Avoiding CRM Pitfalls

Customer Relationship Management has the potential to transform healthcare marketing (and is already doing so). With CRM you can more effectively focus marketing investments on the right customers, lower the expense of patient acquisition, create loyal brand advocates and track return on investment. The bottom line is…CRM is good for the bottom line.

Yet many health systems report that CRM investments are not achieving expectations. How this happens when so much time, effort and dollars are invested in the evaluation, selection and implementation of CRM leaves marketing executives scratching their heads.

Are you in the process of selecting or replacing your CRM solution? If so, we offer these common pitfalls of CRM implementation that should be avoided at all costs (or it may cost you).

  • Implementing CRM before creating a customer strategy – the executive team must decide which customers to target, and with whom to build relationships, rather than retrofit a customer strategy to conform to the functionality of the CRM technology it just purchased.
  • Rolling out CRM before changing your organization to match – CRM will succeed only after the health system has been restructured to better meet customer needs (e.g., job descriptions, performance measures, compensation systems, training programs, etc.).
  • Assuming that more CRM technology is better – depending on your customer strategy and processes, sometimes it’s better to start with a lower-technology alternative, and build the CRM platform based on early successes.
  • Pestering, not wooing, customers – too many calls, advertisements, email or direct email solicitations can backfire and drive customers away. Consider the relationship you want with your customers by relying on your consumer strategy – not the capabilities of the CRM program.
  • Failing to set realistic expectations – set realistic expectations up front for both the system and your marketing team.

CRM is about extreme customer management that starts with putting customer needs, wants and experiences at the center of decision making. The successful launch of CRM requires a purposeful approach. Be prepared to:

  • gain C-suite endorsement to engage IT, Finance and other key business functions
  • make significant changes to the marketing department structure, marketing processes and team member skill sets
  • develop the right CRM solution and select a vendor partner who can support your health system’s needs (more on that next week).

Avoid the pitfalls and have a purposeful approach, and you’ll have a better foundation for success with CRM.