That is a pretty bold statement, isn’t it? In my opinion not necessarily so. One could argue since the digitalization has hit the industry hard, that CRM is based on information technology – because information is vital to keep your customer satisfied and happy. It doesn’t really matter if you are only a big local player or try your luck on a global scale; Without the necessary information technology to support your staff that is responsible for Customer Relation, you are in for a rough waking. Thus, the bold statement; ITSM trumps CRM.
Different but maybe not by much
While ITSM can stand alone within a company, for example in the background to handle the in-house information technology and guarantee smooth operations, CRM not necessarily so. True, the definition of both abbreviations could hardly be related, yet each CRM has at least either an Incident Management part or a Service Request Fulfillment part. Maybe even both.
Overview of possible CRM aspects
Neither are hereditary to ITSM. However, both rely heavily (in today’s age) on information technology providing the data needed to respond appropriately to the customers’ needs and wishes. Even with the ever-growing involvement of social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook), it is information technology that deciphers and breaks down the vast amount of information that is reaching the Customer Relations Team. Part of a good CRM is to be able to:
- Respond to user queries/request in a timely fashion
- Distribute information (i.e., new campaign) on a global level without delay
- Respond to new issues as fast as possible
- Don’t prolong ongoing issues unduly and keep the client base informed
- Work efficiently both on an economic as well as professional level
No unicorns can help you scale without a system
To be able to not only achieve the above but also to maintain and even improve upon it, you have to rely on ITSM. With a good interface towards the client/end-user, it’ll become that much easier to scale, respond and professionally handle any kind of situation. Not every scenario will resolve itself to be the pretty perfect unicorn that lights up your world. ITSM can almost guarantee you;
- High response time regardless of client/end-user query
- Able to work highly efficient without the need to be overstaffed (i.e., frees resources)
- Inroad into establishing self-service for common places requests and issues
- Best example is a Knowledge Base (either Community or Company driven, maybe even a hybrid of both)
- Establishing process structures to balance workload, therefore increasing overall productivity
- Creating efficient work streams is part of ITSM (i.e., SL1 through SL3 respectively Call Center, Reclamation Team, and Product Management)
- Option to add additional pillars of ITSM where necessary and if overall applicable
ITIL (framework for ITSM) overview
You will be able to develop and implement streamline work processes and automate them to such a degree that you will be able to achieve higher efficiency with lower resources invested (i.e., manpower) while maintaining a decent quality as well as professional level. Once you have reached that part, the aim is to establish best practices throughout the company, to continuously improve upon the implemented work streams, therefore lessen manual interaction – automation is the king of the hill.
In my humble opinion it is no longer feasible – scratch that … it is no longer possible to play on a big local level, respectively on a global scale without a good, solid base of ITSM. That’s why one could – very provocatively – state that without ITSM, there’s no CRM.
This guest article has been provided by Michael Schulz, project manager and service operations specialist at i:FAO. You can visit him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more insight.
Photo credit: Scott Keelin / Annant2015 / Bgrigorov
Editorial notice: This article is considered to be an opinion based on personal experiences. Frameworks are not the same everywhere.