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Can your In-house System accelerate growth?

Today, customers need answers to their queries instantly or they will choose a competitor’s product. Does your current inhouse system match the needs of your business and IT departments?

Executive Summary

In-house systems (also sometimes referred to as home-grown systems) are usually created to solve a particular problem like feedback from a survey, customer complaints, new deals and so on. As the organization grows and its customer base increases, employees find they need to navigate between multiple systems to access critical information. Also, as members of their IT and business department attrite, strategies change and sometimes existing legacy systems are abandoned with their data.

Customer do not want to wait while a customer service representative attempts to retrieve their data - separate systems for customer contact details, purchase history, complaints and pending deliveries. Today’s customers want real-time information and instant follow-ups, they frequently use multi-channel communication including social networks to interact with organizations and their stakeholders.

An effective CRM solutions ensures a secure 360 degree view of customers with all related records are easily accessible to customer facing teams and back-office personnel involved with support and products. It optimizes your customer strategies and ensures business processes are streamlined and continuously updated to maximize customer experience. A carefully implemented CRM system will provide useful insights for co-creating products and increasing customers who are loyal and contribute the most to your organization’s bottom line revenues.

Recommendations

  • Do not delete existing customer information, use it to as historical data to improve future strategies.
  • Select a CRM solution carefully, it should be scalable and facilitate smooth migration and integration of data from existing systems.
  • Ensure the CRM implementation is practice-led and future-proof.
  • Create alerts and escalations to optimize performance and instantly pinpoint bottlenecks.

Is your existing system a solution or problem?

Many businesses believe that owning a customer facing application makes them a customer-centric organisation. They hastily embark on the CRM initiative by solving a specific 'current' problem, rather than having a holistic CRM approach towards customer-centricity. As the organization grows, newer problems arise and the application becomes more of a gridlock than an accelerator for progress.

Being a home-grown system, it further compels rework. This tangles maintenance, updating and training - taking the organization further away from customer-centricity and making them a victim of their own invention.

Have your organisation's CRM needs outgrown the in-house application?

The moment of truth, a reality check-

  • Can your home-grown CRM create a single view across all customer touch points, channels, applications and functions?
  • Can your home-grown CRM create a single view across all customer touch points, channels, applications and functions?
  • Can your system embrace newer media, add teams, geographies etc. on the fly, without making any code change?
  • Does your system build on the foundation of best practices not only of your industry but also across industries and geographies?
  • Is your system able to implement unified TAT and comply with SLAs that span across multiple departments and systems?
  • Is the outcome of reports just data, or information that provides actionable insights to facilitate better decision making?
  • Are you able to provide decision making with progressively evolving reporting engine support?
  • Are you able to maintain the application with high attrition in your IT staff?

The genesis of home-grown applications

Organizations aim to make their services or sales more efficient by building applications that lower response time and create a database of leads/ customers' likes, dislikes, investments, etc. As the number of customers increase manifold they invest more time and money into their application to make it cope with the new responsibilities. The puzzle becomes more confusing as the operations required from the in-house application grow complex, since it was originally designed only for a specific existing problem.

The exponential traffic growth at a customer support desk forces an organization to build a system for managing their service requests. To improve demand, a telemarketing group is set-up; however, leads are still missed, so a lead management system is also added.

With the growing volume of customers, servicing becomes more complicated, lead management more unpredictable and marketing expenditure is unknown. The in-house application starts to cripple the progress instead of supporting it!

Most organizations that have not implemented a CRM solution find it challenging to collaborate, maintain large volumes of historical data and collaborate between different teams. Their sales teams spend to much time on non-core activities and often lose vital information related to customers.

The key to success is retaining profitable customers which has multiple benefits. This is often challenging when accessing historical and real-time information is complicated and time consuming.

In-house systems may meet your past/ current needs, but do they provide any added advantage for surpassing future needs?

Is your CRM helping or solving execution?

  In-house CRM Commercial CRM
Cost Aspect Low to start, high in the long run Options available - SaaS and On Premise
Time to Implement Delayed ROI Instant ROI
Functionality Replicates the current scenario Comprehensive
Security Less secure Best-in-class security
Best Practices Organisation's practices Across industries & geographies practices
Application shortcoming Risks are internal Onus of Commercial CRM provider
Maintenance Dedicated team to support Commercial CRM provider's responsibility
Enhancement Rigid structure Flexible & scalable
Upgrades Internal responsibility Commercial CRM provider's responsibility
Solution Approach Current problem-based, more departmental in nature Futuristic & versatile
Reporting Nature Mostly operational MIS Analytical and insightful
User Adoption Low - usability & productivity features are missing High - more productivity features with universal appeal
Documentation One-time, seldom up-to-date Comprehensive and up-todate
Integration Mostly stand-alone, weak Integration Strong integration framework

Conclusion

In-house systems are often solutions to an immediate problem or urgent requirement. Unlike an effective CRM solution, inputs are not collated from all the teams and the organization's top management. The solution is dependent on the IT department and difficult to integrate with external systems which leads to gaps in information.

A practice-led CRM implementation provides vast strategic advantages in today's competitive landscape. Teams have access to real-time information from a centralized database and can study it through any web enabled device. The CRM system automatically generates alerts and responses as per filter conditions configured to ensure efficiency and enhance productivity. The organization can capture leads from various popular customer channels through their CRM solution and follow-up instantly to maintain a competitive advantage.

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