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Charity donates CRM advice

9th Jul 2010
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The Teacher Support Network shares the benefit of its experience rolling out a CRM system.

"You don’t need a huge team to use a CRM system so for others thinking that they’re too small, it’s not necessarily the case," according to Sally Baker, client experience manager with charity, the Teacher Support Network. "CRM can be for small organisations not just multinationals and once you’ve got to grips with it, the data you get out of it can be really useful," she adds.

The charity, which started life as the Teacher’s Benevolent Fund and currently employs 15 staff, introduced its CRM system in 2006 in a bid to ensure that service users received consistent support across all touch points. Other aims included increasing the number of services available and improving its market research capabilities to ensure continual service improvement.

The Teacher Support Network, which employs software-as-a-service provider RightNow Technologies’ CRM offering, currently provides a 24-hour telephone support line, which receives about 16,000 calls each year. It also offers online fact sheets and tools such as a stress test and ‘Wheel of Wellbeing’ to help teachers explore their current state of mind and identify possible areas for change.

Baker said: "We run an anonymous service so people don’t have to let us know who they are if they contact us. But if they are happy to give us their information and use email or an online tool before calling us, we can track their journey through. This means that they don’t have to repeat themselves as we can look back on their records."

The charity has likewise just started using the data held in its CRM system to generate regular, targeted email newsletter campaigns in a bid to boost service usage and fundraising. The newsletters are segmented into both its target countries of England, Scotland and Wales and different demographics such as new or retired teachers. Anonymised trends data is also analysed to try and optimise service quality.

"We use the software to know what’s working. So with fact sheets, for example, it’s good to know what is popular when and how many people are looking at them so that we can use the information for campaigns to generate higher service use," Baker said.

Having customer information centralised into a single place has also enabled the Network to "build a better picture of people coming to us" in order to provide "a better service than we could ever have done before when our systems didn’t talk to each other" she added.

Because implementing a CRM system is "a big deal", however, she believes that the secret to success is in the planning. "Plan, plan, plan. It’s quite difficult to go back and change things later so you have to ensure you know what journey the organisation and the customer want to take. You should also make space for future stuff, even if you never actually do it," Baker said.

As to what the future holds for the Network, the next step will be to undertake social media monitoring. While the charity already has a presence on both Twitter and Facebook, it is keen to better understand both its brand perception and to participate in teachers’ existing conversations taking place on blogs and social networking sites.


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