Everyone wants to service customers better for less. Whether you are government servicing constituents or a retailer trying to earn customer loyalty, organisations need to keep track of customer or client interactions to improve how you deliver to them.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, many cloud-based, are increasing in prominence. Marketing and business unit owners see great benefit in CRM.
CRM systems often start small and spread like wildfire, just like all those Excel spreadsheets and Access databases some people still use to keep customer information. And because they are revenue generating projects, no one is complaining.
However, this is an unsustainable picture.
For start, it doesn’t let you serve customers consistently across different channels. No matter who (or what, in the case of automated systems) picks up the phone to a customer, serves them in person, emails them or interacts with them via social media, they should all know who the customer is, and what interactions they have had with the business. That sort of omni-channel service relies on centralised rather than fragmented customer information.
Secondly, it does not support a single customer view. Organisations need to know why they are growing or going backwards, and customer data analysis is key. You could go down the track of integrating different customer systems for centralised data analysis, but that comes at a high price in ongoing maintenance and loss of flexibility.
Thirdly, with multiple CRM systems, you are constantly reinventing the wheel without driving organisation-wide benefits. You are not creating a single longitudinal record of customer interactions, you can’t easily connect your customer data, and it is still costing you money. That represents a drag on innovation and a barrier to business transformation.
At KPMG, we are involved in a number of CRM consolidation projects. Organisations want to maintain the benefits they’ve achieved with their previous systems. But they also want the additional benefits of pulling customer or client information together, and the continual improvements they can get from a single enterprise system.
We describe this as XRM – anything relationship management. It probably starts with customers or clients and how you manage them. But you also want to have a single view of your suppliers or vendors, for example, because individuals can belong to multiple groups. That often means replacing all those Access databases and Excel spreadsheets as well.
Achieving a single view and integrating the management of your relationships doesn’t have to be done in one big hit. The move to XRM is more of a transformation over time, with an agile approach rather than a single implementation. We prefer to work in stages with our clients with a series of two-week sprints, replacing and improving one system or function after another.
We are currently working on a transformation for a university. What started as an Orientation Week project has evolved into tracking customers from O Week to undergraduate, to post graduate, to alumni, to when they bequest something in their will. By joining their data up to create a 50-year customer journey, the university realised they could derive enormous value.
Once you get to that level, a transformative journey of innovation and continuous improvement can begin. The next step might be sentiment analysis, for example – bringing social media data into CRM so you can see what customers and suppliers are saying about you.
In every one of our engagements, our Technology Enablement group works hand in hand with KPMG’s industry experts. For example, in retail, a team from the retail industry practice is working to understand what is required in their sector and helping to define the future customer journey.
Many organisations also need assistance to build their innovative thinking internally and KPMG’s Customer & Operations group often gets involved. They can promote design thinking, showing organisations how to model things from the customer’s point of view and what the customer of the future, or the relationship of the future, might look like.
That is the transformative power of CRM consolidation. Once you get the right people involved and join up your relationship data, the sky is the limit.