This article throws light upon the eight main factors responsible for the success of CRM. The factors are: 1. Top Management Commitment and Support 2. Define and Communicate CRM Strategy 3. Culture Change 4. Inter-Departmental Integration 5. Skillful Staff 6. Key Information on Customers 7. Manage IT Structure 8. Customer Involvement.
Factor # 1. Top Management Commitment and Support:
Top management involvement in the CRM implementation plan has been identified in almost all success factors studies as a crucial factor that ensure the successful implementation of CRM. Considering the scope of CRM implementation as an enterprise-wide strategy requires a full support by the top level of the organizational structure. The role of board level is essential in backing the CRM implementation process and securing required amount of financing for putting CRM projects into action.
Factor # 2. Define and Communicate CRM Strategy:
A clear definition of the CRM strategy and alignment of this strategy to the company’s strategy would facilitate the transition of changing work structure and environment toward customer-centric approach. The absence of a clear CRM strategy or the lack of developing such a plan could cause the failure of CRM implementation. Additionally, publishing the strategy to the staff is required to raise their awareness of the CRM objectives, implications, and benefits.
Factor # 3. Culture Change:
In order for CRM to succeed in realizing its objectives, organization should develop a culture where all staff are encouraged to share and learn from new work structure and information that is based on customers. Expected resistance of new ways of conducting work tasks within the organization’s culture should be addressed and minimized.
Factor # 4. Inter-Departmental Integration:
From s strategic perspective CRM implementation has an organization-wide influence. Different functions and departments of the organization should be integrated and connected with a structure that support the flow of information.
Although all aspects of the organization should be integrated, a special consideration should be devoted to functions that have direct interaction with customers such marketing, sales, and services. Such integration is required to deliver a unified view of the organizations and its products to the customers.
Factor # 5. Skillful Staff:
Employees play a key role in the success of CRM projects. Issues of the nature of learning new work systems, training programs, change resistance, willingness to share information, and motivating staff should be taken to consideration.
Factor # 6. Key Information on Customers:
Acquiring and analyzing the right quantity and quality of information on customers helps to meet customer’s needs. The right information is the base for designing customized products and services.
Factor # 7. Manage IT Structure:
Considering CRM as only a technological solution is a vital misconception that resulted in increasing failure of CRM projects. Nevertheless, IT is an enabler for acquiring and managing valuable data on customers. Technological aspects such as data warehouse capabilities and software configuration in addition to the influence of the internet are crucial for CRM successful implementation
Factor # 8. Customer Involvement:
Direct and indirect Involvement of customers in CRM designing is a tool for strengthening practical CRM. Such an involvement helps the organization to analyze the customer relationship life cycle and consequently find the areas of problems that can be managed by CRM. Furthermore, customers’ acceptance and interaction with CRM systems could be enhanced by involving those customers in building CRM systems.