10 Tips to Avoid Failure In Customer Relationship Management

Here are the 10 tips to avoid failures in your customer relationship management and increase sales.


Customer relationship management is undoubtedly taking lots of actions and decisions to give customers the best experience and maximum satisfaction using your business or services. It involves knowing your customers, knowing what they want and how they want and serving it to them in the most profiting ways for the business. But, it isn’t always a rosy experience as sometimes, one can end up triggering the direct opposite of satisfaction in the customers. As such, one needs to be careful about how to go about the whole process.

This is to help you understand some very important do’s and don’ts about Customer relationship management to avoid failure.

10 Quality Tips On How To Fix Failures In Customer Relationship Management

“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure because you won’t. It is whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” Barack Obama.

So you experienced failure with implementing CRM for your business and you are beginning to think it is not worth it; this post is for you. Jump right in with us as we take a look at 10 solid tips to fix failures in CRM.

Businesses are set up to ease customer pain points for the purpose of making profits and consequently business growth. CRM marketing is a means to this goal; so yes, when all businesses kick start a marketing strategy or CRM strategy, their hearts are always in the right place. Gathering more customer insights using both structured and unstructured data to better tailor your company’s activities to better suit the customer and thus increase customer satisfaction.

It all makes sense right? Yes of course it does. However, this sweet outcome is not what is encountered most times when businesses set out on this CRM marketing journey. Lots and lots of failures have been experienced by different companies over the years.

Tech is not CX. Just because you buy a CRM or experience management platform, that does not mean you're "doing CX." – Stephanie Thum stated in this tweet a major cause of failure in CRM for most companies.

As a result of this, we have come up with some quality tips on how to fix failures in CRM marketing. Although it is a fact that In marketing, the approach is never a on-size-fits-all scenario as business deliverables, as well as customer behavior, differs across different niches. But, understanding the underlying principles of these tips and being able to apply it properly to your own uniques situation is going to help increase the chances of success for your CRM marketing as well as fix certain mistakes., you should keep the following in mind

1. Think About the User First Before Picking Any CRM Tool:

Customer satisfaction is achieved by considering and improving two things namely customer insights and data and user efficiency (i.e better working system for sales reps, customer agents, marketers, etc). But clearly, one is more pressing than the other and that is customer insights and data, after all, any effort put into CRM marketing is ultimately for the benefit of the customer; again, customer comes first!.

Before making any choice of CRM tool, you must be sure that the tool actually does map the customer's journey i.e provides a visual representation of a customer’s journey showing all the different stages in the customer lifecycle starting from the initial contact (or purchase) until after the final purchase. This puts everything about the customer in one place visually allowing you to spot areas that need improvement in terms of customer satisfaction.

2. Choose Only Scalable CRM Tools:

CRM has always been about data, data, and more data. This fact is playing out in avoiding failure in CRM once again.

CRM is a means to an end. It is a means to business growth and expansion. Data analysis has made it very easy to speculate how big a business will be in the coming years. Hence, one must keep in mind the business goals and objectives, the estimated projections of growth and expansion of the business because it is very important that the CRM tool or solution being used by any business is able to scale and rise up to the increasing demands of the business across the different stages of growth and development. Remember, CRM marketing is a means to an end of business growth and development.

customer relationship management

3. Social Media is a CRM Tool! Choose CRM Tool that Involve Social Media Interactions with Customers:

Marketing is all about getting the word out to your target audience about all the good deliverables your business has in store for them. To get across to them, you need to go where they are! And as of today social is where everybody’s at!. In fact there is hardly no category of customers not found in any of the social media channels.

Any CRM platform or tool you’ll be using must make provisions for obtaining social information and engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This information helps to gather more and more customer insights and ultimately leading to better customer satisfaction. To avoid failure in CRM marketing, never leave out Social!

social media is a CRM Tool

4. Establish Well Defined Metrics to Measure Success:

In business and marketing, overall success is more about the journey instead of the destination. This means, the business should be able to track progress by knowing where it was, where it is right now, and where it wants to be in a stipulated time.

