Your CRM: Return on Investment at the Speed of Trust

copy-of-susan_headshot4 The more I read Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust, the more I am convinced that a major contributor to failure of Customer Relationship Management implementations is a lack of trust within the company that invested in the CRM.

When Pequod first entered the CRM business, one of the major anxieties we frequently heard was “You mean that anyone in this company could read my eMail?  Do they have to?” The look on the speaker’s face was usually one of anxiety and fear.

eMail is  territory that many employees  still regard as personal, despite the fact that it is sent using corporate computers and corporate software.  Courts rulings in favor of the employer rather than the employee have the effect of creating anxiety, fear and serious corporate headaches among all of us who may have sent eMail  while using corporate resources.  I recently heard of an eMail policy that actually includes chastising any innocent recipient of eMail deemed inappropriate for the workplace. What happens?  Even more anxiety and fear. Not exactly an environment for trust.

All of this fear and anxiety can lead naturally to messaging outside the CRM.  Texting, Tweeting and messaging in other social networks may help one employee build one social relationships with one potential customer while creating the illusion that one’s employer cannot see those messages. However, even if these messages seem to the employee to be totally harmless, using alternative message channels contributes nothing to help others in the same company to learn appropriate, business-building strategies from each other.

In some cases, alternative messaging reflects a desire for acceptance among friends and potential customers who mostly use these messages as chat—not necessarily the messaging that would help others in the same corporate setting. In others, it’s a sometimes futile attempt to avoid being monitored by one’s boss—or one’s employees. And in still others, it’s an effort to avoid a law suit, such as that brought by an employee’s union against an employer that enforced its policy about the use of eMail inconsistently, as in Guard Publishing Co. v. National Labor Relations Board.

In any case, failure to incorporate appropriate business-related messaging as part of a CRM effort reduces the effectiveness and return on investment made in the CRM. So what is an employer to do?

Develop a company-wide culture of genuine trust in sending, receiving and recording business-related messaging in your CRM. That will help companies recapture return on investment in CRM at the speed of trust.

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