According to Gartner, ‘...nearly 75% [of organisations] expect to multiply the types of major change initiatives they will undertake in the next three years…’ but ‘...only 34% [of change initiatives] are a clear success.’
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Failing change initiatives are not only a waste of money, but they also put your organisation’s relationships with customers at risk.
In order to ensure the success of your company’s CRM investments, it’s imperative to make organisational change management one of the top priorities. As we at redk have pointed out before, CRM tools and technology are only as effective as their users.
In a recent Forrester study, in collaboration with CustomerThink, results showed that ‘successful CRM deployments require a balanced, multifaceted approach across four critical areas: process, people, strategy and technology.’
Successful CRM software is led by change management programmes that address the human element of organisations and that include training, user adoption rewards and employee participation.
Maximising Success with Changes in Employee Culture
To drive success among organisations, application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals need to stay ahead of challenges if they’re to maximise ROI on CRM investment. This requires careful planning, and user influence and improvement processes.
According to Forrester, senior executives must be prepared for changes in common work practices. This, in turn, requires flexibility among employees who may be hesitant about the new advancements in CRM technology. Meeting customer management initiatives helps determine the success of CRM tools.
In changing work practices, organisations may need to redefine employee roles and align their strategies toward customer service plans.
Difficulties in changing employee culture is one of the main complaints among organisations, but it can be avoided with continuous employee feedback and the implementation of improvement initiatives to maintain interest.
In Forrester’s words, ‘Three main phases make up business change management from the “people” perspective: getting ready; making change happen; and reinforcing change.’
‘They can do so by defining the value of their CRM and introducing strategic initiatives as well as precise execution and optimisation techniques.’
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Laying Out a Successful Plan
Change can be overwhelming, especially when traditional methods seem to work. Creating a well-developed plan, and committing to it, will significantly increase the chances of your company’s CRM software success.
According to Forrester, ‘Change leaders must articulate and buy into a vision that acts as the guiding principle for the organisation and defines how it will behave in the future…’ Committing to a vision allows employees to see an end goal and strive to reach it.
Implementation should only continue so long as executive team members are legitimising change. These executive members, often referred to as ‘executive champions’, must be fully enabled to make decisions and commit the resources needed as and when disagreements arise.
Change management teams need project leaders who are experienced in leading change. For greater results, involve the project leaders in the initial planning stages so they’re ready for each and every phase and can stay in sync with the other project leaders on board.
Communication is Key
According to Forrester, ‘Change management efforts often fail because they don’t directly address employees’ individual concerns.’
Change efforts should be planned around the impact of change on each department in question. When roles are redefined, involving employees directly and communicating with them clearly will mitigate job anxiety.
Change management requires a strong support base in order to guarantee continuous improvement.
Your organisation should send out surveys in order to gauge employee satisfaction, and follow up on their concerns. It’s also important to offer online or in-person training sessions or materials, so everyone can stay on top of the new implementations.
Communicating as a team will allow for a seamless CRM software implementation. A strong support system across the board will allow employees to rest assured that change can be for the better and doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
With over 15 years of experience leading CRM Transformation programmes, implementation and consulting, we at redk are here to help advise you on the best practices for change management. Don’t hesitate to reach out to hear how you can overcome the challenges of change in your organisation today.
CRM Transformation Practice at redk
Hideki applies over 15 years of experience in the field of CRM and Customer Experience to overcome business challenges in the customer cycle.