Searching for the “Perfect” CRM


Since the success of Siebel in the 1990s, customer service desktop tools have been generally called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.  In this article, we take a customer service manager’s viewpoint and look at the latest trends in finding, selecting, and implementing the ‘perfect’ customer service desktop – whether that desktop is a CRM package or not.


For many years, contact center managers have been searching for the perfect tool to support customer service delivery.  Unfortunately, the customer contact center is often not always the primary focus of a corporate CRM effort.  Field force management, e-mail, customer analytics and back office integration are many times the focus of CRM projects and the contact center is almost an afterthought.  Although the contact center is frequently the primary point of interface a corporation has with their customers, the contact center is not represented in the selection of a CRM package.  The manager of the contact center should be involved in CRM decisions from the very beginning to ensure the center’s requirements and priorities are included in the decision criterion. 


The aggressive goal of a CRM implementation effort is to deliver:

· “perfect” customer knowledge

· “perfect” corporate knowledge

· “perfect” service delivery


CRM packages attempt to achieve “perfect” customer knowledge by deploying a data repository with object-oriented access to the entire customer relationship and contact history.  “Perfect” corporate knowledge is addressed by institutionalizing business rules, processes and knowledge and providing tools for delivering this knowledge to the agent (human or computer) on a “just in time” basis.  “Perfect” service delivery is delivered by providing both, high quality and low cost service across all channels in a manner that “WOWs” and exceeds customer expectations.  But what is the perfect CRM for your contact center.

Searching for the “Perfect” CRM


This article originally appeared in Connections Magazine, May 2007 issue pp.25-26.   Revised May 2007 to include CRM marketplace assessment.

Text Box: “The basis of a contact center is that customers require certain skills, not certain individuals.”
Text Box: “Customers will utilize the service channel that gives them the most favorable treatment.   Impeccably consistent information delivery across service channels is a must.”
Text Box: “Advanced companies use customer analytics to provide contextually appropriate cross or up selling suggestions.”
Text Box: “Contact center management must be involved from the very beginning of a CRM acquisition process, preferably taking a leadership  role.”
Text Box: “CRM buyers who postpone the requirements documentation process will see dramatically increased costs.”
Text Box: “Scalability and interoperability are key criterion in selecting technology.”

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