Chapter 2

Success Factor 1: Ease of Use

While ease of use might seem like a secondary issue when considering the success of a CRM, the user experience is one of the most important factors. If your CRM is difficult or confusing to use or adds more work to your staff’s plate, there is a high likelihood of low user adoption rates. Simply put, if your platform adds frustration, employees will not use it.

Consider this scenario. An employee is committed to making sure their contact data in CRM is updated whenever they interact with a client. After a client meeting or receiving an email from that contact, the employee updates the client’s contact in CRM with new information.

The process requires manual data entry and takes about 10 minutes per contact. If the employee has several client meetings on a given day, plus emails, they can spend an hour just updating contacts.

That’s potentially an hour a day they can’t focus on clients. More importantly, it’s an hour your firm can’t bill for and  frustrating for the employee.

To be truly effective, the CRM must fit seamlessly into  standard operations of all your employees. Integrations with other commonly used solutions, like email or messaging platforms, requires less manual administration and makes it much easier for employees to use the CRM.

Your CRM platform should also be accessible to any employee, wherever their work takes them. Being able to access information and update contacts from their home office or at a client site is critical to service delivery and information capture.

Finally, creating a clearly defined and easily accessible contact structure within the CRM helps avoid frustration for employees who need regular access to the most up-to-date client information. Data in the CRM should be stored in a logical, easy to navigate architecture.

How can you tell if your CRM is easy to use?

To determine if your CRM is easy to use, it can be helpful to:

  • Review adoption rates: Tracking adoption rate is not always an exact science. However, by counting the number of current licenses and reviewing activity of those licenses, you can gain some insight into the number of employees using your CRM.
  • Audit contacts: Conduct a spot check of various contacts within your CRM to determine their accuracy and quality. Outdated or incomplete contacts could be a sign that the CRM is difficult to use or that users are encountering roadblocks.
  • Conduct surveys: One of the best ways to determine if users are having difficulties with your CRM is to conduct a survey. When surveying users, be sure to include all employees who access the CRM, even if they only do so on an occasional basis. In the survey, include open-ended questions that provide users with the opportunity to raise concerns and identify common frustrations or roadblocks.

Conducting one or more of these exercises should yield helpful insight into the usability of your CRM.

Person working at a desk and using technology

What's next?

Learning that your CRM is not currently easy to use can be surprising. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world, though. There are many things you can do to improve CRM usability, including additional training or exploring cross-platform integrations and process automation. Examine your contact structure – is it too confusing to navigate, or are you requiring too much data? Adjusting these issues may also help improve usability. Automating processes, such as information capture and contact updates can also help to reduce time spent on data entry.

In some cases, a different CRM solution might be a better option for your firm, especially if the feedback from employees is overwhelmingly negative or insurmountable roadblocks are identified.