The importance of having an internal CRM Manager for HE CRM system

Typically, CRM systems deployed in Universities are used by multiple teams with complex and diverse requirements.  Some of these requirements may be at odds with each other and the requirements of the users may not line up with the strategic objectives of the University.  To achieve long term success the University needs to employ a CRM project team which acts as a governance and guidance vehicle to ensure as many benefits as possible can be realised for all University Stakeholders.  Pivotal to this project team is the internal CRM Manager who acts as the key point of liaison between the University and the Supplier of the system.


Complexities of the system so requires dedicated internal resource

In my previous blog, I mentioned the fact that I do not enjoy shopping.  Too much choice, too many options! The way I get around this is to find an assistant who is an expert in a particular field to help me understand the pro’s and con’s an also advise me on the best choice.

If we consider the role of a CRM Manager, they will need to know:

  • The capabilities of their CRM system
  • How versatile is their CRM system?
  • Who uses their CRM system and the major stakeholders and points of contacts?
  • The type of support offered to their internal users (customers etc).

The CRM Manager, acting as a single point of contact to a team or group, with specialised knowledge of the CRM environment, will enable quick and efficient resolutions to any particular question, issues or problems.


Skills of the systems administrator

The role of the system administrator has many pre-requisites, these are just a few:

  • Knowledgeable – To demonstrate awareness as to what the product is capable of and ensure the need of the business are fulfilled.
  • A communicator – To co-ordinate with different stakeholder members with a varied understanding of the application, but manage to relay the same message.
  • Pro-Active – Conducting regular application tests and processes to verify that your application is functioning at maximum efficiency.
  • Re-Active – Knowing there is a problem and confidently managing this problem to resolution.
  • An Innovator – Sometimes what is tried and tested is not always the best way to resolve a problem. Having the ability to think outside the box is a very strong attribute to have.
  • A Team Player – Just because you are an innovator, do not become a maverick.
  • Confident – To reassure the end user that they have found the right person to provide a resolution to their problem.


Keeping control over user requests

It is good policy for a University CRM Manager to have a clear idea of customer’s expectations.  A internal customer service level agreement which is understood by both parties means that the relationship should work well and customers know what they are going to get and when.

The CRM Manager can provide:

  • A ticket logging template can be used to ensure all the right information is captured. This information can be submitted via a customer portal.
  • A fast and efficient ticket resolutions process where all issues can be prioritised.
  • A medium to always keep your customer up to date with the progress of their ticket or issues logged.
  • A mechanism to ‘push back’ to the customer if the information they provide to you is vague or requires more information.


Acting as an internal champion and internal communications

As a University CRM Manager, it is very important to ensure that all communications channels remain open.  Communication is the key for fast and efficient problem resolution.  Having a clear understanding regarding key stakeholders, what information they can provide and how quickly this can be made available is also very important.  The ability to be dependable and resourceful are beneficial factors towards the company as well as the customers.  When problems have been resolved make sure that this is communicated to the team together with information on best practice to stop the same type of issue happening again.


Acting as a single point of contact/knowledge to the supplier

If the University is able to have a CRM Manager/team in place they can act as a conduit with the supplier to ensure that the project is controlled and that both parties know what is going to be done and when.


Keeping skills up to date through training

CRM managers need to keep up to date with both the applications that that manage as well as the wider environment in which they operate.  They need to understand the challenges that the sector faces and be able to act as an adviser to the University; ensuring they are up to date on best practices for using systems to help attract more students to the University.


Keeping on top of issues

A CRM Manager will need to multi-task as they operate within a very fluid environment.  The need to keep internal and external communication channels open at all times can be very difficult to maintain.  By introducing and managing regular internal CRM user groups any potential issues or problems can be addressed.  Also, the CRM Manager can be made aware of any future development or changes that may occur.


Defining and managing changes

It is imperative that the CRM Manager understands where the University is going and is able to work with the supplier to ensure that business requirements continue to be met over time. This means regular workshops with key users and the Senior Management team where priorities are defined and then the rollout of changes is communicated both internally and externally.