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Customer Consulting Group: Unleash the Power of Your CRM
While working as an experienced IT professional, Michael Hopwood, a veteran with over 20 years of experience in leading successful consulting practices and working with multiple CRM providers, saw from close quarters the quandaries of small and medium-size business that lack a well-defined, structured approach for their CRM implementation. He found that most CRM implementation partners either tend to focus on delivering projects that last for months and require investments north of several hundred thousand dollars; or are sole operators (CRM consultants) that are well suited to service other sole operators and small businesses that employ up to five people; but they tend to struggle to scale and service larger businesses. As such, he observed that small-medium businesses were often left to their own devices, severely under-serviced, owing to the dearth of certified CRM consultants that can efficiently support them with a CRM implementation. However, it is those SMBs that often have the most to gain by implementing a CRM solution. Hopwood wanted to fill that void with Customer Consulting Group—a company that specialises in providing technology-based solutions to help small and medium businesses attract and nurture more customers, increase productivity, and mobilise their workforce. He had a vision for his organisation to be the modern-day “Robin Hood” of sorts—providing enterprise-grade consulting services to small and medium businesses in an affordable way. They made a commitment to help their clients level the playing field while competing against the “big boys” and make running their businesses fun again.
When it comes to CRM implementations, Hopwood mentions that one of the biggest challenges afflicting organisations encompasses vendors making it increasingly easier for customers to buy and modify their systems without involving a certified partner. On the surface, this approach proves beneficial for companies without any apparent obstacles, allowing them to curb costs. However, as Hopwood mentions, “Customer Consulting Group is regularly approached by organisations that have taken the ‘DIY’ approach only to find themselves struggling to get the desired outcome from their CRM systems 6 to 12 months later.” More often than not, the problem stems from poor user adoption due to insufficient or inadequate training and even a subpar system design. Organisations look for premier CRM implementation partners who know the most effective ways to leverage the systems and overcome the impacts associated with poor design. This is where Customer Consulting Group (CCG) as a strategic CRM implementation partner brings value to its clients. Customer Consulting Group (CCG) stands at the forefront of delivering exemplary consulting services to small and medium businesses, which typically only big businesses can afford, empowering them to remain relevant and prosper by engaging with their customers through an efficient CRM strategy.
Services Reinforced with “The Ripple Effect” Approach
Customer Consulting Group assists organisations with all aspects of CRM projects, including general advice and guidance on the most appropriate solution as well as the necessary implementation services required to ensure success. Hopwood mentions, “It took me 20 years to learn what I can now perform in a day. As such, it does not come as a surprise that many CRM implementation projects fail when led by someone who has only performed a handful of implementations, or worse yet, never done a CRM implementation at all.” Without the proper knowledge of CRM system capabilities, limitations and understanding of how to leverage the system, its full benefits will never be realised. Drawing on their years of extensive experience across hundreds of implementations, the team at Customer Consulting Group knows exactly what to do and when to do it pertaining to CRM implementation. Apart from being certified implementation partners for vendors such as Microsoft, ServiceM8 and Zoho, the consultants at Customer Consulting Group have individual certifications and experience in implementing a vast array of solutions from other vendors as well, which enables them to provide unique independent advisory services.
If we can find a solution that can be implemented with minimal change whilst delivering a large impact on productivity, we'll find it and start there
The company is often engaged in projects to assist with independent solution and vendor selection, thereby precluding themselves from performing the actual implementation. At other times, Customer Consulting Group collaborates with clients to purely manage a project that has other CRM implementation partners involved.
When undertaking the implementation itself, Customer Consulting Group provides clients with a range of services including initial design, documentation and development, training and ongoing support, and maintenance. Typically, these engagements follow a structured plan starting with a free ‘Business Success Strategy Design Workshop’ that serves as a platform for the consultants to outline the business requirements and offer suggestions as to how they might be able to assist. Following the workshop, Customer Consulting Group drafts a proposal defining the optimal path forward to ensure clients gain the best possible outcome along with an understanding of the investment required. If the estimated investment falls within clients’ budget, the company commences a paid Scoping and Analysis engagement to go through the business requirements in a lot more detail. Thereafter, the consultants formulate a solution design and either begin drafting a detailed specification with regard to what the end solution will deliver or move straight to producing a Statement of Work if clients don’t require a fixed price project.
When defining the overall architecture of the solution, Customer Consulting Group endorses an approach that enables an organisation to start small and gradually introduce additional improvements to the business to realise the intended benefits. The team also believes in making a small change in business can have a big impact, which they call “the Ripple Effect.” Hopwood says, “If we can find a solution that can be implemented with minimal change whilst delivering a large impact on productivity, we’ll find it and start there. Not only does this approach help increase user adoption, but it also maximizes the return on investment.”
Another key aspect of Customer Consulting Group’s service offering is the training—end-user, power user, and train-the-trainer training. This combination ensures that clients not only learn how to use the CRM system from day one but also reap the benefits of other elements of the solution once they become more familiar with the tool. This also helps them train new hires that come on board after the initial training sessions. In addition, Customer Consulting Group provides administrator training to enable clients to manage user access, changing pre-defined picklist values, adjusting timeframes for automated workflows and/or altering the content of automated alerts.
Sharpening the Competitive Edge
Considering the fact that each business is like a “snow-flake,” with many factors that can affect a proposed solution and/or approach, Customer Consulting Group’s team refrains from beginning with a pre-determined sales pitch while consulting with clients. For instance, if a client asks for a particular software package to be retained within their business, the team will work with that knowledge and develop a solution accordingly. “We are committed to leaving things better than we found them and making sure our solutions can be justified at all levels of the business. It is this authenticity and integrity that have earned us the trust of many organisations,” remarks Hopwood.
With customer-centricity deeply ingrained in their DNA, Customer Consulting Group assisted Macarthur Natural Health Clinic that has been providing chiropractic, remedial massage, exercise physiology and herbal medicine for people across the Macarthur region for over 21 years. Their key to success for finding more customers lies in providing a unique customer experience, and to this end, the clinic provides all their patients with a discounted massage voucher for their birthday as well as vouchers to people who refer new patients to them. However, the process of sending out these vouchers was tedious and manual. Customer Consulting Group stepped in to remediate the issue by developing an automated platform to handle it. In addition, Customer Consulting Group implemented a system for new patients to complete their forms on a tablet at the reception, which not only expedited the process of getting the relevant details to their practitioner but also enabled the staff to provide enhanced service to all patients. Since a large majority of administration, data entry, and paperwork has now been removed from the day-to-day activities, the staff Macarthur Natural Health can focus on the tasks critical for the highest return for the business and serving patients better.
Scripting similar success stories, Customer Consulting Group has plans to open more offices across every major city in Australia apart from Sydney and Melbourne. Hopwood reveals, “We foresee that as our team grows, we will also develop additional specialties across a wider product set and expand our services for full implementation along with additional product offerings.” The company further has add-on applications in the pipeline, which would extend the capabilities of their core products/ services, and are geared toward industries such as real estate, trades and home services as well as general productivity enhancements for clients to make the most out of their implementations.