Sage CRM Blog - User Experience

Looking at a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is always an exciting time. Seeing all of the ROI, saved time for employees, the many features that can be automated, and the many other benefits it brings to an organization is invigorating. But what good is a CRM system if the employees are unable to effectively use it?

It is far too easy for an organization to get fixated on what the system can do, the efficiencies it will create, and the many other flashy features that are dangled like carrots in front of senior leadership to make the investment.  Far too often, all of these detract from one of the most important aspect of any software implementation – user adoption.

User adoption is one of the single most important items to consider when identifying CRM systems that meet all of the needs of an organization. “Why?” Because all of the flashy automation will not mean a thing if there is no data to be automated into processes and procedures.

With as much focus as organizations place on serving the customer, it’s often a missed concept that the people using the CRM system are internal customers of the organization. The user’s experience directly translates over to the customer’s experience. If the user gets frustrated or is unable to accomplish the task, the first person they are able to unload their frustration is the customer.  Ensuring the user experience is positive as often as possible within each segment of the software is just as important as the features the software offers.

Some small enhancements to the user experience that often get overlooked, but bring tremendous value to a CRM system beyond the needed features are:

  • Fewer clicks to access or input data into the system: Users don’t want to have to remember where to click, what to type or the many other steps that it takes to get to the desired information or find the right place to start inputting data into the system.
  • Summary displays of information: As users key in more and more data into the system, being able to get back to that data quickly is imperative. The goal of a good CRM is to provide a means to jump to information that already exists relatively quickly. As more and more data enters the system, being able to get to that information quickly in spite of the sea of data becomes more and more important.
  • On-screen assistance: Taking the time to script some basic “how to” information at the top of a screen can be paramount to successful adoption. This serves a couple of key roles as it alleviates the barrage of emails and communications that the organization’s go-to person receives (thus allowing them to be productive) and empowers the users (which increases confidence in using the CRM system).
  • Intuitive screens: When users get to unfamiliar screens, having a fairly straightforward layout and obvious progression of what they are expected to do next helps by establishing familiarity quicker. Users instinctively know what to click, when, and it is easier to memorize and adapt to the process flow.
  • If something can be easily broken, hide it: Though it might seem silly, some CRM systems out there can be easily broken or a specific string of actions can cause a database error. If the CRM has potential pitfalls, identify what they are and hide them so the users are kept from negative experiences.

When deploying a CRM, it is imperative that users adopt the system. By making CRM as user friendly as possible, users aren’t intimidated by the system and they are not terrified to access features of the CRM software. This can translate to happier users, which in turn are better armed and capable of creating positive customer experiences.

Those repeat positive customer experiences are what brings an organization’s customer base back for repeat business time and time again. Empowering the user will in turn empower the customer.

In the next installment of the series, we will take a look at how the user experience fits into the CRM Scope and the Roadmap for successful CRM deployments.