Planning the perfect Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software is not an easy feat. Many companies don’t understand the tremendous responsibility that goes with such a task, and that’s why so many of them suffer afterwards. There are several difficulties that any business will face when they plan the perfect CRM, it’s unavoidable. That being said, being prepared and understanding what goes into the process ensures that there will be no headaches and that some companies will be able to move forward as others struggle to decipher what went wrong.
User Experience & Customer Relationship Management
Before we get too far into the idea of CRM, we first need to talk about 2 specific terms: User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience. These two words are very casually thrown out there in the business world, but many don’t truly understand how the words impact the business. Some even mistakenly think they are interchangeable, when they are very much different.
For starters, the user experience is the term that is used to describe the interaction a user has with a product, service, or system. When it comes to CRM, this is the strategy of it all. The customer experience is the feedback that is given from customers that have interacted with the organization. You can think of this as the business process. Lastly, the CRM itself is used to describe the technology that is used for the overall experience. By being able to differentiate everything and know what terms are used for each experience, it will be much easier to prepare yourself for the perfect CRM.
Customer Relationship Management Strategy In Today’s World
Now that we have the basics covered, it’s time to dive in and talk about how all of these aspects come together. CRM is implemented by all of the world’s biggest corporations. It is the foundation of their business, yet very few put the effort into overhauling how it works. CRM manages interactions with customers and has a lasting impact on how the company is viewed. Some of the main areas where CRM is used include customer service, marketing, and tech support. Without the proper CRM, each of these aspects could falter and create a very bad experience for customers and users.
What companies don’t realize is that even though their view on CRM has not changed, the game has been dramatically altered. With the introduction of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the way customers interact with companies has forever changed. Customer don’t simply go to customer service sites or make calls anymore, they can send messages via Facebook or tweet their concerns. If businesses don’t get to these in a timely manner, they are looked at as irresponsible and don’t care about their customers.
Customers today don’t just want a service or product, they pay for an experience as well. In other words, if they feel that they have had a bad experience with a company, they will pack up and take their business somewhere else where they feel that they are valued. It’s no longer about who has what, but how they handle each individual’s needs. This is a two-way door, of course, and new companies can quickly take advantage of social services in order to pull in new customers from bigger companies that are lagging behind.
Even though how customers are reached has changed, that doesn’t mean that the overall goal has. Customers are still looking for the same care and attention they used to get, just in a different way. Once companies are able to see that universal desire, they will be able to create a plan that will help them become successful. CRM isn’t something that has become something entirely different, it’s just changed with the times and become a little evolved.
Those that don’t adopt the changes now are in for a rude awakening much later, as everyone is taking this leap to the social realm. It’s not just the younger crowd, as older generations are enjoying the immediacy that is linked to social networking as well. If companies don’t reach out to customers in a way that they want, they will find someone else who will and go there instead. Just like the digital age changed how books and movies are sold and rented, the social ream has changed the CRM landscape.
However, this is just the beginning of the challenges that are associated with planning the perfect Customer Relationship Management Strategy. There are several other issues that must be addressed to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. One such example are the user experience challenges that CRM users can face.
UX Challenges in Customer Relationship Management Strategy
The user experience, also known as UX, has several different factors that have to be addressed for it to be successful. When a company pays attention to these points and is prepared for them, they will be able to initiate a smooth launch that both users and customers can appreciate.
1. Stakeholders Not Accepting User Experience (UX) for Target Audience
The first thing that needs to be addressed is getting stakeholders to accept user experience for the target audience. Some people may think that user experience is the same no matter what the market, but nothing is further from the truth. Many user experience models are streamlined with a specific audience in mind. Think about it. Wouldn’t a company that sells services be different than one that sells products? Shouldn’t there be a different way that issues are handled because the priorities are going to be different? It’s important for everyone in the company to see the importance of choosing the right CRM, not just the one that is the cheapest or seems to be the easiest.
Users don’t want to feel like they are an afterthought. They need to know that their experiences matter and that they are important. If they feel like their concerns are being cast aside, they will think that the company doesn’t care. If they find another competitor that sends a different message, chances are very high that they will jump ship and go somewhere else. Implement measures so that you shift your business structure to provide a better user experience. Let the stakeholders understand why the user experience is important and why CRM must be a perfect fit for everyone.
2. Not Planning for a Responsive Experience
Another big mistake that companies make is not preparing for a responsive experience. User experience is not something that is just placed there and then left alone. It is an experience, which means a lot more has to go into it. Your user experience strategy should be constantly monitored and tweaked accordingly. People don’t want to think that all of their responses are going into a void and they just sit there waiting; there needs to be action that is taken. Users may even provide feedback on what they think, positive or negative. If solutions are not achieved quickly and satisfactorily, it’s the same as not having one to begin with.
