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The Big Question - Part 2

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7th Dec 2006
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Read also The Big Questions - Part 1

The CMC poses the second of our two questionnaires about the health of your business and the efficacy of your customer management strategy both externally to your customers, and internally in the context of staff comprehension, buy-in and usage.

This week's Big Question focuses on the technology aspects of your CRM strategy and the success of their implementation. As before, answer the questions honestly, and then see what insight into your business your answers offer you, your customers – and, perhaps, competitors.

At the foot of the questionnaire you will find an analysis of what a majority of a, b, or c answers means in terms of this questionnaire, and also in terms of the first Big Question, about the business aspects of your CRM implementation, published on this site a fortnight ago.

Part Two: Technology

  • You've invested in a large-scale CRM implementation. Which of these statements rings true for your business?
    a)The implementation was entirely driven by the strategic and operational needs of your business, and not the technology’s vendor’s reputation and impressive customer list
    b)You were impressed by the vendor’s customer satisfaction metrics, and rebuilt your business around the new technology
    c)You bought the technology, and now you’re a listening, customer-focused organisation

  • Did you design your customer experience...
    a) Before sourcing the right technology to match your vision?
    b/) Once you'd invested in the technology and seen what it could do?
    c) No, your vendor designed it

  • You invested in the technology principally because...
    a) You wanted to enter into a deeper dialogue with customers, so you can better meet their needs. You are satsified the technology will enable you to do that
    b) The purchase was driven by the need to be more efficient, cut costs, and automate your customer processes
    c) Your nearest rival is about to do invest in a large-scale CRM implementation and you need to stay ahead of the game to remain competitive

  • Which of these statements best describes the staff who use the technology?
    a) Staff understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They are motivated and full of ideas for customer relationship management projects
    b) They know what they’re doing, but getting them to support the new culture is an uphill struggle. You are bound to lose people who don’t like change
    c) It’s a low-skill job, so you have high staff churn. But it doesn’t matter as the technology does the job for them

  • Since installing your CRM system, customers have...
    a) Entered into a more rewarding dialogue with the business. Their feedback suggests you now respond better to their needs
    b) Been alienated to some degree, but you’re working on fixing the problem with a sustained marketing and PR campaign to win them around
    c) Started complaining, but your processes are much more efficient so you are ahead on balance and can afford to lose a few luddites

  • How high is technology on your list of priorities?
    a) Fairly, but it's a means to an end. The business comes first
    b) It has equal importance to all other business processes. You have to stay ahead of the game and that means spending big money on technology, as the market demands it
    c) It's top of the list; if you don’t get there first, someone else will

  • Did your technology vendor promise...
    a) To listen and work with you, as you know more about your customers than they do?
    b) To show you how to change your business to realise their promises of customer satisfaction?
    c) An end-to-end solution that would solve all of your problems out of the box?

  • When your customers try to do business with you online, can they...
    a) Personalise the experience, so they can self-select the kind of information they see and/or receive?
    b) Choose from a set of predefined options, so you can better sell your complete range of products to them?
    c) Contact you as efficiently as possible through the website or by other means, such as phone?

  • Once they’ve done business with your company online, can you...
    a) Slice, dice, and analyse the data so you can see who is buying what, down to the customer’s name or demographic group?
    b) Get a general idea of trends, buying habits, and customer numbers?
    c) See how many people hit your website, and sell that information on to potential advertisers?

  • Since buying the technology, have you...
    a) Been able to target the most suitable products at the right individuals or groups of individuals?
    b) Managed to migrate users towards lower-cost channels to cut costs and increase profits?
    c) Successfully weeded out unprofitable customers?

  • Since buying the technology, have you also...
    a) Used the opportunity to design a better customer experience across every channel?
    b) Concentrated on the Internet and call centres, while minimising the number of customer-facing staff?
    c) Tried to move as many customers onto the Internet as possible and closed real-world outlets to save money?

  • Do you believe the automation of your customer systems is:
    a) Something that you should hide from the customer as much as possible?
    b) A necessary evil, given the goals of your business?
    c) Something that customers are used to these days

  • What do you measure the performance of your system against?
    a) Goals
    b) Cost savings
    c) We find it hard to measure as there are so many variables

  • Do you believe your customers are...
    a) Easy to understand, but able to surprise you?
    b) Unpredictable?
    c) They take their lead from us

    Answers

    Mostly a: Your business is using technology well to meet the strategic goals of a well-managed operation where staff feel motivated and involved. You are moving closer to your customers

    Mostly b: Your business has recognised some of the advantages of technology, but you are driven by external forces, such as technology vendors and hype. Focus more on your customers and less on technology for technology’s sake.

    Mostly c: Your business is using technology to fill significant gaps in your vision and leadership. Your customers will soon vote with their feet.

    By Chris Middleton

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