The Telco Training Academy


CRM Systems

Managing customer relationships is a very big job, and for the telco it is especially cumbersome and complex. Decades of sales, marketing, and customer service activity based on a monopoly business model have left most telcos ill-prepared for the relationship management challenges of the 21st Century.

Many telcos have decided that the creation of a fully integrated CRM systems environment is the answer.


Telco CRM

The scores are in and the results are not good! Despite all of the hype generated by the “experts,” the general consensus seems to be: CRM investments do not pay!

Survey after survey has managers and practitioners reporting that, for the most part, their CRM investments have not yielded nearly the value that was expected or promised!

Surprised?  There is no reason to be. For decades now, the business world has moved from one “magical” solution to the next. While the magazines, the vendors, and the industry “experts” rush to tout the next magic bullet that will solve all of your problems, the rest of us just continue to trudge along, improving operations and increasing revenues and profits the old fashioned way: one issue at a time.

Is CRM a bad investment? Of course not.

CRM, or the management of your relationships with your customers, is what your business is all about. Without CRM you have no business.

However, investing millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours in the pursuit of quickie, high-tech sounding metamorphosis solutions that deliver little or no value, much confusion, and huge consulting and software bills at the end of the day is a poor investment.

Thankfully, the buzzword mania associated with CRM has finally died down. The sound nuts-and-bolts telco business practices will always find an audience with top management and will always deliver good ROI to the organizations that implement them intelligently. These values are:

  • Creating and managing an optimal sales force

  • Motivating sales people and teaching them to be more effective

  • Getting more positive impact from your customer service investment

  • Invigorating and managing your agent channels

  • Fine tuning and expanding your web presence

  • Enhancing and automating your customer self service capabilities

  • Strategically managing, cutting, and tuning your overall channel interface strategy

Don’t buy that call center software … unless! A very simple and logical caveat says that you shouldn’t invest money in an expensive and comprehensive solution until you understand all of the implications involved.

  • What is the total cost of implementation (in dollars, organizational change, customer coverage gap)?

  • What is the real reason why this automation is being considered?

  • What are the hard numbers backing up the claim that this implementation will pay?

  • What is the assurance that this transformation can actually take place?

TTA and Return on Investment Based CRM

To TTA it is obvious where the real value and the real challenges of CRM implementations lie.

It is easy for someone to draw a pretty picture and create a make-believe vision of the other end of the rainbow. It is quite another thing to roll up your shirtsleeves and dig into the issues that must be addressed if you expect your CRM implementations to be effective.

We believe that the secret to a successful CRM implementation is to understand fully all of the implications of the changes you are considering and quantifying and qualifying them before proceeding.

CRM implementations are extremely complex and multi-dimensional. Each implementation involves the following issues.

  • Channel balance

  • Customer channel preference

  • Cost per customer contact

  • Customer contact quality

  • Customer impact

  • A 360o perspective on the customer experience

  • A 360o perspective on the corporate experience

  • Technological implementation

  • Employee competence

  • Employee willingness to change

  • Culture, values and vision

  • Organizational impacts

  • Financial implications

Our approaches help you view your implementation through all of these perspectives so that the changes you are planning will be effective.

Our formal CRM offerings include:

  • Sales Force Management and Optimization

  • Campaign Management Implementation

  • Customer Service Efficiency

  • Internet Channels (E-Commerce) Design and Management

  • Agent Channel Building and Control

  • Overall CRM and Channel Management

  • Service Level Agreements Development and Administration


CRM Vendors' Biggest Challenge

The thought of a fully-integrated CRM system may look good on paper, and it may sound even better when the software vendor describes how wonderful it will be when the system has been installed. Unfortunately, in reality few CRM systems implementations proceed without a series of major challenges. Even though a vendor's solution works well "in the laboratory" or "in somebody else's telco," you will be facing your share of trials when it comes time to put that system into your organization.

Organizational and Political Resistance to Change

The first and biggest challenge to any major CRM consolidation and streamlining activity is organizational and political resistance. Implementation of a new CRM solution that truly delivers high value returns on the investment must, by definition, break down barriers between departments, specialists, and legacy systems. Of course, if those entities had wanted to be integrated and streamlined in the first place there would be no reason for the CRM system.

This means is that any system that is going to deliver value, will address AND RESOLVE the hundreds of organizational, operational, financial, political, personal, and logistical challenges that come up as a result of its implementation and no software in the world, and no methodology ever invented will do that job for you. There is only one way to address this: one issue and one person at a time. That takes sensitivity, awareness, foresight, and persistence.

Harnessing the Power of Your Billing and CDR Systems

Once you get passed the myriad of people problems that the new CRM system will generate, you are ready to take on the second set of challenges: the I/T systems. No telco architecture is simple, and no billing system ever provided information without a struggle. The level of information retrieval and integration that most people expect to get from their CRM systems deployments guarantees that the data and systems challenges will be very large.

Teaching the Organization a New Way to do its Job

Now that the new system is in place, your organization will have to learn new ways of operating. New processes, new procedures, and much new information will have to be analyzed, understood, and integrated into the way people do their jobs.

Changing Your Core Strategies and Management Attitudes

Surprisingly, even after all of this has been accomplished, there is still one more step before the benefits of the system can be truly realized. Management's attitudes and pre-dispositions, as well as the organization's core strategies and beliefs have to change as well.

Few managers anticipate the massive upheaval in corporate culture, values, and strategic direction that new, truly effective, and well integrated solutions will create. These systems often generate far more than the originally envisioned value. In many cases, the experience of new systems implementation and utilization has taught the more active and informed employees to look for many other ways to improve the business.


TTA Offerings to Support CRM Systems Deployment

When it comes to fully integrated CRM solutions, TTA can provide a small but critical contribution to your successful deployment, whether you are building your own or using a package.

  • Software/vendor selection offerings

    • CRM systems requirements definition

    • CRM systems specifications

    • CRM systems software/vendor selection assistance

  • Strategy and management adjustment Offerings

    • Telco total customer value management strategic alignment offerings (how the new CRM system will change strategic decision-making)

  • Systems integration, data sourcing, and database design offerings

    • CRM systems data sourcing

    • CRM systems database design

    • CRM systems specifications/requirements

    • CRM systems architecture design

    • CRM systems design

    • CRM systems deployment quality assurance

  • Operational realignment and optimization offerings

    • Creation and training in the use of new CRM-based system

      • Organizational models

      • Operational models

      • Policies and procedures

      • Information management capabilities

      • Key performance indicators

CRM  Software Vendors

At TTA, we can help you with development of a complete CRM software solution, whether it is one you build yourself, a package you install, or a combination of the two.