If you have absolutely no tool in place to track customers’ interactions, you need a CRM system. If you do have a tool in place but are not satisfied with it, take a good look at it before deciding to start over. Why?
- Problems that appear to
be tool problems may stem from other causes.
a new tool requires significant amounts of time and money, and requires
retraining customers and staff to use it.
- You don’t want to embark on such a
project without having a clear requirement to do so.
What other areas could cause what appear to be tool issues? Very often, the root cause is poor processes rather than the tool itself. Processes that are inefficient, not customer-friendly, or plain confusing need to be fixed before any tool can be successful. It’s true that a tool implementation process will expose process issues, giving you an opportunity to fix them, but it’s really an expensive and roundabout way to address process issues. Fix the processes first, and then worry about the tool.
The second root cause, which is often difficult to isolate, lies with the specific implementation of the tool. In other words, you can have a tool that’s basically sound, but the particular implementation (customization) you are running with is poor. It’s not that hard to twist a good tool into a poor customized version thereof (although it’s not possible to contrive a good implementation of an ill-suited tool). Poor implementations cause poor day-to-day performance, and typically more headaches and problems when it’s time to upgrade to the next version, so they are a very big issue.
What follows are two different instruments to evaluate your current CRM tool and to untangle the root cause of issues you may encounter.
The first one (the five-minute test) is very quick and focuses on a handful of critical questions to determine how well your tool is performing and whether any shortcomings come from process or implementation weaknesses rather than the tool itself. It’s a good starting point, especially if you have already done some research in this area.
The second one (the detailed inventory) is much more thorough and explicit and is meant for 1) those hurried souls who went through the five-minute test and want to explore specific areas in more detail and 2) those of you who prefer an in-depth approach. The detailed inventory includes more questions and, for each question, explains why it’s important, how to go about evaluating that particular area, and how to identify root causes.
The chapter ends with a list of good and bad reasons to get a new CRM tool. This is the place to go if you are tempted to make a move although your current tool is working well just because you saw a cool demo or you want the latest technology. By the end of the chapter, you should have a good idea of whether you need a new CRM tool.