Check out this quote that I read recently – “I cleaned out my fridge, and now I know I can switch careers.”

I know – it made me stop and think too!  I mean, heh? You have a clean fridge and that made you ready to make a big leap of ditching your life’s work up till now and go do something completely different?! How does that work?

But it got me thinking about Customer Relationship Management systems….

Cleaning the fridge makes our Marketing Director think of CRM

I should firstly explain that the author of this quote was making the point that if you do the little jobs that only take you 1 minute (or less) to do, such as hang up your coat, read a letter and file/bin it, fill in a form, answer an email, note down a quotation, pick up phone messages, pick up kids toys, put the magazines away, register another film rental request – oh you get the idea – then you can clear space in your life to get on with the bigger stuff. In short you make yourself more productive and you make yourself calmer and less stressed.

Well that rings true for me; that when everything is tidied and in its rightful place (metaphorically and literally) so that I am not tripping over the mental and physical clutter then I feel better equipped to tackle the really big important stuff. The stuff that is going to make big transformations in my life.

So how did this get me thinking about our work at Junari and our fabulous Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution JunariCRM+?  Even for me I have to admit that is quite a large segue! At least at first look it appears to be a big transition. But stick with me – because really it has quite a lot of relevance.

Systems make it very hard to do “1-minute jobs”

One of the biggest gripes our clients talk to us about when referring to previous systems and methodologies they have used to capture client related information is that it is VERY HARD (sorry to shout, it’s their emphasis not mine!) to get the information into the system in the first place.  This usually boils down to the fact that their users simply don’t spend the time to go and do little and often data entry – quickly putting in information when they first become aware of it; when it first occurs to them that it would be useful to record that.

What a lot of people do (are you one of these?) is “save it all up” to the imaginary spare time at the end of the day or the end of the week or the month even!  By which point it is no longer just a “one minute” job. It is a socking-big 3 hour job that is doubly frustrating because now you’re second guessing your memory of the situation and having to rummage around in scraps of paper and old emails to remind yourself what the pertinent point actually was! Or worse – that spare-time really is imaginary and never actually materialises so the knowledge you’ve gathered never ever gets shared amongst your business. Wasted.

“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings” Jane Austen

Have you, like me, worked in companies where the team members, while generally conscientious are all too-busy being busy to actually do the work they need to? Mmmm.

Why do people behave in this way?  And in particular why does it become so acute when we consider the issue of key business systems such as CRMs? Here are a few posits:

  1. They have a brain like the infamous Sherlock Holmes and can keep everything stored away in their “mind-palace” for easy and quick retrieval (while presumably keeping a sagacious and mysterious look upon their face to impress fellow workers as they salvage factual minutiae)
  2. They don’t get the reason for, and value of, sharing information so they don’t prioritise the work. In other words they don’t care enough!
  3. The system makes it too hard for them. We all know that if something makes us think too hard then we’re likely to lose interest and head off to do something else.

The first point I am unable to offer any sensible advice on – Sherlock Holmes is a fictional genius so it figures that he has this convenient narrative construct.  The second point regarding getting your team members to know why having a quality approach to their work is of value to your business is a little outside this blog’s and my remit (but is most definitely within yours!)

Help is at hand – Spend 1-minute digesting these tips

So I’m going to concentrate on the 3rd point – that of how to get the CRM system you’ve chosen to be as user-friendly as possible. These are tiger traps that can apply to the majority of software implementations, but I work for a CRM software creator so CRM it is:

  1. Make the CRM system log-in as automatic for your users as it is for them to open their email client and browser in the morning – for example, connect the log-in details with your business’ network settings to save users having to remember another [groan] password.
  2. Put the key information that each individual user needs on the very first screen they get to – and make sure your CRM system will allow them to modify these elements as time moves on.
  3. Link the system to as many of your other operational systems as possible so that data entered once can flow to all other relevant areas of your business. As soon as one human being has spent their precious time entering the jewel of knowledge this will mean that all the other human beings are freed of the duty of re-typing, double data entry-ing etc.
  4. Allow users to search for information from any starting point they feel compelled to. Don’t make them suffer the fabled ‘Irish Direction Giver’ joke-scenario. You know… the one where the tourist stops to ask an Irish man directions to a particular place and the helpful and matter-of-fact Irishman answers with “Ballykillcary you say? You want to get there heh? Well if I were you I wouldn’t start from here” (with apologies to all Irishmen out there!)
  5. Make sure you give the data entry-fields compelling labels that mean something to your users. Use their vocabulary and vernacular clearly within the system (i.e. the words on the buttons, the workflow descriptions, and the drop down menus etc.).  You know yourself how hard it is to learn a new language and the time that you waste in cycling over and re-checking the meaning of things when you are trying to do this. So; make sure your CRM system can be changed to fit the language of your business and not the other way around.
  6. Get a system that allows you to input information whilst you’re also doing other things. For example when sending an email to a client have it so that the CRM system can also be aware of this and do the quality-job filing for you automatically based upon what it sees in the email. Again, try to make sure the human has to do one thing only once.
  7. Make sure the CRM product can be available to your users whenever they want to use it. So something as simple as having a mobile app or responsive front end that recognises the device that the user is logging on from to re-size and prioritise data entry fields accordingly can massively improve user-engagement.  For example having the ability for salesmen to capture sale-lead contact details directly onto their smartphone through use of QR codes are powerful, neat solutions that prove their value to your team many times over during the working day – it turns the job of keeping your sales-guy up to date and informed into a few simple seconds of effort (nothing like a whole minute to get the job done!). And don’t forget that there are times when your team members are outside of work hour’s but remember something important or learn something about a client’s account. Ensuring your CRM is available to them at this point means it’s more likely to get captured and that might prove to be the business advantage that you needed to win the deal.
  8. Avoid any CRM system that has a proprietary way of moving data along through the business process.  I know, I know there are thousands of CRM sellers out there who talk incessantly about how customisable their systems are, or even how their particular logic of “how to do work” is relevant to your industry sector.  Be careful though – I’ve never yet met an “average” business even if they did live within the same industry area as another firm.  Your business is always going to be “differently similar”. It is the similarity that lulls you into thinking that you could use an off-the-shelf solution but it is the subtle differences that will have you and your users stuck in a workflow cul-de-sac and ultimately losing out on efficiency savings and productivity gains.

So don’t fight nature…. Phone us!

You get it yeah? By simply remembering that most people have a psychological connection with having things neat and tidy and that this improves their productivity and reduces stress so they can think more clearly. If your CRM system can cater to this by being properly tailor-able to your users’ definition of what is “user-friendly” you’re going to hook into this formative need and reap the benefits.

And if you don’t believe that there’s a CRM out there that does exactly that then all you need to do to happily prove yourself wrong is get in touch with us here at Junari. Pick up the phone or email us to have a commitment-free chat and ask us to show you how you will benefit from using the JunariCRM+ solution.

Now that’s a job that won’t take more than a minute to do and will surely make you feel so much calmer and productive for having got in touch. Then you can get back to cleaning out your fridge…..  +44 (0)1206 625225