TO PREPARE FOR A NEW WAVE
OF CRM, IT’S IMPORTANT TO
LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES AND
PITFALLS OF ITS EARLY YEARS.
BY JILL DYCHÉ
BASELINE JULY/AUGUST 2010
WHEN I WROTE THE CRM HANDBOOK: ABusiness Guideto CRM in 2002, companies were spending tens of millions of dollars on
CRM software, but industry analysts were predicting that
80 percent of CRM projects would fail.
The mistakes and pitfalls of CRM’s early days are now
legendary. Companies rushed to embrace CRM technologies,
only to discover that automation couldn’t fix broken business
processes, absent strategies or bad data.
Consultants keen on helping beleaguered companies get
back on track proselytized the importance of change management to CRM initiatives, but that didn’t stick. As executives continued to aim their silver-bullet technologies toward
the customer experience, they remained mired in incumbent
business processes and traditional success metrics.
Everyone wanted to participate in vendor evaluation,
but no one wanted to own the streamlining of order-to-cash
processes or new measurements for customer satisfaction.
Despite millions of dollars spent on CRM technologies, it
really was business as usual.
Most executives now admit that they were ill-equipped to
launch their CRM efforts. Hopes for automating customer-facing business processes and achieving the celebrated “single
view of the customer” were dashed as sales, marketing and
customer service executives came to terms with the fact that
CRM was more than just a technology solution.
NEW BEST PRACTICES
Today, however, new corporate strategies are resuscitating
the need for deliberate and sustained customer management. Is your company ready for the next wave of CRM?
Smart executives are heeding the lessons of firms that have
gone before them. They’re aligning CRM efforts to corporate
strategies and forgoing technology investments until their
road maps are in place. They’re forging partnerships with
consulting firms that have structured delivery approaches.
They’re being deliberate about incremental deployment, and
are keeping the customer top-of-mind every step of the way.
Grange Insurance, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of
these forward-thinking companies. “We were lucky that
we had an executive team willing to invest in the customer
experience,” says Mike Buzek, the vice president of EODB
(ease of doing business), “but we knew we couldn’t sit around
building vision statements and conducting focus groups. We
had to craft solid requirements, identify the key stakeholders
and define how we were going to execute. And we could never
lose sight of what is best for our agents and policyholders.”
Buzek and his team are a reflection of the new best prac-
tices in customer management. Here are five habits followed
by savvy business owners of customer-focused programs:
1. Don’t call it “CRM.” The term is fraught with baggage. Customer initiatives are now business-owned and