A lot of effort goes into building enterprise products like ERP, EMR, CRM, HRMS, or any SaaS application — it is also a challenge when it comes to scaling and managing them. While working on enterprise products, designers usually have to cater to two sides, the actual users and the stakeholders or those who commission the project.
Another challenge designers have to contend with is that of user expectations. Consumer technologies have set benchmarks in terms of what people expect with their everyday applications that are easy to operate, delightful to look at and get the work done with minimal effort.
Be as that may be, enterprise applications have priorities that may be different than those of consumer applications. To build successful enterprise applications, designers need to ensure that they answer questions like –
Is it scalable enough?
Enterprise applications are known to be complex, and therefore the redesigned project should adapt itself to operate in a variable environment and fulfill variable expectations across departments.
Is it sustainable enough?
Enterprise products need to have a long shelf life of operability. They need to be designed as such, needing little effort to train users, upgrade their software, and maintain them in the long run.
Is it simple enough?
Lastly and finally, the days of complex enterprise systems are coming to an end. Designers are and should be dedicatedly working towards making them easy to use and effortless in function.
Investing in upgrading the user experience of your CRM application yields tangible benefits and financial payback. A user-friendly CRM gives high returns on investments in the form of –
– Lowered learning curves and ease of use among users. Reduction in training costs and the need to create specific user manuals, since the system is self-explanatory.
Cost of expensive documentation is avoided.
– Increased usage leads to better data input, increased process automation, and information reporting.
– Decreased creation and usage of shadow systems (like Excel sheets) which induce increased manual efforts.
– Complete utilization of the CRM software which enhances productivity.
Ensure Logical and Useful Content
Content is a significant aspect of all applications. More so perhaps in the enterprise context when the app is used by a large number of people with different capabilities and purposes. It is necessary that the system be flexible and configurable enough to accommodate the unique workflows of businesses. CRMs today are integrating data across departments other than sales and marketing agency, to include accounting, purchasing, management, and others as well.
Another thing to be considered is that business terminology used internally differs from company to company.
Thus, while creating a custom CRM, the designers have to ensure that they make use of terms that are actually used internally by the company they’re designing for, rather than going by what the norm may be.
For instance, a potential lead could be labeled as an ‘opportunity’ in the software, whereas it could be termed ‘prospect’ by the team who will be using it.
The labeling should give 360-degree visibility over the customers, their demographic details, transaction history, and support system in a clear manner, and it would definitely help if the terminology matches with that of the team using the software. Using nomenclature that is very imaginative or too “out there” only creates confusion among users and ends up dissuading them from using the system. Users at various levels must be given timely access to information that is crucial to their decision-making process.
Users complain of most CRMs having a lousy search function which yields countless pages that are irrelevant and unorganized. A good search function amplifies the user experience. While listing result pages, make sure to prioritize page titles, headings, account names, and opportunity names and add custom tags. Improve results by giving smart titles and follow relevant naming conventions.
Make sure to also accommodate and help with keyword misspellings, incorrect plurals, extra spaces, and other variations or common errors in search phrases. Designers should review search engine logs to know about typically-used and popular keywords, terms, phrases, and topics users are searching for and update the content accordingly.
A big part of the content is pre-designed proposals, reports and email templates that employees often need to send, both internally as well as to customers. These need to be customized as per the nature of the business and analyzing their frequent communications.
Devise Intuitive Navigation
An intuitive dashboard design should include configuration by role and position, prioritized activities and valid suggested actions. Ideal functions of a CRM range widely, from helping sales managers gain deep insights about their customers to understanding market trends by assembling disparate data and helping territory managers assign locations to sales reps. It may also involve product tracking, inventory management systems, and creating FAQs to help customer service execs to aid clients.
The system should be devised to enable the analysis of trends and patterns which help empower managers with strategy-making and sales reps to win over and maintain prospects to the best of their abilities. For instance, a pipeline view displays a breakdown of each stage in the sales pipeline. It outlines things like the number of leads in a particular stage, and with an option to examine each specific lead. The CRM should be enabled to track leads in each step and help identify why those leads may falter at a high level so that the executives can really dive into the problem to sort it out.
