How to rescue your failing CRM system

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*ZEDA discusses how to recover a failed CRM project*

Customer Relationship Management projects that have struggled through implementation do not usually deliver any kind of return on investment, according to IT services company, ZEDA. But, all is not lost and there are a number of ways to optimise a CRM solution and achieve payback.

John Worth, Head of CRM at ZEDA, advises companies to adopt a ten point checklist:

  1. Look at the project today and assess how the business need has changed since the original purchase

  2. Separate business requirements into present and longer term

  3. Assess if there is new software on the market that can be used to fill in any gaps and kick-start the CRM programme

  4. Identify any new IT applications (the so-called ‘Band-Aid solutions’) that have been acquired since the original CRM system was installed. Assess if they’re still needed or whether currently available functionality will suffice

  5. Consider using external consultants for independent advice on matching technology to business requirements, and ensuring effective implementation

  6. When the CRM application is deployed in a contact centre, then consider streamlining the number of other applications which the customer service agents need to use to complete queries. This will cut down on complexity, reduce staff churn, reduce training time and significantly improve agent performance

  7. Break the project down into multiple phases, so that each stage can be completed before the next is started, ensuring a sequence of ‘quick wins’

  8. Keep it simple - with modern, sophisticated applications, it is all too easy to make things more complicated than they really need to be

  9. Decide what constitutes the key business information that the company requires for decision support and analytical purposes. Timely business intelligence enables the company to make better decisions and, used in conjunction with CRM, enables it to become much more agile to win new business, resolve customer issues faster and make better, more informed decisions to stay ahead of the competition

  10. Don’t forget to comprehensively test the software and the overall application performance before they go live

For most CRM systems, the work stops once the technology has been installed. However, for it to continue working successfully, it is crucial to address some ongoing issues, as Worth explains: "It is important not to lose sight of the reason why the applications were purchased - and to fully embrace the fact that the real payback resides in the last 10% of effort required to fully deploy the CRM solution."

For a copy of the whitepaper, 'CRM - Project Recovery & Optimisation' by John Worth at ZEDA, please contact Chloe Troughton.

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