In the previous blog in this series, we discussed how the future of CRM will include unification of internal departments from sales, marketing, operations, and customer support to ultimately put the customer at the center of all business processes.
While this will be an essential transformation for any contact center to remain competitive and relevant in the evolving CX landscape, it will also be a complex shift for most organizations that have been operating in a siloed manner for a long time.
Below we lay out some essential steps contact centers need to take toward becoming a customer-centric organization, using two-way messaging technology implementations as well as real-life examples of what to do (and not do) to ensure success.
1) High-Level Management Support for Future CRM Vision
As with any major organizational change, top-level management needs to lead the charge by communicating the vision for the future, establishing concrete goals, and setting the strategic initiatives needed to reach them. Changing current business processes to be more customer-centric will require collaboration and excellent communication from teams across the organization. Strong leadership is needed to keep those changes on course, ensure employee buy-in and keep communication lines open across departments.
Investing early will pay off in the long-run. Setting realistic timelines and spending time early in the process focusing on organizational alignment will head off resistance, instill confidence, and reduce the amount of time required on the back end to ensure changes happen correctly.
2) Dedicated Positions for Project Management and Organizational Change Management
Selecting or hiring the right people to aid in the transition will make the difference between success and failure. When hiring, look for candidates not only for the role(s) at hand, but also consider the future role(s) that candidate might fill during the hiring process. Ensuring you’re building a team composed of diverse thought and complementary skills will help set your organization up for long-term success. For example, if you need to fill multiple positions for the same general role, it’s a good idea to hire people with different strengths who can learn and teach others. Pairing a person who’s more technical with one who’s more client-facing can make all the difference.
These employees will need to ask the following questions: What do these changes entail when it comes to the org chart as well as existing processes and systems? What are the cultural impacts? Are we prepared for change? In addition, they’ll need to solicit and gather user feedback, update the case for change, assess the readiness of the organization, provide methods and tools to make the changes happen, and drive the transformation activities and overall progress.
3) Super Users
Beyond project and change management resources, there needs to be a super user or users inside the organization who’ll lead the charge from a day-to-day activity standpoint. These users need to have detailed knowledge about how CRM activities happen today across channels, as well how they need to work in the future state. Most likely you’ll need a super user from both Sales/Marketing, as well as Operations/Support. They will need to be good at trying new things, seizing opportunities, learning from mistakes, and sharing lessons with colleagues.
4) Big Launches
Breaking down silos and operating in a customer-centric manner is a big change and should be treated as such. While it might require several phased launches along the way, these small successes should be celebrated. If there is a pilot phase, the new system will be deployed on a broad scale, fundamentally changing how customer communications occur from both the Sales/Marketing & Operations/Support perspectives. A key element of this launch will be a detailed communication plan, engaging multiple stakeholder groups along the way and building momentum within the organization.
This process requires that you build the proverbial plane while it’s in flight. itMore than likely, you’ll need to continue delivering results while you transition from the current state to the future state. This is easier said than done. However, if you address parts of the process instead of trying to overhaul the entire process all at once, you’re much more likely to keep the plane in the air.
5) Training, training, and more training.
In order to fully transition to the new state, training will be critical. The last thing an organization wants to have happen is for key day-to-day executors to fight against the change in processes and revert back to the “old” ways of doing things, not fully adopting the new method of customer communications. This training investment up front will pay dividends on the back end.
6) Measuring value
With most CRM activities, a good test and learn plan is ideal. With CRM organizational changes, the same type of measurement plan is recommended, so the success or failure of the transitions can be assessed. Measurement timing will vary for each organization, but impacts should be analyzed at least after the first six months and optimized moving forward. Remember that changing to a customer-centric mindset may totally transform your old KPIs. For example- if you add both text and mobile messaging channels to your contact center, a metric like “Time to Resolution” becomes irrelevant because the customer controls the messaging cadence. Instead the focus will need to move to “time per conversation,” with an even greater emphasis on CSAT.
7) Ongoing Optimization
Like anything within CRM, ongoing optimization is a key element for success. Likely your contact center will continue to change and evolve, as will the business landscape. The same will be true with the organizational changes around bringing together Sales/Marketing and Operations/Support areas, as well as communication channels and customer preferences. Keep an eye out for market disruption that could totally change the industry landscape and catch your organization off guard.
No matter the challenges that come your way, be prepared for the unexpected. You may have to make changes caused by poor service levels from a vendor or a change of direction may arrive from your senior management team. Embracing these changes instead of fighting them will keep you and your team in a positive frame of mind.
LiveVox is a next-generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion interactions a year. We seamlessly integrate omnichannel communications, CRM, and WFO capabilities to deliver an exceptional agent and customer experience, while reducing compliance risk. Our reliable, easy-to-use technology enables effective engagement strategies on communication channels of choice to drive performance in your contact center. Our battle-tested risk mitigation and security tools help clients maximize their potential in an ever-changing business environment. With 20 years of pure cloud expertise, LiveVox is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Our more than 450 global employees are headquartered in San Francisco; with offices in Atlanta, Denver, New York City, St. Louis, Medellin, Colombia, and Bangalore, India.