Analyzing CRM needs for an Online Platform

The article describes how we went about identifying the CRM needs for an online platform. The methodology that we used consisted of three macro steps – 

  1. mapping the customer’s journey with the platform
  2. identifying gaps and improvement areas around such a journey and 
  3. architecting a solution leveraging Salesforce, to address these gaps and improvement areas.

The example that I am using in this article comes from an online learning platform and a learner’s journey with the platform; but the ideas that i am discussing here are universal and can be applied across online platforms.

The customer’s journey with the online learning platform goes along the following lines: 

  1. The new customer or the returning customer is responding to a marketing message likely; this could be in the form of an email, or a say a promotion on a partner affiliate site or on a social media channel that they are responding to
  2. Making an inquiry about a certain class, or looking up the pricing for a certain class on your website, or maybe filling out a web form asking for more details; or this could be them calling in to your call center. 
  3. In the case of this particular learning platform, the customers then typically take a sample or trial class for a limited period of time, at the end of which the experiences results in either a purchase or not. 
  4. If the customer does make a purchase of a class or a bundle of classes, they are then on-boarded onto the platform. 
  5. They then consume the content (take the classes) at the end of which they are given a test and they get a certificate of completion. 
  6. Throughout this journey they are likely accessing customer support or tech support or even a customer success team that they could be interacting with; which is tasked with ensuring that they are renewing their subscription and taking possibly more classes. 

After going through a lot more detail on each of these process steps, the conversation shifted to how do we improve this end-to-end journey, end-to-end experience that the customer is going through

To facilitate the discussion on this topic the questions, we engaged with stakeholders from across the organization spanning the functions of marketing, sales, customer success.

The specific prompters that we used, were along the following lines:

  • What are customers complaining about?
  • Where are their frustrations?
  • What is your internal staff complaining about? 
  • What are they finding to be confusing and to be cumbersome? 
  • Where is the process broken? 
  • Where are the errors coming from? 
  • Where are the handoffs between process steps and where is it falling apart?
  • And finally, what are the systems supporting these process steps? 
  • Is the data moving across these systems seamlessly? 
  • Are you entering the same data multiple times, or is your staff having to swivel chair across multiple systems for each of these process steps? 

All of this discussion gave rise to a number of process improvement ideas, which were our first pointers to the CRM needs for this online platform. 

Hope you found this discussion useful and relevant for identifying CRM needs around your own online platforms.

Team Varasi