3. Too Many Screens used for Navigation
Here’s an issue that most people don’t think about to much, but it frustrates them anyways. There is such a thing as having too many screens to work through. Everyone has experienced this at one time or another, and nobody is happy to deal with it. There are instances where people know where they want to go, but they have to slog through screen after screen to make it there. A good example would be checking out online and then adding the item, logging in, typing the shipping address, adding card info, and then the verification code on separate pages. Almost all of these could be handled with one page, so why use more than needed? The same thought process can be used for user experience.
While it may be hard to implement in the beginning, it’s important to sit back and think about which pages are needed and which ones can be condensed or removed completely. Users like clicking from one screen to another and quickly reaching their destination. Simply put, why have three screens when you can have one? Go through each page and think about why it is there and what purpose it serves. If it’s there “just because,” then it’s time to scrap it and make the process much easier for everyone. Let users go in and out in a timely manner, and they will come back time and time again because they know that they can knock out what they need to do and go back to their daily lives without wasting time. They’ll appreciate you for that.
4. Product is Not Designed with the User in Mind
Lastly, there are some instances where to product itself is simply not designed for the user in mind. Maybe the target audience is right and the users are correct, but the individual who is using the software. The user is the one who will be using the software the most, and that’s exactly why it is crucial that they feel comfortable with it. If they want to use the software one way, but it won’t allow them to, it can make them feel frustrated and left out. Be sure to take the time to think about who will be using the software and how they will benefit from each individual feature the most.
CX Challenges with Customer Relationship Management Strategy
Referred to many as CX, Customer Experience may be the most important aspect of all. Without customers, there is no need for users or even the company itself. Customers are the ones that provide the paychecks for everyone, even the execs, so why are they so often left out to fend for themselves? Some of the biggest CX issues with CRM can be addressed very quickly and will even end up saving the company money in the long run. Don’t overlook these crucial CX challenges that exist and can ruin a company’s overall experience.
1. Stakeholders Don’t Understand that CX is Needs More than Technology
So, you’ve taken the time and effort to get the best technology available? That’s great, but that does not link to CX in any meaningful way. Sure, having good technology is a step in the right direction, but CX is about much more than what software is capable of doing; it’s about having something that is powerful, yet easy to use. In fact, you can have something that is less powerful that is capable of accomplishing more and satisfying more customers.
This is one instance where money is not the solution, though being able to afford expensive software may be beneficial. What’s necessary is software that is powerful and easy to use. Like the user experience, a clean interface is appreciated over something that is strong, but requires screen after screen to get through. See how the technology can be used to make the user experience something positive and something that customers want to use time and time again.
2. There is No Leadership Commitment in the Company
Another pitfall that exists within companies is that there is no leadership commitment within the company. Things like CRM take a lot of time and attention to get right, and most companies are not making it enough of a priority to have the right leadership at the forefront. Without the right people guiding the ship, it will be destined to crash. If you truly want your user experience and customer experience to improve, you need to make it a priority enough to have someone in charge with a positive vision in mind. There needs to be focus on the company’s future and not just the present, otherwise the software and company will never gain footing.
3. Companies Don’t Understand that there Needs to be Complete Customer Lifecycle
Speaking of looking at the big picture and thinking about a company’s future, companies need to take time to understand and think about the complete customer lifecycle, not just the present needs. Customers are still important after they get what they need and go back to their daily lives. When customer service is done right, customers know exactly where to go for their concerns to be heard and who to rely on. This type of loyalty is very important and cannot be created or remade in a short period of time. By thinking about what the customers need, you are able to stay ahead of the game and create a loyal network what will stick through a lot more than a typical customer.
4. Companies aren’t Embedding CX at the Cultural Level
CX is not just a thing, it’s a way of life. It’s how companies survive and how some of the giants have been taken down. It’s not just enough for businesses to implement CX and try to make the best of it; it needs to be a priority. Only then will customers and users be able to see the true benefits of CRM and how it impacts everything in the business world. It’s a culture, and need to be treated as such. Creating a business culture will mean that customers and their experiences, along with users, are going to be a top priority.
Speaking of cultures, it’s also important to take a minute to think about what type of person is accessing your services. Are there people around the world, or just in one concentrated area? If you are trying to make an impact on the global scale, think about how your CX needs to accommodate for different cultures and populations. Not all countries are created the same, and customers will appreciate when a company goes out of its way to make something easier to use for people all around the world.
Integrating these Factors Together for a Truly Unique Experience
Creating a successful CRM experience is hard, but the payoff is well worth it. Fusing all of these aspects together ensures that customers not only get what they need, but will come back time and time again.
Want to learn more?
If you’re interested in the managerial and strategic aspects of UX, then consider to take the online course on UX Management and Strategy. If, on the other hand, you want to brush up on the basics of UX and Usability, then consider to take the online course on User Experience (or another design topic). Good luck on your learning journey!
(Lead image: Depositphotos)