To be able to do this effectively, metrics of measurement must be very clearly defined by the business before even consulting or choosing any CRM platform yet. A business should be able to picture what it wants and how it intends to get there in the shortest possible time. Failure to know this is one of the leading causes of failure in CRM marketing.

5. Align Any CRM System Or Strategy Properly with the Organizational Goals:

Similar to establishing well defined metrics of measuring access according to your organizational goals. You need to set the traditional SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals. This can be likened to “knowing what you want before going to the market” to avoid being all over the market and falling for just about anything.

Valuable metrics include customer lifetime value(CLV) which helps predict how much revenue can be generated from a single customer, revenue generated by campaign, customer acquisition cost (CAC). These metrics help you see how much you are spending and just how much benefits you are receiving in return. This will help you see if the CRM tool picked is helping the business.

6. Decisions and Strategies Should Always be Data-Backed:

Any CRM strategy or platform which makes decisions on mere speculations and not tested and trusted data should not be encouraged. You see, before you make any decision, the numbers must be supporting that action because in the field of CRM is just so it seems so if the numbers do not say so.

Data helps you know what to look out for and where to look for it to help fix problems more quickly. Any CRM tool or platform your business would be using should have strong analytics features that will help you speed up your sales process for faster business growth.

7. Integrate your CRM systems with Other Systems:

As it is no longer news that, customers are now spread thin across different preferred channels and that to get your word to them you need to be on those channels as well.

However, it’s obviously going to be a lot of work and even more confusing. Therefore, your CRM platform needs to integrate all these platforms and channels together to make the task of tracking customer insights very clean and effective. This will fix the mistakes up to a reasonable extent.

8. Choose Only CRM Softwares And Platforms That Solves Your Organizational Pain Points:

knowing what you want and where you want to be before consulting any CRM platform cannot be overemphasized. If your SMART goals are clearly stated, success is already 50% achieved. The next important thing to do is find and research CRM tools and platforms with the ability and features to help you achieve those goals.

9. Formulate Automated Business Process:

Automated business processes refer to a series of carefully thought-out action sequences such as sending notifications, approvals, invoices, etc. for the sole purpose of achieving set business goals. Automation is an integral factor for success in that it is faster and attends to customer needs at the right times.

10. Set Realistic Goals:

Attaining business goals is more about the journey than the destination. The earlier businesses start realizing this fact, the better. Hence, when consulting or adopting any CRM strategy, tools or platforms it is highly imperative to know the status of the business, and goals that can be achieved per time. CRM in particular is a process as relationships do not just sprout in a day, it takes time to build trust and understanding that should help you set only SMART realistic goals. Remember it is a marathon and not a sprint; settle in for the long haul!

set business goals

Some CRM Failures and What Went Wrong

To gain a better perspective of the earlier listed tips. It is important to see how taking these things into consideration or neglecting them plays out in real life scenarios. These cases properly demonstrated intents for success via CRM but at the end of the day, their expectations were not met.

1. CIGNA Healthcare In 2002:

Cigna Corporation is a health insurance company in the US. At the end of 2001, CIGNA’s membership was about 13.3 million but by the end of 2002, memberships were down by 12.5 million. The management reported that this was a result of misquoting their number of customers. 6% of the company's healthcare members were lost in 2002 alone.

Although about 1 billion USD was directed towards restructuring their IT and CRM systems at the healthcare division, the cost of implementing that restructuring was greater than that and the misconceptions about the timing of yielding the benefits of the project, the project was still a total failure.

This is illustrated in the statement of the new president of Cigna, Patrick Welch, in 2002. He said, "The cost is greater than anticipated, much of the economic and service benefits are yet to be realized, and transformation shortfalls have led to service shortfalls, which have led to lower new sales and [customer] retention."

This is a classic example of failing to set realistic goals, making decisions without adequate data and probably lacking measurable metrics to access progress. This failure led to a huge amount of customer dissatisfaction and consequently business decline.

You can read more about this case Here.

2. HERSHEY’ Scary Halloween:

In 1999, Hershey was one of the nation’s largest producers of candy. And the candy business peaks around October and December; Halloween season! In fact, 40% of sales are made during that period. Unfortunately for Hershey, they were unable to supply their customers at this very crucial period due to CRM related issues.