The starting point and the path displaying the further course of action should be well-defined and useful across users.
Intuitive navigation aligns user needs and behaviors with company goals and priorities.
CRM systems usually allow users to choose their default home page and access it from any other page in the application. If a user is leaving his home page, he has to see a navigational aid like a breadcrumb pathway to get back to his home page whenever he wishes.
Place a few key links or editorial links above the fold, which makes the breadcrumb pathway linkable. Reduce excessive scrolling and horizontal scrolling and avoid unnecessary pop-ups.
Create Flawless Interaction Tracking
Gaps in communication among the customer service reps or even the internal team is a major cause of frustration for the clients as well as the employees. Minor hiccups in this area may lead to a breakdown in the service process and eventually ruin the reputation of the business. Therefore, interaction tracking remains a crucial feature in CRMs.
As the business grows, there arise occasions where a single customer speaks to multiple customer service reps — it really helps reduce customer frustration when each sales rep knows what’s going on, and how to provide the necessary assistance.
Complex businesses require equally robust interaction tracking systems with provisions for email and call recordings and status communications. A flawless interaction system enables good and timely communication on the customer level as well as on the interdepartmental level.
Measure and improve the UX by using Analytics
Fulfilling user experience goals is an ongoing journey. There are tools to measure and upgrade the CRM user experience through analytics. Ideally, a CRM is beyond just being a platform that saves your customer data and helps to interact with them. It must also be able to effectively gather, consolidate and analyze data to help discover crucial insights to use in making data-driven decisions.
An analytical CRM can also be used to decode customer behavior and their reactions to different situations, it helps in knowing and predicting customers needs.
- Closed-loop cycle analysis can help spot places where planned processes break down and help in re-configuring navigational sequences or workflows.
- Content conversions help in configuring information consumption which is useful in pushing frequently used content higher.
- Feature utilization comes in handy to monitor utilization by role/user/function over a period of time to point out features that may be under-utilized or irrelevant.
- Business intelligence and analytics help in forecasting how customers are going to respond in the future based on their past behavior as well as their segmented demographics.
- Analytics of past data can help point out customers who are up for renewal of purchases. Further, these customers can be classified depending upon how they’re expected to behave at renewal time — that is, if they need to be coaxed into renewal or are easily on-boarded. This helps in saving time as well as assists in retaining customers by knowing how they are to be pursued.
Leverage the capability of the technology being used
Finally, it is important to enable users to leverage the capabilities of the technology being applied. CRMs of the future must enable employees to build relationships with clients, rather than being data repositories. For instance, Virtual Reality is making headway into CRM design to give customers a realistic depiction of the products where they may be able to “physically” interact with what they are going to buy, and help them make more informed decisions, as in the case of brands like Lowe’s and IKEA which have incorporated VR technology to aid decision-making in customers.
Technologies like predictive analysis and machine learning help in enhancing the accuracy of qualifying leads and automating engagement. As a result, users enjoy higher and faster closure rates. Leading CRM provider, Salesforce has its own artificial intelligence platform, Einstein, which picks up users’ data to analyze it and predict outcomes, prescribe solutions, and automate tasks. Also, Microsoft’s Flow from their Cortana Intelligence Suite supports Dynamics 365 by providing translations, sentiment analysis, and keyword identification.
Being able to access your CRM solution on-the-go through mobile apps on devices such as iOS and Android is a useful and necessary feature. By being connected with the CRM data, it allows employees to stay connected at all times and provide the best of services in a global environment.
Further, Chatbots can be deployed which provide customers with basic information whenever they seek it. It ensures that customer queries never go unattended, even when service reps may be offline.
Ultimately, the goal is that the users on either side should be able to make the best out of the CRM software’s tools and functions to the greatest extent. A CRM thus designed can help lower the need for frequent maintenance, ensure stability and scalability, and smoothen the flow of seasonal updates and new versions. More importantly, it should contribute to user satisfaction and thus lead to business profits.