I wrote sometime back about how & where social media interacts with a business' CRM strategy. A build upon that idea is in executing a CRM strategy so that everybody really "gets it".  In particular, the idea of employee engagement & how that intersects with a CRM strategy.

The world in which we transact grows increasingly frictionless - sourcing & buying widgets from an alternative supplier is as easy as a few mouse-clicks.  In order to stay competitive and/or differentiate themselves, many companies choose to compete with knowledge-based skills - e.g. delivering excellence in service to accquire & retain customers. Harnessing knowledge-based skills means having engaged employees that are willing to invest, often discretionary, effort to see that their organisation succeeds.   A Journal of Applied Psychology article concluded that, “… employee satisfaction and engagement are related to meaningful business outcomes at a magnitude that is important to many organisations.”

So, what does engagement mean to employees ?  

Let's consider a number of outcomes that speak to me as connected with our world of CRM:

  1. Employees need to clearly understand the VISION of a company - what are the goals & how are they measured ?  
  2. Employees need to feel their INPUT matters to that vision - that, where appropriate, they can help establish processes to facilitate achievement. 
  3. Employees value & wish to exercise some element of CONTROL over the flow & pace of their jobs. 
  4. And, within that control employees want to ensure they collaborate, working with trust & co- operation right across the company.

So, what does engagement mean in the context of a CRM strategy ?  

The best implementations of CRM projects are where three key points are addressed. 

  • The requirements of the CRM implementation are directly & visibly linked to a company's goals.  Be it one department or an entire organisation, the outcomes that define "CRM system success" are obviously connected to a set of company KPIs, visible to all.
  • Employees have direct input to the way the CRM system (software & processes) are to work.  That means involvement from the initial accquisition (scoping requirements, being involved in demonstrations, etc), through to the implementation cycle and then on to "champion" roles within the organisation. 
  • Employees that are willing to invest the discretionary effort, are provided with the right resources to do their job. 

As most business processes typically cross more than one department, just enabling "good CRM" in one department, will typically fail when crossing organisational boundaries, often undermining that discretionary effort.  With that, collaboration falters & a typical customer journey is interrupted, with subsequent damage to brand value a distinct possibility.

To me, it's obvious.  Any CRM strategy needs to be company-wide & have employees at its' heart. 

Anything less just dilutes strategic effort & spend.

-= David