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The Omnichannel CRM Game
Submitted by Velaro

November 6, 2017

The Omnichannel CRM Game 
Working for a company that has integrated with a diverse range of CRMs (including custom ones) for several years, I’d like to share a bit of weary trade humor with veteran CRM users and admins. More importantly, there are a few warnings I want to offer the less experienced stakeholders of any CRM purchasing/upselling decision-making process.
Omnichannel and CRM
Omnichannel has been a buzzword for contact centers for at least a decade now. The extent to which its vision can be realized as a customer service strategy is in great part determined by the capabilities of the CRM used to support it.
Despite the significant expenditure of time, money, and energy that implementing and maintaining a CRM represents, many companies still view their CRM as a worthwhile investment because of the long-term efficiencies it creates, ongoing insights it provides, and exceptional customer interactions it allows for.
I present the graphic below as a fun way to help you cut through the marketing jargon and zero in on the value that will make your omnichannel-supporting CRM worth the costs.
What Costs?
Anyone who’s been at a company when it implemented or expanded the use of a CRM system will tell you that it takes a tremendous amount of planning and project management to ensure that the CRM configuration will meet the needs of every team that’s expected to make use of the tool. This is a significant time investment, even before adding the time required for training staff in the new CRM and cleaning up any data migration issues.
Additionally, from a cost perspective, while smaller companies have several options, mid-sized and larger companies—especially those that want a customer support team to whom they can reach out when they have CRM questions—will need to take into account recurring subscription costs.
As such, before you embark on any CRM transformation, be sure you’re clear on the scope of the benefits the tool will offer your organization.
What to Trust?
The key word is “scope” or “extent.” Many CRMs now offer intelligent routing/assigning, predictive guidance, and automated agent scripts that create consistency across channels while personalizing to the individual, but these are facelifts of the perennial classics: “accelerates sales,” “increase agent efficiency,” and “increase customer satisfaction/retention.” It reminds me of a group of performers that takes more recent hits and reframes them in old styles, Postmodern Jukebox (or if you prefer a less pop-y cover by them).
These benefits have always been CRM’s raison d’etre, and so, to an extent, a prospective CRM will deliver on all of them. However, as previous features have been oversold or been harder to implement than advertised or fallen short of expectations in any other way, so too should you feel enthusiasm for these latest offerings, but temper that interest with a need to clarify the details. What is the scope or extent to which the must-have functionality can help you? To what degree will it fall short?
Be sure you understand how these features work, what limitations they have, what setup they require, etc.
For instance, how would it handle a long-time customer who is interested in a potential upsell/cross-sell and has a recent history of high-priority support tickets?
How does it use customer social media information to inform the content it suggests agents insert into communications?
How extensive must the rules you set be for the intelligent routing/assigning of contacts to function the way you’d like it to, and how difficult will it be to change if you add/remove agents, territories, etc., or if you restructure the way records are assigned altogether?
These are potentially ugly, messy questions- but important ones to ask before you flip the switch on a CRM designed to automate, or semi-automate, interactions with all of your customers and prospective customers across all communication channels. Indeed, well before you flip the switch, before you decide to move forward with a purchasing decision.
Omnichannel CRM Bingo
The Bingo card below is, of course, tongue-in-cheek, but it is also practical. As with Velaro's earlier customer service-related humor, this graphic is not meant to be prescriptive, but rather to inspire a second look at things you may be taking for granted.

This article originally appeared on ICMI’s blog: 

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