The final phases of CRM re-implementation in business comprise of project implementation and CRM evaluation performance. After the completion of CRM strategy formation, project foundation and choosing the right partners, businesses should focus on its final implementation and evaluation. It is the most crucial parts of the CRM implementation steps (Buttle, 2013). As the efforts and plans put so far in planning, the CRM is tested for its feasibility. During project implementation, tasks are carried out and the progress information is reported. It is only after the implementation phase that a CRM project becomes ready for closure.
Evaluation of the CRM system is done to assess the user-acceptance of the services created through the project. The evaluation highlights not only faults, loopholes, and success but also offer feedback and insights for further improvements. Therefore, the CRM evaluation phase is as important as all the other phases, since it reflects upon all the other phases involved in CRM implementation.
Project implementation for CRM evaluation
Need for project implementation involves the following three aspects:
- Refine the project plan/strategy.
- Re-identify customization needs and the right partners.
- To review the CRM models used.
Refining project plan requires cooperation with the selected partners in refining the project plan as well as the tools required for the CRM process (Buttle 2013). The core objective is to evaluate the CRM strategies and the partners chosen. Therefore, by re-evaluation businesses remain capable to make re-adjustments to its strategies. The implementation of the CRM provides the business with three major information;
- Performance of sales
- Efficiency of marketing
- Performance of services
These metrics, however, on extending provides information about increased or decreased sales of a specific or a group of products. Marketing metrics involve increased customer data collection and increased outreach and demand for the products (Friedrich et.al., 2010). With the CRM implementation, the businesses are able to tally the actual outcome and validate against the perceived outcome. According to Friedrich et.al., (2010), CRM fails because of lack of proper planning, human capitals, poor choice of technologies and poor planning of operational processes. Evaluation models depend on the type of outcome or the CRM strategic objective implemented or updated by the business. For instance, in case of evaluation of CRM tool, businesses evaluate;
- Sales automation
- Lead Management
- Workflow automation
- Usability by the business
- Security and compliance
- Cost efficiency
Need for evaluation for CRM performance and further usage
Although businesses opt for models such as Payne’s model or Buttle’s Value creation model, they do not help in evaluating the new strategic CRM model implemented. These models are more specific to a process or a phase of the complete CRM process (Buttle, 2013). The evaluation process mainly includes performance assessment based on both project outcome and business outcome. The evaluation outcome for the project focuses on whether the project has been delivered on time and to budget. Whereas, the business outcome from the CRM evaluation checks for return of investment increased sales and an increase in the potential customer base. Here the evaluation is made on the basis of CRM success, business case and whether the desired goal has been achieved. Since CRM strategies, in general, have multiple objectives so they all should be kept in mind while assessing the success and failures.
Businesses use various tools for CRM evaluation;
- Expert System for Software Evaluation (ESSE) (Friedrich et.al., 2010).
- Knowledge-based System (KBS) (Friedrich et.al., 2010).
- CRACK Model (Customer Relation Analysis Complex Kit) (Miklencicova and Capkovicova, 2013).
- Fuzzy balanced scorecard for CRM performance (Shafia et.al., 2011).
CRM evaluation is an important phase since it takes both quantitative (total costs of ownership, timeliness, return on investment) and qualitative (user acceptance, problem-solving capabilities, other direct and indirect benefits) aspects into account at the end of a project. Thus a wholesome assessment of the customer relationship management system is possible. It helps companies in improving their project plans in the future, client-selection and overall growth. Therefore, the cycle of CRM implementation continues. With evaluated outcomes and changes needed, the need for a strategic CRM is again formed. However, the evaluation process is usually long term.
Implementation and evaluation of CRM for forming a new strategy
Despite differences in implementation and functions, the two phases of project implementation and evaluation are closely related. Only after the implementation process, the actual impact of the project is derivable. The implementation phase creates space for contemplation and the scope for improvements in future CRM formation. The implementation and evaluation of CRM allow reflecting upon the first phase, CRM strategy formation.
Since the CRM formation is based on mixing the CRM objectives to the business objectives, negative feedback shows poor integration of the objectives. Identification of gaps in the CRM objectives and strategy helps in improvement scope. Similarly, the implementation and evaluation shed limelight on the choice of tools and partner association. This helps to find the gaps and the performance of the partners, and decide continuation or discontinuation.
- Buttle, F. 2013. Customer Relationship Management Concepts and Technologies. 2nd edn. Burlington: Elsevier.
- Friedrich, I., Sprenger, J. and Breitner, M.H., 2010. CRM evaluation–an approach for selecting suitable software packages. Tagungsband Multikonferenz Wirtschaftsinformatik. Universitätsverlag, Göttingen, pp.605-616.
- Miklencicova, R. and Capkovicova, B., 2013. Evaluation of performance and efficiency of the CRM. Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research, 5(1), pp.144-151.
- Shafia, M.A., Mahdavi Mazdeh, M., Vahedi, M. and Pournader, M., 2011. Applying fuzzy balanced scorecard for evaluating the CRM performance. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 111(7), pp.1105-1135.