Linking Organizational Change with Customer Relationship Management
“Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business”– Mark Sanborn
Organizational change is no choice and in fact is essential for a company to move ahead in the path of progress. Changes could be strategic, structural, technological, or relating to people, culture, policies, processes, products etc. Since companies are moving from being internally driven to being customer-focused, none of the changes would be relevant or fruitful without taking customer relationship management into account. What this means is that companies must ensure that organizational change happens to improve their relationship with customers—both existing and potential—and to serve them better. Revolving change and decisions around customers is a sure-shot way to success and long-term gains for any company.
Customer relationship management is not easy by any standards; companies need to consistently invest resources to ensure that they not only attract, but also retain customers long enough to become loyal fans. Any kind of organizational change is never easy – it is a hard and cumbersome process – and by adding customer relationship management, this task has become even harder. Every company has its values, a unique culture, rules and guidelines, and a set of employees that are expected to live by these aspects. The fact that employees come from different backgrounds, skill-sets, and experience levels makes it tougher to keep the culture intact – imagine the difficulty implementing any change keeping customer relationship management in mind! In order to succeed, a company must find ways to ensure that every employee contributes to the change and is happy to contribute in whatever manner required.
Companies have had to change their business strategies owing to the drastically changing market situations–economic downturn, increasing competition, rise of self-help options for customers, increase in similar products and services. The power equation has shifted to the customers owing to these factors; therefore without a focus on customer relationship management, a company may find it difficult to sustain in a longer term. It is now necessary for companies to invest in technology and software that makes customer relationship management agile and a lot easier. This would help companies align this strategy with their overall business strategy or make organizational changes in order to do so. Without the inclination and alignment to a focus on customers, it would be tough to gain maximum advantage of CRM software, technologies, and principles in the market today.
Before implementing any reorganization, a company must first identify the existing processes and their alignment with customer-focused policies. The decision of reorganization should be made post evaluating whether these changes would have a positive impact on customer relationship management or whether they would jeopardise the company’s efforts in that direction. Customers are not likely to be happy with any changes that affect them adversely; they would rather move their business to a company that seeks to satisfy their needs, and concurring with them before making any relationship altering changes.
We know that the top management of any company is mostly responsible for affecting changes in any organization and therefore they must make informed decisions before edging forward with any changes. When top leaders are convinced of the positive impact of an organizational change on customer relationship management, they would be able to inspire confidence and credibility not only with employees, but with the customer base too. Employees drive the tide in the favour of a company and get customers to believe that the changes proposed would be beneficial for them too. Employees too, remain enthused when they observe their leaders promoting an initiative. While the initiative must come from the top leaders, we also know that realistically, they cannot be directly involved with every project and reorganization initiative.
An organizational change management program requires deft handling, especially because any change is usually met with resistance. By ensuring that it is methodical, provides details of the benefits. Ensuring support to employees to help manage the change, will enhance the chances of success. If employees were to resist the change, there would be a direct impact on their job performance and in the manner in which they serve customers. This would naturally adversely affect the relationship a company has with its customers, leading to dissatisfaction and churn. There is therefore, a direct connection between any organizational change and customer service. An inefficiently managed change would meet with negativity that would then radiate out to the customers, which is never acceptable for a customer-focussed company.
Organizational change requires careful planning and implementation. In order for it to be successful, the impact on customer relationship management must definitely be discussed. If the program will lead to a major change, it is advisable to implement it incrementally, to ensure least possible disruption to the employees and in turn, to the customers. Organizational change is a must, however, it should be managed in a way that both employees and customers can perceive the short-term benefits and envision the long term goals.