You see, earlier in the year, Hershey had pumped about 112 million USD towards modernizing business practices by rolling out new customer data and delivery systems. Obviously, this was to increase customer satisfaction. But, what went wrong?

It was a classic case of failing to “set achievable goals” as Hershey had expected the implementations to be complete just before taking orders and deliveries in the Halloween season. However, although they knew that the business processes were intricate yet followed a more aggressive approach that puts all the infrastructure on at the same time. The project ran behind schedule and Hershey was unable to make it in time to send out delivery by Halloween. A scary one indeed for Hershey.

Clearly, the inability to set realistic goals, lack of metrics of measuring success, leaving out customers in the decision making process as well as inadequate data amongst many other things played out in this failure.

When CRM is improperly implemented, both financial losses such as budget overruns, high running costs post-implementation, low ROI, and customer service quality decline in terms of negative brand perception, slower time to market, customer frustration will be experienced. Sales effectiveness and cultural impact also experience a downtrend and the reasons are always in and around failure to effectively and accurately follow the tips earlier listed. Businesses should take note.

Concluding Thoughts

CRM is a means to an end; the end being customer satisfaction for the purpose of business growth. To avoid failure, always keep in mind the tips listed above. Any decision should be backed by data and have the interest of the customer as the number one deciding factor. Reasonable metrics of measuring success should be set to ensure that the approach is more focused on the journey and what can be learned in the process rather than just the final destination. Understand your business niche and customer behavior and make decisions that best suit them. If all these factors are properly and accurately considered, attaining maximum satisfaction for business growth is just within your reach!"

Improper Lead Management Potential leads walk into your business when the sales team is effective and responsive. How long would you manage your leads by relying on a calling system or in a way forgot traditional way? The absence of CRM makes your business like a Shining Sun behind the dark clouds. You would see ending yourself before you begin the journey to grow and expand because there would be no effective communication with your leads. As they are responsible for your business to run, what do you expect your business must be without them? The CRM system tunes you to the real-time scenarios wherein you’ll be able to view conversations, deals, and project scenarios. The sales teams’ performance rises.

Difficulties while Locating Customer Data Earlier, businesses used to maintain a long list of files such as spreadsheets, sticky notes, emails, etc. But, all these tools limit the potential to the team’s visibility and make decisions quickly. A handful of customer data is manageable but what about if the customer base increases? It gets complicated to handle; a reality to face indeed.

Unable to Identify Blind Spots in Sales More the potential clients bumping in, the high is your business growth is. And, most of the sales teams need to research customer needs rather than just answering their queries. The clear pitching on customer wants and identifying the lacking aspects aren’t possible without the help of CRM. If you identify, that contributes to only 25% of understanding.

The Shortfall of Customer Service Now, what happens when blind spots aren’t covered? Simply put – customer engagement declines that affect your business. From a huge potential client base to very few – a consequent decline pushes you to stay far from aligning with the inclined aspects of the business.

Ineffective Account Management Are you missing milestones? Are you unable to track deals effectively? Is there a delay in coordinating across the teams? Then, you’re missing the real rules of the business sport. As your sales go out of sight, so your accounts. There will be a long haul to miss on events for your valuable customers.

CRM solutions track every behavior of accounts. A perfect relationship with an account is maintained with the help of CRM software.

Increased Time efforts across Processes The real ineffectiveness is here - Increased efforts for manual entries to generate reports. More than selling, it’s reporting; more than handling potential customers, it’s time-consuming. Moreover, there is a possibility of missing the complete information on your clients. CRM captures every detail of your customer – from contact details to social profiles. CRM dynamically generates reports based on the history and behavior of clients and various teams.

Delayed Business Growth Lack of confidence to scale up, losing on crucial client aspects, and being unable to streamline the processes are terrible pitfalls. If you think that you need to boost your processes, then it’s time to have a perfect CRM solution for your business.

One of the above scenarios might have hit you hard and crm.io is a leading solution by 500apps and is claimed by the most successful business builders. It’s the right software to invest in and a potential tool to optimize every wing of your business.


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