A customer relationship management (CRM) system is one of the crucial elements of your business. Choosing, building and deploying a good CRM is a decision that needs to be taken with utmost care. The simple reason being that this requires a significant investment from your side. It takes one faulty feature to bring down your entire CRM crumbling, as it has a direct impact on your relationship with your customers and shapes up your understanding of their needs and opinions. Taking a wrong step in this direction will also have a negative impact on your revenue, thanks to unhappy and dissatisfied consumers. A study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review found that organizations spend $220 billion and upwards on CRM solutions and despite these humongous investments, data shows that 55 to 75 per cent companies fail to meet the expected return on these investments.
On the other hand, a well-implemented and effective CRM provides you with workable insights about customer behavior and choices, thus providing you enough fodder to build your business in the way your customer expects to see it. So here is what you should consider and test for before deploying your CRM system:
Time to load
Long ago, when Monster.com rolled out a CRM, they were sure that it was going to make them a lot of money, given the million-dollar investment the company had made in customized software and integration hoping that it would boost its sales force’s efficiency. However, in no time, Monster.com had to let go of their system and rebuild it, because the CRM was excruciatingly slow and led machines to freeze every time it was opened. Monster.com lost a lot of money and the goodwill of both its employees and customers in this bid. Although this happened long ago, it teaches every business a crucial lesson. No one will use a system that’s slow or crashing. Before you deploy your CRM, check if it is capable to handle the volume of data you expect to come its way. Test it to check performance under heavy load of data both from the sales force’s and the customers’ point of view.
Research has found that many companies have implemented CRM solutions, but most report low adoption and usage among employees. In a recent survey, 87 per cent of employees reported that they had to use CRM at work, but 79 per cent of them admitted that they entered incomplete information or “checked boxes” to please their bosses. This is another reason why CRMs fail. Most employees complained about the laborious setup and sheer time and effort required to use the CRM system as their reason for not adopting it fully. So before deploying your CRM, make sure that it doesn’t take long to setup and navigate user accounts. There should be expanded permissions that can be configured quickly and employees should be easily able to upgrade or transfer data to a different account in case of a post change or promotion.
You need to test your CRM for its integration with third-party applications you already use and understand how the two work together. If the CRM cannot pull out the need information from those application or does more than is required, it can lead to either inefficient performance or security issues. While testing for integration, you can look for the accuracy and reliability of the data the CRM extracts, whether the reports generated show correct headings, dates and times and whether various filter heads work on the data ranges in the third-party application.
The data collected or fed into a CRM is what fuels the system to come up with insights about customer behavior that are useful for the business. It is, therefore, imperative to check the quality of data collected, its usability and whether it is converted properly to a form that can be worked with. Check that there is no duplication of data, no transactions details appear wrongly, only appropriate data is visible and the selected fields appear in the correct guidelines. Test if new data is saved properly and existing data updated correctly, scan the system to ensure that no data is missing, check graphs to see if critical data is accurately presented and take a look if required data is sorted accordingly.
It is important to test for all expected functionality and real-world cases your customers and employees are likely to encounter before you deploy your CRM. Make sure that user permissions are aligned according to business needs and that non-admin users cannot access information or functions that are solely reserved for the admins. Check for proper error message dispensing, if partial search function works, make sure there is no data mismatch and department-specific restrictions are working as they should.
There is no point in deploying a CRM which is too hard to use and requires that end-users go through a steep learning curve to be able to figure it out. As you improve the features of your CRM and customize it to include grids, forms and graphs, it becomes tougher for end-users to find their way through the system. Bring in employees of different technical expertise and test how usable the system is across such different capabilities. In this way, you will be able to identify features that need to be simplified, requires more training or should be knocked off.
Your CRM can look appealing and deceptively simple on first glance, but without testing it for the above-mentioned features, you are only making the mistake of setting yourself up for failure. If one extra step could save you from a huge loss of money and goodwill, then why not invest some extra time in it?
What are the tests you run on your CRM system before deploying it? Let us know in the comments section below. To know more about Suyati’s CRM expertise, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.