Five Undeniable Reasons Why People Hate CRM…And How to Make it Better

Five Undeniable Reasons Why People Hate CRM…And How to Make it Better

When a new customer relationship management (CRM) solution fails, it’s almost always because everyone expresses absolute hatred for it. They resent being forced to use it, and they loathe having to learn a new way to do the same work they’ve always done. As far as these disgruntled workers can tell, CRM is the worst thing that’s ever happened in their workplace.

So they drag their feet at every opportunity, and they make every effort to not use it. And if they have to use it anyway, they bitterly complain about it. Ultimately, if enough of their coworkers share their same attitude, the CRM implementation will fail.

By some estimates, 63 percent of CRM initiatives fail. Most of these expensive, time-consuming failures are the direct result of users stubbornly rejecting the CRM. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The key to successful CRM implementation involves:

  • Understanding the biggest concerns, fears, and frustrations workers have with the system.
  • Figuring out how to sidestep and prevent these issues before they become serious problems.

In this post, we’re going to look at the five biggest reasons people hate CRM—and what you can do to improve this situation.

Complaint #1: CRM software is too complicated.

Let’s take this comment at face value. By any definition, a typical CRM is a complex, sophisticated tool. So it takes time to learn the basics of navigating the system, look up data, and create and modify entries. The CRM itself may not be particularly intuitive. It’s a fair criticism to call almost any CRM “complicated.” However, using a CRM isn’t objectively more complex than shopping online, driving a car, or doing many other things these same workers do every day.

Solution: Invest in CRM training.

When workers say a CRM is “too complicated,” they’re really saying, “I don’t understand how it works.” If you hear this complaint a lot, chances are that your staff needs more training, or that you need to focus their training on the tasks that frustrate them the most.

Complaint #2: CRM helps managers spy on everyone.

This complaint is common among sales teams, many of whom are used to having a degree of flexibility and autonomy about how they do their jobs. Now that everything they do is being tracked by the CRM, their work performance is being measured by those new metrics. So they can start becoming a little paranoid. If CRM makes them feel like Big Brother is watching their every move, they won’t use it.

Solution: Don’t use CRM to spy on your workers.

CRM is best utilized as a tool for centralizing customer records, tracking overall performance, and streamlining operations. When it’s used properly and professionally, it’s never a problem. But if a manager is constantly using CRM to micromanage every aspect of their team’s workday, you’re not utilizing your management resources well. So if a bad manager is using CRM to harass workers, it will definitely create a headache your company doesn’t need.

Complaint #3: CRM makes sales and support scripts feel impersonal.

As effective as these scripts can be, there’s something kind of dehumanizing about having a conversation with someone who knows you’re reading text off a computer screen. Perhaps that script is coming from your CRM, and your job performance is being determined by how closely you follow that script. If so, it’s hard not to blame your CRM for making you feel like a robot.

Solution: Build some room for adding nuance and personality into your CRM.

When CRM is poorly implemented, it can easily seem like the worker’s job is to do whatever the CRM says. But CRM shouldn’t feel that way. Instead, it should be a tool for making the worker’s job easier, faster, and more efficient. It needs to be a resource, not a ball and chain. And this philosophy has to become a central part of the CRM’s design, especially when sales and support automation is involved.

Complaint #4: Your CRM helps other people steal your accounts and leads.

This concern is very common for sales teams. If all customer data is now being stored in a shared system, what will prevent other salespeople from stealing their hard-won prospects?

Solution: Show your employees what you are doing to protect client data.  

Even people with a moderate degree of computer literacy don’t always understand data security and user roles. So they may not realize that some kinds of data can only be seen by certain people with specific kinds of access. By showing your employees how much security you’ve implemented, you can help alleviate their fears.

Complaint #5: Using the CRM slows the workflow down.

“What was wrong with the old way of doing things?” This complaint is also extremely common, and it makes sense if you understand its source. Learning a new way of doing things takes time. At first, using the CRM may actually be slower than the old way. Everyone is stumbling a bit when they’re learning a new process.

Some individual processes will also be slower in the CRM, even if the overall workflow ends up being much faster. This reduction of speed can also create a situation in which common tasks feel tedious and cumbersome, compared to the “old way” of doing things.

Solution: Continually streamline as much as possible.

Unless your CRM is an absolute disaster at launch, it’s almost certainly going to be a huge improvement over your previous workflow. After all, that’s why you implemented a new system. But even the best CRM has room for improvement. If a particular part of the workflow is awkward, inefficient, or confusing, it’s almost always possible to refine and improve that specific issue.

That being said, you may need to tell your workers to get onboard. This often starts with getting buy-in from the C-Suite to support the CRM. Just as everyone had to learn how to use email in the 1990s, today’s workers need to learn to use CRM. They may not like having to learn a new way of doing their old jobs. But, that’s no excuse for holding the entire company back.

Jennifer Karpus-Romain, Faye Business Systems Group
Jennifer Karpus-Romain, Faye Business Systems Group

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