What a CRM system does NOT do for you

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Your CRM system is as good as the information your employees enter in it. No CRM system is capable of “making up” data for you.

The “halo” of improved customer experience surrounding the implementation process needs to be broken down before any actual implementation starts. Much too frequently, organizations assume that the mere implementation of a CRM system is enough to put an end to all bad customer experiences. However, a CRM system is just a worthless tool if it lacks the proper underlying business change and processes. If these changes and processes are not adopted by the organization, you will effectively be moving backward instead of forward.

Just an anecdote from my own experience to put things in perspective. I used to own a “mini MPV,” like a Renault Kangoo or a Citroën Berlingo. There were some obvious reasons for this choice. The boot, for instance, was big enough to fit a buggy or even an unfolded stroller; the volume of the car easily swallowed my windsurfing gear; and, last but not least, the sliding back doors afforded easy access to children in child seats. So, there were plenty of reasons for that specific choice.


Given my background in the automotive industry, I serviced my car at the dealership. At some stage, apparently, the settings in that dealership’s CRM system decided that it was time for me to buy a new car. Based on their information, the dealership started sending me emails with cars that should be of interest to me. Funnily enough, they started proposing cars in the size range of a Renault Clio or a Peugeot 207. Because I was interested in how they would use my feedback to fine-tune their offers, I replied indicating that I was more interested in a “mini MPV.” The other bit of information I was hoping they would provide—upon learning that I was, in fact, interested in receiving offers—was the actual additional cost to obtain the car offered. They know me and my car; they see it frequently in their garage. How hard would it be to include an actual quote that makes me rush to their salesmen in order to get the deal done?

Unfortunately my response—providing them with a refinement of my profile—did not lead to a more refined offer. The next offer I received was for exactly the same as the the first. I sent my initial response once more, hoping that someone would react. But when the next offer was the same yet again, I gave up—ultimately opting for a completely different brand when finally did replace my car.

So, the next time you are confronted with the introduction of a new CRM system that is brought to you as a game changer, please ensure that the business-change part lies within the scope of the project as well. If that has not been covered by the plans yet, you might be heading for the next disastrous implementation without proper adoption by the business.

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