Alexander Golubovich
Alexander Golubovich 1 December 2020

4 Essential Steps to a User-Centric CRM

This year, almost the entire world was left with no other choice but to fulfill most of their needs exclusively online. To weather the changes and retain customers amid this major disruption, many businesses, including SMBs, turned to an urgent adoption of customer relationship management platforms. They have become an imperative for establishing an online presence, maintaining digital communication channels, and providing a consistent customer experience.

While clients are universally at the center of any CRM implementation, there is another critical group that is frequently left behind—CRM users themselves. More often than not, they are forced to adopt a new tool and expected to deliver good results right away.

Those business owners who keep to such a scenario should understand the following logic: the higher the CRM adoption, the greater the system efficiency, which leads to improved customer satisfaction and retention levels.

Let’s review the four major steps that should make your CRM truly user-centric.

Step 1. Involve Your Users in CRM Implementation

Once you’ve made the decision to implement a CRM, it’s time to talk to each of the user groups, the ones who will actually utilize the new system. Your task is to walk through a number of real-life scenarios and show how the platform will be of value to each particular role, for example, in terms of time, manual effort, data sharing, analytics, and more.

In other words, your employees should be enthusiastic about harnessing the new system rather than treating it as a burden and keep getting back to their commonly used tools.

To ensure user buy-in, invite your employees to participate in every CRM implementation stage, from planning and design to post-deployment fixes.

For example, during the planning phase, you can interview users regarding the improvements they expect from the new system compared to their current tools. When your employees start utilizing the platform, track their behavioral patterns, encourage them to share feedback, and act on the most urgent issues while setting deadlines for considering other suggestions.

Prior to going live, make sure to set up user-level access so that employees from different departments could see only relevant data.

Step 2. Build a User-Friendly Information Architecture

In order to accelerate the adoption of your brand new CRM, make it look familiar from the very start. First of all, consider replicating your existing workflows and apply the same terminology as you used in your old system.

This way, the novel system will feel like a familiar environment. What’s more, popular CRMs come with extensive configuration capabilities that allow personalizing dashboards, processes, and navigation for each team and even each user.

However, avoid the temptation to include all the features, fields, and functions that the new platform can offer. It will make the system extremely cumbersome and impede productivity. Instead, give users a limited range of key features only in the initial adoption period; you can add more features later as the adoption grows.

To make it even more familiar and convenient, integrate the services your employees use daily, such as file storage, chats, email marketing, accounting tools, and so on. As a result, your team members will be able to carry out any task without switching to other systems. At the same time, data from different sources won’t sit in silos, as it will be connected and synchronized.

Step 3. Test Your CRM

Even if you plan to use only out-of-the-box features of your new platform, CRM testing is integral to the overall adoption success. To test the software performance in combination with its user-centricity, QA engineers should team up with users, run multiple real-life usage scenarios, and test the system from different angles.

CRM functionality and performance

To ensure the system works correctly for all departments, divide your functional testing into several iterations to check processes for each department, be it sales, marketing, or service, locate errors if any, and identify critical gaps. Run performance tests to prevent users from experiencing downtime and lags, especially during peak times.

Data quality

When your users migrate to the new system, they need to be sure about the quality of the migration and be able to fully rely on generated reports. To avoid duplications, inconsistencies, missing data, and structural mistakes, consider running data quality testing prior to going live.

After the migration, test how correctly the data is collected, structured, stored, and represented. Make sure users can search for and find anything they are interested in within the limits of their user permissions.

Integration and compatibility

In an effort to create multifunctional hubs, companies integrate their CRMs with multiple external services, customer-facing channels, and core systems, such as ERPs. To check whether all the sources are synchronized and communicate well with each other with no data lost, companies need to run CRM integration and compatibility testing. It will ensure that:

  • All interdependencies are well-mapped and tuned up.
  • Reports are based on complete and correct data.
  • Logs are composed properly and register each data-related operation.
  • Custom features are compatible with the CRM and connected sources.

Step 4. Provide Multi-Device Access

Your employees use multiple devices in their daily work, so it makes sense to build the CRM that reflects this. Develop a mobile app or provide a mobile CRM version to make sure your staff can access necessary data, documents, and features remotely.

Consider adding voice commands, voice assistants, alerts, smart filters, and workflow automation to facilitate data entry, search, communication, and access to documents for field workers.

Summing it up

To make a CRM an efficient tool for providing memorable customer experiences, companies should first turn the platform into a center of gravity for their own employees. In this case, CRM users will have no reason to perform their tasks outside the user-friendly system.

Instead, they can have all the tools at hand, communicate seamlessly with customers and each other, personalize their experience, and access necessary information in a way most convenient for them.

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