Three Areas of Cost Reduction in CRM Implementations (3): Lowering cost of training and aftercare

In many CRM tool implementation projects the actual future use of the system is defined as one of the main criteria for success. The users should embrace the systems in their day-to-day work and should be fully aware of what is ‘in it for them’ when they share their contacts and data with colleagues. In some organizations listing the use of CRM in job descriptions, and therefore make it mandatory, will work. In many organization cultures, however, a top-down directive approach is not an option, and some serious effort should be made to truly convince the users of the value of CRM and sharing relationship data.

Involving the future users of the CRM system at an early stage during the implementation project is a good way to create user commitment. Have them sit in in strategy definition sessions, involve them in requirement analysis and prototyping and have them actively contribute in testing. And finally, make them responsible for accepting the system before its go live.

Bringing the future users on board at an early stage and for instance allowing them to have a hands-on play with the prototype environment will also contribute to their knowledge of how the system works, and therefore diminish the cost of training.

Obviously, in large organizations, were eventually hundreds of people will be using the CRM system, it is not possible to actively involve each individual. In these cases it is best practice to appoint key users for every process to be supported by the CRM system and to make these key users responsible for gathering feedback from their colleagues, their constituencies. Key users can also play an important role in communicating the reasons for the CRM implementation to their colleagues. They will be ‘trusted’ more than the management.

To be able to make the most efficient use of the future users as resources in the implementation project, is important that they will be given the time to contribute. They will have to experience the commitment of their management to the success of the CRM implementation.

Finally, involving end users at an early stage will also help in ‘getting it right the first time’ and will that way help in lowering the cost for after care.

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