Recently, a company spent $25 million in CRM system's execution.
The company has been one of the leading forest-products companies in the world but for the past several years, office products - pens, computers, desks etc., have comprised the largest segment of its annual sales.
One-third of the company's revenue is generated from its online business and because office product customers rely on flawless e-commerce site performance to help reduce their administrative overhead, competition within this sector is strong.

What Prompted The Company To Go For CRM?
Of late, the company's application server was failing to meet volume and performance expectations.

The web site was not integrated with customer account information, so clients with questions about order position or account balances flooded the call centers. The customers were demanding and each customer had different needs.

As the company was in B2B business, managers of the contracted company were primarily treated as customers. After a lot of discussion, the management decided to go for CRM to:

Implement electronic report delivery - to eliminate report production costs

Scalability - to manage the growth of users and reports

Ease of use - to respond in a timely and precise manner to all users, both inside and outside of the organisation.

The initiative was started to invest in CRM to strengthen the company's internal processes and also to provide customers with a greater economic value.


Roadmap To Implement CRM
The implementation was planned in a phased manner. During the design phase of the implementation, a cross-functional team was chalked out of business and IT managers.

This was done to ensure that the IT department had a comprehensive understanding of the business strategies and customer's needs. Different sets of requirements were made for different customer profiles.

How each individual client interacted with the organisation was given chief importance. It was concluded that there were primarily three areas where client interaction was most - customer service center, dispatch department and online portal.

This process helped the company to focus on specific technologies that would improve customer service and discard those that weren't right for the company's goals.

Consequently, the company bought individual software applications (instead of a complete end-to-end CRM system) for customer interaction and operation management and integrated them with the existing order-processing technologies.


Putting CRM Into Operation
Once all the building blocks were placed in order, it wasn't a difficult task for the IT department to implement the CRM system.

It was decided to apply the new technology to the two largest customer channels, phone and web and so it was paramount that both remain fully functional.

As the company had a huge client base, most of the production deployment was done over the weekend when there was less number of client calls and when there was less number of people accessing the company's web site.

The data migration was another step which was carved out with utmost importance because it required cleansing of the 2.2 million customer records from multiple disparate databases into a single customer profile database.


Mantra For Successful Implementation of CRM
The company was able to successfully implement CRM because much of its focus was on customer convenience.

It always maintained the sync between the business and IT departments, so as to ensure everyone was on the same page.

Vigilant and correct choice of CRM software was another major step that helped the company to move ahead with a smooth and successful implementation.

In the end, the company was rewarded with increased revenue, customer retention and positive feedback from all sectors - both in-house and out-house.

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