Friday, May 21, 2010

Culture Change to enhance CRM Acceptance

Success of a CRM venture requires acceptance of CRM at an Organizational Level. A CRM enabled organization is tuned completely towards its customers and listens to them through all available channels, then acts to fulfill customer needs. To enable this, processes across the organization need to be aligned towards achieving this goal. If the thought process is that CRM is only going to impact the customer facing processes and not others, then the Organization may not have thought through the initiative. The next important step is to identify the processes and people who will be impacted. A big risk to any change management program is that there is not sufficient buy-in from people who are responsible for implementing it. People who are actually going to execute the CRM initiative need to know how things will change. It is important that some key people are identified as champions of the initiative and initial successes are celebrated. The more the number of users who understand, accept and then actively promote the CRM initiative, better are the chances of its success.
In most Organizations which do not involve employees in decision making process, employees develop a confirmatory response model. This model is performance orientated while an exploratory response model gives more stress on learning. For a change initiative of the scale of CRM to be successful, unfreezing of the existing ways of doing things is essential. Employees with exploratory response are more tuned accepting such changes and championing them. Organizations may want to understand the response model of employees and help move towards the exploratory model. Change becomes easy when the combination of the following happen:
  1. there is sufficient dissatisfaction with the existing environment (D)
  2. there is a clear vision of the future which is superior to the current situation (V)
  3. people commit to taking first steps towards the goal (F)
When the combination of these is greater than the resistance (R) to change, change happens.
D x V x F > R
To create such an environment in the organization should be the goal of the top management. One of the critical points to note is the first steps towards the goal need to be positive and encouraging. For CRM implementations, usability of the CRM system play a crucial role in forming opinions about the system and whether it will be able to deliver the vision. While most CRM providers are aware of this and some have invested heavily on usability related research, I have seen multiple issues with the usability of CRM systems. CRM vendors as well as System Integrators need to understand their direct and end customers better in terms of demographics, psychographics etc to make systems that are in tune with their individual needs and backgrounds.

1. Gleicher’s Formula: D x V x F > R

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