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Why customer journeys jumpstart your CRM project

By Category: CRM Sales
Newsletter _teaserimage _july 2015

When I help clients identify their requirements for a CRM solution or define the business processes that will be included into a particular configuration, I like to turn things on their head a little. The classic method is to look at the business; its activities, data capture, employee roles and audit trails, but I prefer to view the organisation through the eyes of its clients.

My client’s customer journey is where I prefer to start, when I initiate a new CRM project. I like to study where the organisation communicates with its customer (or vice versa) and equally important, the touch points where the customer is affected by the organisation and may not even know of it. This could for example include data and document capture, internal communications and email triggers.

How do customer interactions translate to CRM requirements?

Before you start to delve into the customer journey, remember to involve the CRM users in your organisation. It does two things: It engages them in the design and implementation of the CRM solution (user engagement is critical to the success of the project) and it enables them to identify issues, bottlenecks, duplicate activity or wasted effort better than any manager or consultant.

When you have your CRM team ready, you can start to consider your organisation’s customers’ journeys. It allows you to reverse engineer the key business processes that you will need to incorporate in your CRM. The chart below shows examples of steps in the journey and how they translate to CRM requirements:

Customer interaction CRM requirement
First contact Track sources, required data capture
Initial response Communications tracking, email templates, follow up
Building the relationship Providing info, following up, marketing process
Making the sale Sales process, quotes, tracking opportunity, pipeline forecasting

For each requirement, you should consider the specific details: Data required/provided, communication channels, user roles involved, timeline, etc. All those details start to form the specification for the CRM configuration.

Does your current customer journey work?

At the same time, you can use the opportunity to consider if the current customer journey is the best one. I often see organisations identify issues during this exercise: Duplicate data entry, a breakdown in the chain of responsibility between departments, a gap in the communications with the customer or a bottleneck. Your CRM team is likely able to pinpoint the problems and even suggest solutions. This is another great way to gain enthusiasm for the new system and to resolve those issues. In addition, I also suggest my clients to follow the paper trail of the customer journey as it gives the opportunity to standardise the documents, potentially cut costs, reduce administration time and increase efficiency. In other words, it helps you and your colleagues focus on what you do best.

Do the “secret shopper” test

If you want to test your current customer journey, you can enlist the help of a corporate version of the secret shopper. This is an excellent method for investigating your business and finding any issues from an unbiased, external viewpoint, exactly as your customer would experience it.

Here, a few real examples of what the secret shopper transpires and what you should consider:

  • A new enquirer calling in is not asked for contact details but directed to the website. Always get at least a name and telephone number!
  • A visitor to the shop floor is ignored. No one likes pushy sales people, but at least ask!
  • The sales representative in a car showroom left the keys to the vehicle on the desk and went into the back office. That car could easily have been stolen!

What is your CRM vision?

It is so tempting to focus a new CRM solution on the boxes and screens that you think the users should fill in. You expect to capture every single last possible piece of data without a clear vision as to what you can do or gain from it.

But when you consider the customer journey and focus on the delivery of high quality, efficient customer service you get right down to what you really need. By providing a structure for your organisation inside the system, you ensure that your excellent customer service is 100% repeatable for every customer you connect with.

Katie Williams

Katie Williams

Katie Williams is CRM Consultant at webCRM. She specialises in management of key business processes, new business and client relationships. Katie works with businesses to help them win more business and increase sales to existing customers.


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