CRM Is Always Right
How to learn from the market while you treat your customers right
Craig Stanford is director of
higher education for Talisma,
which focuses on customer
(CRM) and customer interaction
(CIM) tools. He
each of the
for the higher education market:
Strategic Enrollment Management,
and Advancement. A CRM
system expert, Stanford is
passionate about building lasting
relationships with Talisma’s
customer base. He sees CRM
as the best opportunity that
institutions have to grow with
and adjust to market
demands, while following the
time-honored business practice
of “treating the customer
right.” Here, he shares his Top
10 ways to succeed with
CRM—both by building great
constituent relationships and
by fine-tuning processes.
Want to be considered for Campus Technology’s Top 10? Send your countdown and a brief background/bio summary to firstname.lastname@example.org
Provide staff with a global view of contacts and communications.
- Communication histories locked up in silos are a thing of the past.
- Staff must be able to see a constituent’s entire history on a single screen.
- Limit the number of data fields to those needed across departments.
Create role-based workspaces across the institution, tailored to each user.
- Minimize “clicks” and maximize efficiency with uniquely
- Lower-priority data (for a given user) should be searchable
secondary views, not shown on the main screen.
Segment the constituent base in order to provide focused services.
- Don’t let valuable relationships slip through the cracks!
- Use automated filtering to locate high-value, likely-to-take-action candidates.
- Employ predictive models to help determine filtering choices.
Personalize every interaction, from hard-copy mailings to phone
conversations and e-mails.
- One size d'es not fit all, and customers know that.
- Personalization is more than including a name; use relevant, targeted content.
- Don’t overlook the power of chat and IM for personalized exchanges.
Ensure consistency and build credibility with single-voice messaging.
- Use a scripted knowledgebase, shared across the university, with pre-built
responses to typical questions.
- Be aware of parent-child and other constituent relationships that may share
and compare information.
Put out the welcome mat with constituent self-service.
- An overwhelming volume of inquiries can bog down departments fast.
- Make sure a personalized web portal is there to assist prospects 24/7.
- Provide an option to escalate quickly from self-service to assisted service.
Automate the assignment and routing of inquiries to expedite follow-up.
- Build business rules to ensure staff ownership and reduce unanswered inquiries.
- When possible, collect information via web forms.
- A little planning will save staff time and the cost of sending duplicate materials.
Automate process/workflow to move constituents to the next stage.
- Don’t let constituents get stalled!
- Automation will optimize yield, keep constituents from feeling abandoned,
and keep staff on track.
Build in accountability. Know who handled what when, and the result.
- Create a non-editable audit trail, with a date-and-time stamp.
- Make frequent spot checks and address problems quickly.
Leverage analytics that help you get the most out of your CRM system
and continuously improve business practices.
- Maintain in-depth reports that allow adjustments to data capture as needed.
- Automate the scheduling and delivery of reporting to maintain concentration
on key goals.
- Always be open to learning from mistakes and reviewing processes.