The most important consideration in your CRM system

In a Walker Study, it was reported by 2020 that customer experience will be more paramount than price or product as a differentiator. An American Express study showed a better experience may lead to customers’ willingness to pay more.

From a humble data management system, CRM systems have evolved over the years. Today, it is probably more apt to describe it as a customer experience and relationship management system. To this end, the statistics reported above are critical information.

When evaluating a CRM system, the focus usually veers towards the technological capabilities of the system. The common topics of discussion to this effect include scalability, reporting and analytics, integration with other applications as well as integration with other software.

However, scant attention is paid to the needs of customers. They tend to be ancillary to the decision-making process. Given that a CRM system shapes a customer’s interaction with your business, it defines the customer experience. To add, it can be end-to-end, depending on the functionalities you have chosen.

In a December 2018 report published in Harvard Business Review, it was reported that between 18%-69% of CRM system implementations failed. A common reason for this is the tendency for companies to see a CRM system as a magic wand that will suddenly drive lead generation.

While driving leads and sales is an expectation, bear in mind that customer management is a continuous endeavour that places customers at the heart of the business. In today’s business landscape, it involves customer experience. CRM systems are essential enablers to this end.

A CRM system is part of a larger customer management strategy. Hence, having a clear view of the ideal customer experience is a strategic imperative in choosing the right CRM system.

Here’s a checklist to facilitate a customer-centric focus in your selection process:

1. How well do you know your customers?
2. What is a typical buyers’ journey like?
3. What are the critical points in the buyers’ journey?
4. When do customers decide?

Stay customer focused in your choice of CRM systems. It represents the customer experience embedded in your brand promise.