Welcome to the Practical CRM blog. I have been working in the field of customer relationship management for nearly 20 years and through the prompting from many of my colleagues and customers I decided to take the lessons learned over the years and give anyone interested in CRM some insights and guidance from thousands of customer interactions in hopes that we all learn something and get better with CRM concepts and approaches. This site is not intended to be product specific but more about the people, process and the application of technology.
Remember the days when you were growing up and you would not even get up (or were not allowed to get up) to answer the telephone? Fast forward to our “modern family” and the fact that we can’t even make it through a meal without someone picking up a device. And now every CRM provider is falling over themselves to show how relevant they are on these devices. Guess what? Not everything should be part of your mobile solution and here are some things to consider when focusing on CRM and mobility.
Intent, Not Content – Seems silly that we have to have these conversations with end users over and over again but every single data point and every function in a CRM system should not be in a mobile client. Quite the contrary, unless the mobile client is the ONLY user interface available to your population (known as a mobile only implementation). So rather than just developing and customizing a mobile platform because you can remember that every new function and form are slowing down your mobile users.
Think Mission Critical – Just because one or two people may be asking to bring functionality to the mobile platform the question should always be asked, “Why do you need this and how should it work?” With mobile, however, there is an even more compelling justification because the single biggest complaint from users in the mobile world revolves around “speed” and “usability”. Understand that generally the feet on the street are usually are most costly resources and they can also affect our company results the most. If you load up the mobile platform making a mini CRM it may have the opposite of the intended effect.
The Mobile “Holy Grail” – There are many different conversations happening around the concept of purpose built applications and CRM is kind of an epicenter for many business ventures. The reason that purpose built applications are so important is that they provide structure and information in a way that actually effects better results from the people using them. Think about it. We are dealing with everything from big data and information overload and the best performing organizations find a way to deliver capabilities and information in very simple ways that make sense and produce results.
Here is list of questions that you may want to ask when looking at your mobile development practices:
- Who are the teams (internal customers) that will use mobile capabilities?
- What are the mission critical apps that each customer will need?
- When new capabilities are requested is there a way to prioritize or emphasize my most critical apps?
- Can presentation of information be contextual my location or customer information?
- As enhancements are done can you document or justify improvements in sales or service operations?
As you can see there is a great opportunity when it comes to any mobile initiative driven by any organization. But hopefully you can also appreciate that running rampant with mobile modifications and constantly rolling out pieces of your CRM client into a mobile platform until you can’t tell them apart. Remember, in many cases providing the right information and capabilities is more important than giving users everything in your CRM database just because you can.