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How to Design CRM for the User Experience

How long did it take you to learn eBay or Amazon.com? How many manuals did you read? How did that experience compare with learning your CRM application?

Consumer technologies have set the standards users expect in their personal and professional application usage. However, when trying to leverage these technologies with business applications most organizations get it wrong because they fail to understand the difference between the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX).

The UI is focused on the visual presentation, but the User Experience is much more than that, as it contributes to an emotion that either enhances or degrades the continued use of the application. To achieve a positive emotional connection, the UX should precede the UI so that form follows function and utility is aligned with user-centered design. What that means is that the UX begins by engaging users to understand what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. Any attempt to achieve a UX objective by hiring designers, creating wire frames or dressing up existing applications with UI facelifts – without first understanding user behaviors, expectations and prioritized use cases – will not achieve a successful user experience. More CRM user experience ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 7/31/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM Implementation
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Best Practices to Rally CRM User Adoption

User adoption is a perennial challenge with CRM software deployments. Slow or low user adoption is a top cited contributing factor to CRM engagements that fail to achieve their objectives, or just fail outright.

In my experience, too many executives see the signs of slow adoption, but naively believe that the users will ultimately come around. In fact, the opposite is more likely. The longer it takes to achieve acceptance, the more probable the CRM software will fail to become sustainable.

I'd like to say that there are 2 or 3 things to do in order to achieve CRM adoption. But it's just not that simple.

Here are 12 CRM best practices designed to mitigate CRM user adoption challenges. More CRM user adoption ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 5/14/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM Implementation
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The Top 2 Needed Shifts in Consumer Product Goods Business Growth Strategies

There's a lot of imperatives on the Consumer Product CEO's agenda—things like improved demand forecasting, better performing supply chains, optimized inventory and making omni-channel work to name a few—but I think the top 2 imperatives for most consumer product goods (CPG) companies are making the needed shift to their business growth strategies in order to accommodate the shift in consumer behaviors and improving their supply chains to accommodate more fluid market demand.

CPG Challenges

More CPG Strategy ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer        Calendar 3/23/2015        Trackback Permalink        Comments       Filed In Posted in Industry CRM
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Why Financial Services Strategies are in Desperate Need of Change

An unprecedented shift in consumer behavior now demands a compensating shift in financial services strategy.

The rise of consumer technologies such as mobile, social and cloud have empowered consumers with on-demand information, real-time collaboration with other consumers and vetted customer opinions of financial services products, policy comparisons, service experiences and a host of factors which consumers use to determine what policy to purchase or where to put their money.

The rise in consumer technologies have contributed to an even bigger shift in consumer behaviors. Consumers — when evaluating retail banking or wealth management programs; life or P&C insurance policies; or capital market, asset management and even investment banking services — are more connected, informed, empowered and demanding.

This sea change in behavior has created a perfect storm for financial services organizations as customer expectations are rising, customers are readily sharing their bad experiences publicly and customers are switching their providers at a dramatically increased pace.

Financial services companies that fail to adjust their business strategy to this new reality will most certainly see their customer share and market share erode. But on the flipside, those financial service leaders that can transition from policy-centric to customer-centric business models, meet consumers in the channels they communicate, engage consumers in ways they find relevant and helpful, and find competitive differentiation in the areas most important to consumers, will increase their existing customer tenure, pick-up those customer defections from flat footed competitors and clearly be the beneficiaries of a changing market.

Competitive advantage must be built around qualities that customers value and apply in their purchase decisions. The below diagram shares the top 9 factors that most influence customer acquisitions and retention in the financial services industries. More Financial Services Strategy ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer        Calendar 2/7/2015        Trackback Permalink        Comments       Filed In Posted in Financial Services
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Why Retail Strategies are in Need of Immediate Change

Retail strategy is at a reset moment. Historically, retail CEOs have designed business strategies by creating differentiation among the 8 primary factors of location, store, merchandise/assortment, visual merchandising, staff, service, mass media and communications, and price. A retailer could achieve sustained leadership by standing out in at least 2 of these dimensions.

For example, Walmart's differentiation is based on broad assortments and low price, or Nordstrom on Service and highly specific assortments.

However, an unprecedented change in consumer technologies, and more so consumer behaviors, has transferred the balance of retail commerce power from retailers to consumers. Consumers are now more connected and informed, and have far more purchase options than ever before. Their personal technologies have changed their behaviors. Consumer expectations have increased, their loyalty has decreased and because barriers to switching brands continue to decline they are in fact switching brands at an accelerated pace.

To respond to consumers' new behaviors, technologies and purchasing power, retailers must append their business strategy with new forms of differentiation, recognize that customer relationships trump every other factor, understand that mass media communications have given way to consumer preferences for highly personalized messaging, and that business intelligence is a new basis for competitive advantage. More retail strategy ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer        Calendar 12/15/2014        Trackback Permalink        Comments       Filed In Posted in Retail CRM
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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 — What Matters Most in the New Release

Today Microsoft released Dynamics CRM 2015.

In my opinion, the Dynamics CRM 2013 release was the most significant since the first Microsoft CRM introduction in 2003. That prior release applied consumerization technologies to profoundly change the user experience, finally began to get serious about mobility and enhanced underlying constructs such as workflow and business rules in order to make the product much more extensible.

The Dynamics CRM 2015 release changes the focus to new features and improved integration to sales and marketing, and reestablishes code parity between the online on-premise versions.

Microsoft enhanced the Guided Processes to include branching logic. This is a powerful tool to facilitate repeatable processes and best practices. Microsoft CRM stands alone in offering the Guided Processes concept and enhancing these visual process flows with conditional logic can streamline processes such as sales cycles, and improve process consistency which can aid key objectives such as increasing sales win rates.

Another assisted selling feature is the ability to bundle products and facilitate up-sell and cross-sell recommendations. I've always found it odd that so few CRM systems offer this essential uplift opportunity. As shown in the screen shot below, the opportunity record now includes a Suggestions link which promotes product bundles, substitutes, accessories and up-sell items. More Dynamics CRM 2015 ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer        Calendar 12/1/2014        Trackback Permalink        Comments       Filed In Posted in Microsoft CRM
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