Magazine article CRM Magazine

What Users Want: Integration, Integration, Integration (Oh, and Easy Access to the Information They Need, When They Need It)

Magazine article CRM Magazine

What Users Want: Integration, Integration, Integration (Oh, and Easy Access to the Information They Need, When They Need It)

Article excerpt

There's no denying that CRM systems today are robust. They do just about everything but close the sale for you.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

So what's really left to add? CRM magazine interviewed more than three dozen managers and line-of-business CRM users to see what features could make end users' lives a little easier. It turns out that these users want better functionality, not more bells and whistles.

"It used to be all about 'the more features the better'--the Swiss Army knife," says Allen Nance, president of CRM consultancy Mansell Group. "Now people don't want a Swiss Army knife, they just want a single blade." And that blade needs to cut through the silos of information to create a single instance of truth and a holistic view of the customer.

"The limitations are not in the tool," says Drew Arnold, director of enterprise sales for mobile-software provider Intellisync. "They're in our application of the tool."

So how can CRM leaders help improve the application of CRM systems and strategies? Users sound off with some suggestions:

Put the Pieces Together

"What we're looking for is the seamless integration in look and feel
and format with other systems in the application portfolio."
--Martin Howard, CIO, Patient Care, a healthcare services firm

"The biggest challenge in CRM today is a true aggregation of data,
starting with everything from the point-of-sale [onward]. We want to get
to that nirvana of CRM where every system is synchronized in a real-time
fashion, so no one piece of information is outdated from another....
Data is the foundation of everything."
--Vince Vachio, director of e-business, Newell Rubbermaid

"I've been very surprised at the complexity [of] and the lack of
integration between the major tools that are out there. We have
marketing groups that are creating materials that they think are
valuable, but there's very little standardization in terms of what the
sales force actually delivers. There's no feedback mechanism that allows
the sales folks to say what's really valuable and what didn't work. You
end up with a bunch of people doing what they [each] think is useful--
and [they] keep creating bad material."
--Patrick Guay, vice president of marketing and product management,
netForensics

"A really nice addition would be a seamless connection between the phone
system and the CRM application. If the system could post information
before the call reached the CSR, we could dive right into solving the
problem without having to ask for basic customer information. That would
cut out an extra minute or so of information gathering. When the CSR
picks up, it's a blank slate to them; it seems to be that we're always
starting over with each caller."
--Trent Giardino, North America tech support supervisor, video-game
maker, Ubisoft

"Where our users are seeing room for improvement [is in] tighter
integration with other products like Outlook and calendaring. One
calendar that governs [users'] whole world would be great. What's hard
is using [CRM] for their corporate calendars [and synchronizing with]
users who aren't [on] CRM."
--Dean Harbry, principal and director of information, technology, Ronald
Blue & Co., a financial-planning company

"It's all about early identification of, Who is this? And how we use
that knowledge ... to make the call shorter or direct the call to a
different kind of agent. … 
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