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Guest Blog: Building a Customer-Centric Culture Around CRM Software

This week we feature an article by Dawn Gucciardo who took my model of Six D’s to Creating a Customer-Centric Culture and applied it to developing and implementing a CRM software. – Shep Hyken Shep Hyken believes customer centricity must start on the inside, with your employees. Guess what? The same goes for developing and implementing […]

This week we feature an article by Dawn Gucciardo who took my model of Six D’s to Creating a Customer-Centric Culture and applied it to developing and implementing a CRM software. – Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken believes customer centricity must start on the inside, with your employees. Guess what? The same goes for developing and implementing a CRM software!

As a business owner, operations manager or stakeholder, it is common to invest time, effort and money into building a customer-centric human workforce to help execute a business strategy. Don’t throw all that away by implementing a piece of software that makes the employee’s job more difficult, takes longer (without any benefits) or adds no value to individual tasks. Customer service is everyone’s job— from sales reps, finance, IT, operations, to management— and the more employees buy into it, the more they will exceed in providing higher quality service.

It only makes sense to start with your employees as they will be using the software front and center. Keeping the employee’s needs in mind helps build the application in such a way that it supplements their role and assists in performing more in less time. It is imperative for employees to focus more of their time on the revenue-driving tasks instead of the mundane tasks that typically aren’t revenue-drivers.

As a reference, Shep defines the Six D’s of Creating a Customer-Centric Culture in his Customer Service Blog:

  1. Define it. – Imagine the desired customer experience.
  2. Disseminate it. – Communicate and train employees on what that experience looks like.
  3. Deploy it. – Roll out the customer service initiative to everyone.
  4. Demonstrate it. – Everyone leads by example.
  5. Defend it. – If it is apparent that the current customer experience isn’t ideal, intervene and provide coaching.
  6. Delight in it! – Celebrate the success of amazing customer service!

The same may be described for developing and implementing a CRM software.

6 Steps for Creating Customer Centricity around CRM

  1. Define It.

Taking a “day in the life” approach is a great way to define what is needed for employees to easily perform their role during the process, regarding data points and reporting. During this stage, reviewing the necessary adjustments and describing how the software will affect your company’s culture is highly recommended. This is an essential step to warming up your company to the sweeping changes ahead.

Impact: As a result, employees that contribute to the design are highly engaged and more likely to embrace change as they feel like a part of the process.

  1. Disseminate It.

Training employees on how to use the application using specific “A day in the life” scenarios is vital. For example, demonstrating specific instances of how employees can use the software will benefit them more than covering every single feature at once. In addition, make the training a hands-on experience; a classroom-like environment with workshops is better than one jumbled lecture-like session. By providing real-life scenarios in training sessions, you are preparing users for deployment. Also, communicating the benefits and the business impact to the company overall may lead to higher engagement.

Impact: By providing real-life scenarios during training, it will better prepare your users for deployment.

  1. Deploy It.

Ensuring that all end-users are up and running is crucial. Provide a “safety net” with a real-time Service Level Agreement for the first week. This type of immediate response takes pressure off users as expectations will adapt to their needs. So, if something in the software goes wrong, isn’t clarified, or doesn’t work as anticipated, most changes can be made in the agreement to address specific pain points.

Impact: Employees will be more confident knowing that if they forgot something or if they made a mistake, they are covered.

  1. Demonstrate It.

Demonstration requires that stakeholders understand how the CRM is being used and to communicate with each other when key company milestones are achieved, or when an employee has reached an individual milestone. Demonstration is all about alignment. Given that CRM software usually involves major changes, it is key that everyone involved with the software is on board and is using it properly.

Impact:  The “boss” recognizes how much work employees are putting into their customer interactions, which increases motivation. Key stakeholders are “in-touch” and are able to have intelligent, relevant discussions concerning customer issues.

  1. Defend It.

Maintaining data integrity to help ensure the application is working as intended is necessary. Also, most organizations rely on data to make decisions, so with inaccurate data, customers are going to feel the effects. Therefore, continuously monitor user adoption and address issues immediately. Staying abreast of business changes and enhancing the application as needed is very important.

Impact:  Face it, issues are going to arise because humans will be humans, and humans created the application. It is not the issue so much as how the issue is handled. Refer to the steps above so it is handled properly.

  1. Delight in It!

Bringing in donuts to celebrate when a specific team meets their goals or buying lunch for the employee that sold the most widgets for the week is worthwhile. Point being, revel in the success and make the hard work rewarding!

Impact:  Happy employees. Happy Customers.

Happy Customers Through Happy Employees

The easiest way to build a CRM software around customers is to have your employees involved every step of the way. Employees and stakeholders that are out of touch with the software will be out of touch with customers. When motivated, employees are challenged to think of relevant customer interactions during a CRM project, and success is guaranteed.

As a Senior CRM Consultant for Indusa, Dawn Gucciardo is a functional leader, helping clients plan, implement, and adopt leading customer enablement technologies. Dawn’s passion and focus include understanding client needs, analyzing their business processes, and managing implementation efforts. 

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: I Just Want To Talk To A Human!

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