A CRM system incorporates many different disciplines, but which department is best placed to manage the setup? Who should for instance be responsible for the growing community of customers generated by your online CRM, where special offers and deals, contests and comments are posted on a daily basis?
Social networking is something a lot of companies are still getting to grips with, and the traffic generated by the exposure on sites such as Facebook and Twitter can throw up a whole new set of issues for the company, who may not have realized public opinion was quite as strong regarding its products or services.
Chances are your customer service department has its hands full with the comments which crop up, many of which may be unprecedented. It takes trained staff that are familiar with often confrontational situations to deal with what crops up as a result of social media interaction, and for many companies the customer service department is the most suited to this type of engagement with customers.
Another argument is that social media generates great leads for your sales teams, and they are best placed to talk to customers as part of an online CRM strategy, and are the most appropriate employees to monitor social media and then jump on the opportunities presenting themselves during dialog with customers.
Some companies may prefer a suck it up and see option, where allocated members of staff feed leads or issues to appropriate departments depending on the nature of the enquiry or comment. This means constant monitoring of the internet and an ability to make judgment calls as to the best course of action for the company. Many businesses employ social media managers who are responsible for directing leads to the right department. Others hire social media management companies who are experts in deciding what to do with communications generated as part of an online CRM strategy.
One thing is for sure, that if the company already has a marketing department, there is already a source of professional expertise there which should not be underestimated. It is difficult for any company to define who exactly ‘owns’ CRM within the company and indeed many would suggest CRM should be a company-wide ethos rather than a strategy belonging to one particular department. Marketing have been there, seen it and got the t-shirt however and can offer a lot of support to other less internet savvy employees.
It is a mistake to assume that a CRM system is the responsibility solely of the IT department, or the organization responsible for maintaining the computers within the business. CRM is not solely an IT issue, because it involves contact with customers and being flexible to change. Computer experts can analyse and report, but it takes employees trained in customer relations to really take CRM forward. If your computer experts can do that too on top of maintaining your systems then great, but in reality CRM is too big a job for one department to take on without support from others.
I work as a CRM consultant and I have a vast experience with dozens of hosted CRM systems. I hope you find my writing useful and possibly in some way inspiring. For any questions, simply contact me. Cheers, George Jackson