Effective change management is a crucial piece in CRM puzzle. Without it, fiefdoms are protected and people generally feel their value decline as they sense ownership of the process slipping away. When you lead with technology, you don’t give front office staff anything to take ownership of.
If you believe that CRM is a customer-centric business realignment, you should create a project team that includes key players. That means from all levels. These folks, who would normally be problems in a technology only initiative, will become invaluable in suggesting ways to change, taking ownership of those ideas, and helping to identify more risk areas with regard to internal friction.
Protecting Turf – Every company has employees that will sabotage an effort to protect their perceived area of value.
Change Management – If you’re company is department oriented, or product oriented, things are going to change because information and work needs to begin flowing across these imaginary boundaries. Managers, who owned a process whose purpose is coming into question will become a problem if not incorporated into the search for a solution. Change management needs to address the perceptions these people will have as their role diminishes or subordinates are re-assigned.
Protecting Work Processes – Non-managers are just important in your realignment efforts. Each work flow within a department is supported by work processes that are owned by staff members. As work flows are reshaped to cross functional boundaries, these processes will likely change or be eliminated. To get the buy in you need at every level, you need to get participation, and ownership, at every level.
It doesn’t matter if your goals are to increase capacity or to cut staff. You’ll still need to introduce change management to handle the issues related to changing roles and role definitions. We’re not talking about minor efficiencies here, these will be selective, but meaningful and people will notice.
Communicating Change Internally – You can’t include everyone in the process for obvious reasons. Therefore, leadership and communication are needed. Having a strong leader at the helm doesn’t guarantee buy-in though. That’s why it’s important that the CRM project team carry out a strategy where it’s members champion the cause amongst their peers; addressing and doubts and eliminating fears.
Communicating Change to Customers – Effective change management also relates to your customers. It may be that your new customer focused efforts is so fantastic that it speaks for itself. But, just in case, you had better ask yourself how your customers will deal with any hiccups as the changes begin. After that, they should be thrilled because I know that you came up with a strategy, realigned work flows to support the strategy and used technology to make the process brilliant.
I worked with a company once that decided to start emailing their customers customer service updates. Unfortunately, this customer base, small businesses, at the time were still relying on fax technology. You’ll each have your own challenges here.