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Making CRM work for non-technical customers

What are some tips to develop CRM policies and technology to serve non-technical customers?

We're a 135-year-old midsized publishing house, beginning a corporate transformation based on customer centricity. We're committed to making business process changes, and have chosen a call center software solution to support this goal. I'm leading the team developing the customer-facing solutions. I think my biggest challenge will be educating our customer base as to the new opportunities for service. Most of our customers are churches and church workers, and they are only beginning to become comfortable with technology. For instance, even when we advertise a special over Web or email, 75% of these orders still come by phone.

What are some tips to keep in mind as we develop CRM policies and technology to serve these non-technical customers?
Vanguard's list of keys to success for CRM include the following:

Executive vision and sponsorship
A CRM strategy
Cross-functional teams
Great project management
A review and redesign of current processes, call flows, workflows, screens
Good vendor partner(s)
A plan for change management
Acceptance of challenges
A phased implementation
Ongoing resource commitment


Each of these could lead to a discussion in itself. But I will highlight a few things based on our experience and the situation you describe. With a non-technical user base, change management will be key -- that includes change management for internal users, as well as for your customers. Change management includes communication, education, and reinforcement. Your customer service reps (CSRs) will need to be advocates of the changes, and educators (and encouragers!) for your customers. Everyone will need to understand the answer to "what's in it for me?" That may mean you need to offer incentives to your CSRs, and possibly your users.

I think three other keys to success to highlight for you are cross functional teams, process change, and a phased implementation. Your team needs to include business and technical people, and ideally some CSRs. Some rigorous process design may be in order, depending on the types of changes you're making. And phasing the changes in, with adequate time for pilots and rollout, is very important when you have a potentially reluctant user base. Take your time to do it right.

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