using a whiteboard and break the customer journey down into bite-sized chunks using this template as a guide.  You may want to map this out along a timeline underpinned by your current toolset.

 

Once you’ve identified the customer journey key components, you then allocate stakeholders or owners against each of these functions.  The diagram above is more about the business process and less about organisational structure. 

Tip: Don’t go too deep, and don’t overthink it.  This is about identifying those high-level critical functions into common themes that naturally sit together.

The tool doesn’t maketh the process!

Isn’t a hammer as good as a screwdriver?  This is a question I’d often ask my Dad.  I mean they both fasten things, right?  A hammer is great for driving in one kind of fastener (a nail).  However, a screwdriver is great at driving another (a screw).  So, I guess yes they are both designed to “fix” something to a wall, but they are designed to solve different problems.  And so is software. 

You could use Excel as a hammer to run your whole business if you wanted to.  It will “fix” the problem of sorts, but it will not do it as well as a purpose-built tool for each business process you need to manage. 

There are some areas where you may be willing to compromise for example most CRM systems also have functions to handle onboarding and service requests.  However, you wouldn’t want to bet the company financials and managing aged receivables using a spreadsheet, would you? 

Make sure you have the right tools to do the job and ensure those tools can share the necessary information to fulfil their core purpose.

Process flow mapping

Now you have your customer journey components, your stakeholders and you have outlined what tools you currently use.  Now you need to map out the process flow for each activity. 

Tip: Have your teams who perform the process map it out for you. 

First, ask them to map out the process as though they were building a new business themselves.  Empower them not to be constrained by the current environment.  This helps to increase their engagement and sense of ownership for the process and outcomes.

Then, ask them to map out the process as it is today.  You may be surprised to learn how much the process has deviated from when you first designed it.  This is completely normal.  Here is where you will see people have inherited processes, added in checks and balances which at the time made sense but now just create unnecessary burden.  If the process by design doesn’t work, then throwing more technology (or people!) at it won’t solve the problem.

Bring it all together

Now, bring all the information together.  Your stakeholders should review their “As is” and “To be” processes.  They should ensure that the business process by design is robust.  Then, evaluate your current toolset to ensure it’s fit for purpose.  Identify any gaps, and then seek out solutions either people, process, or technology to close those gaps.

After you’ve followed these simple steps you will quickly realize that there is no one size fits all CRM system.  Every business is different, but at the same time they are all very similar and it’s very rare to find new problems.  Do your research, ask your peer groups and colleagues.  Reach out to your existing trusted vendors and partners that work in your industry.  It’s highly likely they have seen the problem before and can offer a fresh or alternative perspective on how to solve the problem.