Original article by Julio Hartstein
Have you decided that 2016 is going to be your field service organisation’s year to get on top of sales and service excellence? If so, then there is every possibility that a new customer relationship management platform (CRM) is on your IT shopping list.
You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that selecting and implementing a major business information platform will be a big project, but with the right amount of homework and consideration of the challenges, it doesn’t have to be a troublesome one.
Being educated and informed on the following points will help you and your executive team set the stage for a successful CRM investment:
The cloud is where it’s at
Over the next few years, developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communications are likely to change the way you provide field services to your customers. This also means it’s likely that there will be new technologies and software applications with which you’ll need to get on board and integrate into your customer relationship management solution.
For ease of integration with other applications and platforms, cloud-based CRM systems are really coming into their own. Cloud offers other advantages too, such as minimised implementation times and expenses, as well as scalability that won’t limit your IT capabilities as your business continues to grow.
End users matter
Don’t forget that your new CRM solution will be used not only by your sales and marketing staff, but also by your field technicians along with the back office employees coordinating and supporting them. With so many employees on different levels and from different departments using the system, it’s important to select a product with a user interface and features that make it easy for end users with which to get along.
Focus on field service-relevant functionality
Some customer relationship management products are more suitable than others for field service companies. It is important to select a CRM system with a strong emphasis on the functionalities that best support your processes and workflows. For example, a CRM application with an add-on field service module will serve you better than one that does not provide any industry-specific functionality.
Develop a plan for change management
Don’t underestimate the level of resistance to change that you might encounter within your organisation as you get closer to implementing your new customer relationship management software. Some business processes may need to change and people will need to get accustomed to working differently. Include a plan for change management in your implementation programme and recruit champions from your workforce to be involved from the outset.
Make sure it’s mobile
Finally, don’t even entertain a customer relationship management offering that does not have integrated enterprise mobility and support for Android and Apple devices. Better still, especially if you plan to support BYOD (Bring your Own Device), choose one that supports other mobile operating systems including Blackberry and Windows Mobile.
Keep all these points in mind as you put your plans together for a CRM software implementation. They will help you to identify the right CRM solution for your field service business. In turn, this will make the implementation a smoother process and promote a readiness among your workforce to adopt and embrace the new software.